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Who said it was a glamorous job?
Submitted by Tiffany on 13 September, 2011 - 09:02
I gazed around at our accommodation for the night, a truckers’ cafe perched beside the “road” alongside a few other similar establishments. We were at 4400metres and a chill wind was howling, I got the essentials off the bike and retreated to the warmth of the cafe. We’d been warned in advance about the lack of creature comforts on the Tibetan Plateau but even so the complete lack of running water, toilets of any type and no beds was still a shock. Communal rooms with sleeping platforms served as bedrooms, with a bit of a free for all as who slept where. In the adjoining room an extremely noisy game of Mah Jong was being played by several truckers and in the room beyond that was the kitchen where all the food was prepared; also at full volume.
Petrol was sourced out of jerry cans around the back of the cafe and we headed round there, by the time we got to bike number 13 (unlucky for some, I know) it was dark and we were pouring the fuel by the light of our head torches.
The food though was beyond expectations, it was a delicious cornucopia of various dishes, some identifiable and some most definitely not. The array of vegetables was very impressive, especially as we hadn’t seen anything green and cultivated the whole day and we were above the tree line, where there is virtually no vegetation.
The great meal prepared us well for the night on the sleeping platforms, there were too many of us so the staff team were directed to the overflow room – a smaller shack down the track. Alan took one look and elected to sleep in his van for the night. We pointed out how cold it would be but he was adamant and headed off- which left more room for us we commented as Mark and I unrolled our sleeping mats on opposite ends of the platform. However our night was not to be a peaceful one, with the blaring television and loud conversations from the cafe through what felt like a paper wall. Then once it had finally got quiet, a massive hammering on the door at 3.00am, more loud conversations at eardrum splitting volume in Mandarin and before I knew it, three Chinese truckers crept into the room, and lay down on the platform between Mark and myself (Mark was sleeping on oblivious). I lay in bed and wondered how I was going to explain this five in a bed scenario to my boyfriend at home.