We travelled the Diwen Expressway to Barkam. Known as the ‘Tunnel region’, there were 27 tunnels under mountains. Not all tunnels were labelled with their length, but we estimate that there was about 60km of tunnel. Amazing engineering feat! Between the tunnels were bridges over lakes, raging rivers and hydroelectric power generation. 2km bridge between tunnels 5 and 6 there was a 2 km long bridge. From each power station, there were dozens of power lines out over the mountains.
Really enjoyed the English signage – West Sichuan expressway ‘Have a pleased journey’ and warnings to ‘Don’t overtired and drive.’
Once we reached Barkam, there was a challenge getting rooms. The issue seemed to be that the Police are worried about monks protesting the Chinese presence by setting themselves alight. They didn’t want us to see it or for monks to decide to do it because we were there. Given the sensitivity of the situation, we did a frantic photo shoot – capturing as much as possible!