Author of a book about China, Bahian remembers how it was to travel to Tibet – Check-in

China, like many Asian countries, arouses curiosity in Brazilians. It’s because it’s too far from here, for stunning landscapes or because we see countless news every day about the nation headed by Xi Jinping.

The Bahian Joana Silva (@registrosdajo) liked the country so much that he even lived there for a while, teaching at a kindergarten.

She got to know China during her travels around the world, after working as a human resources executive in a multinational company here in Brazil.

With so much experience in her baggage, the woman from Bahia decided to share what she experienced in her newly released book “The Lessons I Learned Traveling and Living in China”. Below, she tells her first impressions of when she visited Tibet.

Joana Silva in front of the Potala Palace, on her trip through Tibet (Personal archive)


As soon as I got off the train, slowly the symptoms of altitude began to manifest in my body. I felt slow thinking, physical fatigue, slight shortness of breath and headache. After disembarking I was directed by one of the crew to the immigration post. A non-Oriental woman would never go unnoticed and that’s how I realized: I was the only foreigner on the trip.

Ngawang Tashi, the agency’s guide, was waiting for me at the exit of the station and I was soon presented with the white Khata, a satin scarf used in Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies, which symbolizes purity and compassion.

I was fascinated by having set foot in the Tibet, but the discomforts due to the altitude grew stronger. After warning me not to take a photo of the tank and army officers in the street, Ngawang took me to the taxi and we headed to the hotel.

I opened the window to feel that fresh mountain air on my face, put my head out a little and closed my eyes for a few seconds. I didn’t know whether to film, take a picture, or simply gaze at the view. The arrival was with surprises, Nike stores, Apple, The North Face, Chinese brand franchises, viaducts, traffic, motorcycles, cars and horns. Looking further away, I saw huge desert areas and mountains in the background and yaks strolling.

The Tibetan plateau is the top of the world and is 4,800 m above sea level. Ngawang strongly recommended drinking plenty of water, drinking tea, keeping the body warm, walking slowly, not making sudden movements, and resting from the journey. At check-in I found out that I would be alone in the double room, I had been released from paying the $100 fee for the single room, breakfast, which was included, would be served on the terrace where I had a privileged view of the city and the Himalayan mountains that surrounded it.

Joana and her work, “The Lessons I Learned Traveling and Living in China” (Personal archive)


In times of coronavirus our travels were more restricted. But we can still remember important moments we had in other cities. How about sharing your travel story with the Check-in blog? Just write to [email protected]


Notice to passengers 1: The writer Manoela Ramos has been on the road since 2016 and has already visited 24 Brazilian states, and always with a reduced budget. So much experience resulted in the book “Confessões de Viajante (Without Money)”

Notice to passengers 2: The couple of journalists João Paulo Mileski and Carina Furlanetto traveled through Brazil and countries here in South America aboard a 1.0 car and released a book about the undertaking, “Chronicles in the baggage: 421 days on the road – a journey of detachment through South America”

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