An Open Tibet: 12 / 30

April 21, 2008

12 of 30 from the Open Tibet series.


Above: The newly snow capped mountains around Namtso Lake.

The last night of our expedition was spent camping alongside Namtso. That night it dropped to -3C and the feral dogs most travelers to Tibet know so well were out in spades. In our under-rated sleeping bags (20C), my traveling companion and I tried to stay warm by clinging both to each other and a giant water bottle we appropriated from the kitchen tent.

That night the winds and rain were wild. The rain turned to sleet and then to snow. Around midnight the dogs emerged from wherever they lie during the day, their insanity punctuated by their utterly psychotic AR AR AR AR AR staccato of a bark. They came down to our camp and were circling all of the tents. Stupidly, we camped away from the others to get a better view of the lake. It doesn't take much to imagine what sorts of fates we were conjuring up for ourselves.

So consider this scene if you will — two people huddled in a sleeping bag with a giant water bottle, one person, me, holding a small pocket knife, ready if need be to decimate any intruding rabid dog with folding scissors or a corkscrew, my companion remaining admirably calm despite her having no weapon. The dogs closing in, AR AR AR AR AR AR, circling and circling around the tent. This continuing indefinitely. Why indefinitely? Because I fell asleep. Like a lullaby, their chanting and the whiplike horrible noises of the outer tent layer in the storm combined with a particularly wonderful (indeed, very soft) sleep aid given to me by a Frenchman in our group, worked a strange voodoo on me. And neither the cold nor the prospect of death by dog could pull me from slumber.

Upon awaking the next morning — both uneaten and unfrozen — this is the scene we were greeted with. The storm, the cold combined to dust the surrounding mountains with a beautiful sheet of white. Undoubtably, just for me to photograph.

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An Open Tibet: 11 / 30
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An Open Tibet: 13 / 30
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