This morning we found out that we will not be going to Tibet after all, because the Government Travel Bureau is not going to issue any Tibet Travel Permits until July 25! There is a hyperactive internal security system in China, especially in the so-called sensitive areas where the independence-minded minorities live, includng the Uyghur people in Xinjiang Province, where we are now, and the Tibetan people in Tibet and Szechuan Province.
Because I had read on a Tibet travel website all the way back in late March that June travel to Tibet was often extremely problematic, I suggested to Bike China, the group that has handled our logistics, that we change the entire itinerary to put the Tibet visit in May, at the beginning of our trip, rather than leaving it for the end. But Bike China was quite confident of their ability to get the Permits, so we left the plans as originally written. As it has turned out, my suggestion was a good one!
Tali especially is crushed, because the travel to Tibet was one of the aspects of the trip she had most looked forward to. We spent all morning and afternoon in our hotel room, working on alternative plans for the ten days we will not be spending in Tibet, made even more difficult because there is so little time until we leave Hetian. We worked until late afternoon, then went out on a long walking tour of this Uyghur town, including a stop at Arum Cafe for a pizza, and a pot of tea.
By the time we left Arum, we confirmed our new plans to fly to Kathmandu, Nepal on June 19th, for a ten day visit. We didn’t arrive back at our hotel until almost midnight. The long walk helped us to settle our feelings, and we are resolved to remain focused on the wonderful experiences we can have in Nepal, and not on the disappointment of not going to Tibet.