I am rarely so happy to get on a plane. Sure, I enjoyed my time in Tibet, but as the plane door closes and the cabin begins to pressurize, I slowly feel the altitude sickness seep away. My headache clears, and breathing no longer requires conscious effort. It turns out that living beachside on a tropical island is great for many reasons, but preparing the body for the elevation of Lhasa, Tibet is not one of them. As the plane climbs out of the valley and into the air, I marvel at the Himalayas spread out before me.
At first, the snow-capped mountains are far off in the distance. Long after the other passengers on the China Eastern flight have closed their window shades and turned to books and iPads, I cannot help staring outside and trying to shield my eyes from the sun's bright glare. Thoughts of James Hilton's Lost Horizon and World War II tales of hazardous flights over The Hump flit through my brain even if we're nowhere near where these took place. We turn northeast, and I give up any hope of glimpsing Mount Everest out the window.
The peaks start reaching higher and higher into the sky as the cloud cover begins.
Some towering mountains manage to reach above the clouds beckoning us closer for a better look.
But not too close, I silently pray. Signs of life appear in a valley below. It must be so isolated in that town. I have no idea where we are and wish the plane had a TV with a route tracker displayed.
Unexpected sights reveal themselves such as twin mountaintop lakes. Is that what they are? Why aren't they frozen and covered in snow?
The mountain range spreads out below me, as far as the eye can see. For centuries, the Himalayas have captured the public's imagination. It deserves all the attention it gets.
Pinch me. I can't believe I'm here. I'm flying over the Himalayas.
This post is part of "Travel Photo Thursday" on Budget Travelers Sandbox and "Oh the Places I've Been" on The Tablescaper. Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.