We decided to spend an extra day in Shangri La in order to make some car repairs. Turns out, one of the tires of our car had been punctured!

After a whole lot of continuous driving, we were finally getting a day out. Since our guide, Deji was needed back at the garage, we were totally on our own for the first time.

China is a beautiful country that is years ahead in terms of infrastructure but the lack of English speaking people, makes it very difficult to get around. My initial annoyance turned into excitement as I treated it like a prolonged game of charades. The prize? Some bread and jam at the local bakery!

Our success at the bakery fuelled our resolve and we confidently walked into a large supermarket. Five minutes in and we were already overwhelmed. There was no way we could survive without a translator. At least not just yet. Baby steps, I told myself.

The altitude was effecting me more than I realised and by late afternoon, I had a splitting headache. Talk about buzz kill. After a disprin and a quick nap, I ventured out once more. As mum and I walked around, loud Tibetan music filled out ears and piqued our interest. We followed the sound which led us to the central square where dozens of Tibetan men and women danced in a circle to the tune of a song blaring through the loud speaker. At first I thought it was a flash mob but as we continued to watch, more and more people joined in. Within thirty minutes, the square was filled with dancers moving in complete synchronization. It reminded me of community Garba. What’s more? Mom joined in on the fun!

If that wasn’t exciting enough, another surprise waited for me back at the hotel. Some of the GOLA team members had put together an Indian meal in one of the hotel rooms using the Sanjeev Kapoor masalas were carrying. It smelled heavenly and tasted even better. I missed home.