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Himalaya

Day 64: Shigatse to Lhasa

Michael Palin - HimalayaI'm aware that the bludgeoning tiredness I feel after crossing the mountains may well be souring my judgement and that once we're bedded in at what is purportedly one of Lhasa's swankier hotels all will be well again.

The shining, recently built Himalaya Hotel rises portentously from lower buildings in a quiet but characterless side street. It's clad in glass and as we pile wearily from our vehicles we're greeted by smiling doormen protected from the cold by fur-trimmed greatcoats. Unfortunately, the staff at reception are also protected from the cold by fur-trimmed greatcoats, as are the waitresses who take our orders at the Yak Bar. The Himalaya Hotel may have glittering, gold-wrapped pillars, shiny mirrors and ceilings encrusted with every shape and size of light fitting, but it is the dazzling gloss of an ice castle.

I pile all the bedclothes onto one bed and, stripping down to a vest, sweater and thermal underwear, climb in. I feel desperately disappointed. This was to be our reward, a hotel in the heart of the capital, the Holy Grail after some pretty savage days on the road. As it is, the Himalaya Hotel seems to be everything its name might suggest.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 64: Shigatse to Lhasa
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Lhasa
  • Book page no: 157

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