Taroom couple visits Tibet
STANDING in the shadows of the world's tallest mountain, Taroom couple Bill and Loretta Brennan only cared about one thing – finding out if they were grandparents.
“We were at Mt Everest about two days after Mother's Day and were unable to check on our daughter at Longreach – she was due to have her baby on Mothers Day,” Bill, officer-in-charge of Taroom Police, said.
“One of the other couples loaned us their mobile phone to text her for an update.
“We were all completely surprised that a mobile phone worked there.
“We got a text straight back from our daughter with a photo of our new grandson.
“It was unbelievable.
“That made our trip.”
While holidaying in Tibet and Nepal, the Brennans visited the Dalai Lama's Potala Palace and the Norbilingka in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, then took an eight-day four-wheel-drive trip across the country.
Bill described Lhasa as “scary at times with military patrols everywhere and checkpoints daily to go through”.
“But the people were friendly,” he said.
“When we were at the Potala Palace in the daytime, we saw a very large rainbow around the sun.
“Nobody had ever seen that before.
“On the other side of the coin, the poverty out in the ‘bush' was heart-wrenching at times.
“In Nepal on the way over, we got caught up in the Maoist rebel demonstrations against the government.”
The Taroom couple learnt all about the controlling community government while in Tibet.
“Having all our Lonely Planet Guidebooks for Tibet seized by the Chinese Customs at Lhasa was a very rude awakening to the communist way of doing things,” Bill said.
Bill said they made the decision to do the trip in 2006 when they were interested in the life story of the Dalai Lama.
The country couple tripped back to Nepal via the “Friendship Bridge” which links Tibet with Nepal and did a three-day visit to Chitwan National Park.
“We were having an elephant ride when three fully armed soldiers jumped up near us and scared the daylights out of us,” Bill said.
“There are a thousand soldiers patrolling the national park for poachers.
“We were seriously told that all poachers are shot on sight.”