Another amazing journey – Thuchen to Dzamthang – as we headed approximately westerly, deeper in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
The road was incredible. Paved generally, but subjected to extremes of weather and broken up in sections. Vivid in my memory are the overhanging rock faces, towering across the road and sheer drops on other side, hair pin turns, random construction vehicles left in convoy by the road, unfinished repairs and rockfalls!!! Add to this the wandering cows and yaks, farmers’ carts, bike riders and long vehicles needing both sides of the road to negotiate the tight bends. That anyone navigates it safely is amazing, that they manage it at the speed they do, incredible!!
Roadside workers undergo hazardous work, there is no speed reduction, drivers travel at the same speed as usual with their hand planted on the horn. Rocks are placed to cordon off new work, so unannounced one can round a bend and need to travel on the opposite side of the road to avoid rocks!
All mean that traffic both ways belts down the middle of the road. Lots of beeping and swerving!!!!!!! Skilful scary driving!! Miraculously speeds up to 80km per hour are achieved – it is an act of faith that on coming drivers are alert!
We later learned that cutting into the rock faces to make the road safe was a major challenge, because each interruption to the natural landscape opened up the probability of dangerous rock slides. Leaving rock faces untouched (and overhanging the road) was safer than cutting into them.
Spectacular scenery again – amazing alpine trees, huge mountains, massive rivers in each valley, clusters of villages – some poorer, most similar to Thuchen.
We crossed a spectacular ridge (from one valley road to another) on the usual high altitude concrete road. We saw yak farmers (in canvas tents), yaks herds grazing and green mountain tops (trees thinned out completely at the top).