12th. Lo Manthang 2, Choser
On our first non-trekking day we first drove up to the Tibetan (Chinese) border, which is situated 4660m high in the middle of a surprisingly flat deserted area. The journey took about an hour on a mostly good road presumably paid for by the Chinese. They are building a large block on their side of the border but we saw nobody and the cold wind did not encourage us to stay for long. From this high point a short distance back down the road there is a good view of the Himalayan chain from the North.
We returned to a village which we had passed on the way up and first visited some cave dwellings dating from the middle ages. These were difficult to get into and not really that impressive, but they were set in an interesting sandstone canyon. The two monasteries in the village were more interesting and in one a friendly monk gave us an interesting talk about their work. We walked quite some distance on the opposite side of the river from the here narrow and very rough road. The jeep had to cross some quite deep and stony fords on the way back to Lo Manthang. Two of the group chose to walk which took them more than 2 hours.
After lunch in the lodge and a rest, some of us walked into and round the ancient walled town. It is quite unchanged since the middle ages and lots of small cows wander around in the streets. It seems that they are fed with some sort of bran mash in the late afternoon. Most of the inhabitants also looked unchanged by modern influences. For how much longer? Of course there are some souvenir shops in the old buildings which sell the usual turquoise and red stone necklaces and black fossil ammonite containing stones. One old guy was keen to invite us up to his shop. He had no shop on the road but we followed him up a series of stairs which became more precarious with each flight. We arrived on the roof tops and had great views all round. In his shop one level down one of our ladies then bought a necklace. Returning to the hotel we passed the local youth club.