Well it's been ages since I last blogged and I've been very busy, (Getting older too....) so to save the boredom I'll list the highlights (And not so high lights) of the last few weeks...
Leaving India was sad, had a great time there with dad but was looking forward to starting the next leg and the final part of my trip. Back in Nepal I had a lazy few days, dodged the monsoon rains and eagerly awaited Tibet, Part 2. As expected, it didn't disappoint. I was with a bigger group this time and thankfully they were all FANTASTIC. The first day was a real test of our temperment as a whole host of things went wrong.
1. We had to wait at the border for almost 7 hours as the company had not provided the correct stamp to get us all through....
2. The border officials were evil, confiscating books (Which, by the way were in Spanish and they couldn't understand) for having pictures of monks on them
3. There was a landslide in Tibet so we had to crawl around a VERY scary cliff type scree cliff (Me in flip flops....really safe!) to get around it and into the bus
And that was all within the first 12 hours. We all had a good laugh about it though, had a beer and didn't worry! The rest of the week went along just like that! Lots of laughs, lots of beers, a bit of singing and a really sweet night to celebrate my birthday, a total surprise, where I got a cake with a candle, a present and a lovely dinner. It was really nice and made me feel better about turning 28 (eek!!) Other highlights include the Bearded Nice Dogs....where they wanted us to pay to sit next to these enormous dogs with frilly collars (Beards!), Emmet doing karaoke in the Tibetan bar and receiving scarves and toasts from all the locals and 3 of us singing Molly Malone on my birthday drink up! It really was a fantastic week and I was so pleased to meet such a great bunch of people (Dare I say it...Magic Bus material....)
So after Tibet was the 48 hour train ride to Beijing where I spent some money, met up with some Tibet people and chilled before the Trans Mongolian. I actually spent my birthday on the train which was depressing but I'd had my celebration with the crowd in Tibet so it wasn't too bad!
In Beijing I took in an acrobat show (Which was AMAZING!!) where the stars were very young and more flexible than I could've imagined! It was really entertaining, and we spent the rest of the evening "Wowing" about it! I've since met up with my group for the Trans Mongolian home, a mixed bag definitely but so far so good.
Spent a morning in the Forbidden City, where the Emperor used to reside but found the crowds and crowds of people too much. It was also disgustingly hot, and VERY humid. God bless the air conditioned room we came back to! The day after that was The Great Wall, which really did live up to the hype. The area we went to had been restored and although busy with tourists, it wasn't as crazy as the Forbidden City was. We walked a long way (Though I took the luxury of cable cars....I didn't have walking shoes it was a health and safety issue) and got some beautiful pictures....though I must apologise to the MAdhouse as I've lost my Salusbury t-shirt and couldn't get that picture :o(
I had some farewell drinks with some people from Tibet (Typical Selina,late night before a long journey!) and headed off on the train to Mongolia....where I very randomly bumped into a girl I had met in Australia way back in October! We hadn't kept in contact so it was nice to catch up on the train.
I'm now in Ullan Battar, the capital of Mongolia and it's NOTHING like what I expected! It's modern, clean, everyone speaks English (Well, apart form today's lunchtime waitress who threw our order away, leaving us waiting for nearly 2 hours....) and it's ROASTING hot! We visited a monastery this morning, which was cool as the Mongolians follow Tibetan Buddhism, I felt like an expert! And tomorrow we go to stay in a traditional Ger camp. We'll be staying in Yurts and eating not a lot other than Mutton....How exciting!
OK, I hope that was short and sweet enough for you, next update will be "from Russia with love"
Hope you're all well,