Saturday, 4 June 2011

Want change money?

For our first night in Tibet we stayed in the border town of Zingchan. The hotel was pretty horrendous. I dumped my bags and grabbed my wash kit as soon as we arrived in the hope that I could get the promised hot shower before the other 21 people got to the hot water first. In the shower I was greeted first by brown, then black, then red water. It eventually turned clear enough to be of benefit but wasn’t hot. Returning to the dorm I found my fellow budget travellers still sat, silent in shock.

James and I took a walk around town, followed by the sound of a thousand voices saying “change money?”. We bought some supplies in a little kiosk shop and the shopkeeper offered “want change money?” During dinner at the Base Camp Restaurant we ate whilst being watched by the money changers, who, if we caught their eye would say, “change money?” Decorating the ceiling of the restaurant was a huge selection of mountaineering equipment through the ages, from oxygen bottles to crampons. We spotted a newish jumar (piece of hardware enabling the ascent of ropes) which looked in good condition. We could do with another one so asked if we could buy it. The young girl behind the counter declined the offer explaining that the boss was away. We continued to pester her about it and eventually she rang her boss. The call ended and she said, “sorry bossy says no, but want change money?”

Team Budget

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