YoYofactory Adventure Everest
Tibet is rich in history, culture, religion and controversy. It's a paradise in the clouds isolated by it's remote distance from civilization and altitude in the valley of the Himalayas. In 1959 China took Tibet through the 'cultural revolution'. Slowly over time the Tibet that was has slowly been pressured into the Tibet China wants it to be.
This adventure was to be a bit different. We have hiked, climbed, camped and pushed the limits but never had we seen the edge. This time we would see the edge of the earth. The highest point possible, Mt Everest.
The lack of oxygen isn't immediately apparent as you step off the plane. Entry to Tibet is quite restricted and we needed to book a guide. Ours, “Tashi” is a Tibetan who we soon discovered was passionate about the Tibetan history, remaining monasteries, and Buddhism. He was able to easily fill hours and days describing the art and sculpture of the historical sights and answered any of our questions with well-considered answers.
Within the first few hours we had Tashi learning yoyo tricks. He was a quick student and was throwing the Loop1080 with a perfect straight sleeper. Forward pass and around-the-world were slowly mastered in the following days.
Yak. A visit to Tibet isn’t complete nor is it possible to avoid yaks. One could eat yak at every meal. Yak pie, yak dumplings, yak soup, yak BLT, yak burger, yak cheese….. In the monasteries the monks use yak butter to lubricate the prayer wheels. Pilgrims bring liquid yak butter as an offering to fuel the candles. Yak dung is carefully collected in the fields and fashioned into bricks and dried in the sun to be used as fuel in the winter.
We traveled along on the recently completed “Friendship Highway”. It’s a road that stretches from Shanghai to Lhasa, and recently extends up to the Rong Bu Monastery at the basecamp for Mt Everest. At the 5,000km road marker there is a nice stop to allow travelers to step out and take a stretch. Children gather that are too young to have been sent off to one of the many boarding schools available to the Tibetan youth. We spent time teaching the children a few yoyo tricks and left them with some souvenir yoyos we brought with to share.
The Everest Base Camp (EBC) located on the North Face sits at 17,000ft altitude. With the sun setting on the snow covered summit of Everest with the famous cloud of snow whisping off the peak at 29,000ft thoughts drifted to wonder how, without the yoyo in my pocket, I doubt this opportunity would have ever presented itself. Yet here we were within walking distance of the tallest mountain in the world in one of the most remote and difficult places on the planet to travel to.
What do you need to be happy? The latest iPhone? newest Jordans? what if these things didn’t exist in your everyday? Would you be happy with less? In Tibet People look genuinely happy. They have their beliefs, they have their needs of education and health met by government and while they don’t appear material rich the children play and the world turns.
Still the outside world encroaches. Tourists in Jordans with iPhones parade daily. Money comes to some… but not all. The isolated Shan-Gri-La is no longer isolated. 5 start resorts are new, but exist with fresh Oxygen pumped in for the comfort of weekend visitors who have a romantic notion of the spiritual promise of this far off land but do not have the fortitude to go without the modern pampering of a hot shower on demand and a meal upon request. Within the next ten years the Tibet that lasted for fifteen centuries frozen in its simplicity will be a side note to the innovation in architecture and industry that will dominate the centuries to come.
The Dalai Lama urges visitors to see Tibet. We urge you to get out and see the world. Don’t forget to carry a YoYoFactory® yoyo.