Thursday, 25th June: Wednesday morning was a bike morning, and that meant the usual checks on the oil, water, tyres and anything else we were worried about concerning our bikes. In my case, that meant checking the pannier mounts again. I have been checking them virtually every day and it’s a case of so-far-so-good. Replacing the quick release fasteners with nuts and bolts seems to have done the trick. A couple of small open back vans also arrived to take away the 4 bikes belonging to those going home.
Yesterday afternoon and this morning were spent wandering around the shops. This afternoon I unloaded my pannier containing my tools to check the inside where I had the oil leak. Alas, the tool roll was still seeping oil and there was a small pool sitting in the bottom of the pannier. There was nothing for it but to empty out the tools from the roll, clean them all and transfer them to the medium-size bum bag I had bought earlier. The oil soaked tool roll was only fit for the bin. A reorganisation of my luggage should mean that I can put the bag that usually sits on my back seat into the support van.
But what of Lhasa itself? It is the administrative capital of Tibet and, like many old cities, has an old quarter, in which there is large market and hundreds of very small shops selling just about everything. There is a great deal of hustle and bustle about the place, and a lot of random riding of electric scooters (“silent killers” as Kevin calls them), and cycle-powered rickshaws means you have to have eyes in the back of your head to avoid them.
The more modern part of the city has plenty of smart shops but, sadly, what seems to be lacking here is the tourists to buy the goods. The few who do come seem to be barely sufficient to enable them to stay afloat. Certainly, looking around a big department store with Graham, another one of our group, almost had the shop to ourselves. It’s a pity I didn’t find what I was looking for, I could have had great fun playing one supplier off against another!