We had a long journey to Tibet, staring out at 3.30 am and arriving at 18.00. To say we were tired was an understatement however we were met charmingly by our guide Tse Wang with white silk scarfs. I had been warned by someone who was horrified that we were spending 8 days in Tibet saying it was too long and that the predominant smell was Yak butter and everything was Yak related. Of course the person who told us that had never been to Tibet but that still lingered in my mind as I arrived. We were both exhausted and had snively noses. I felt nauseas and our first dinner was cold chicken korma. I felt miserable.
The hotel was lovely as you an see from the picture and once we found the radiator we could heat up a little. Pat and I were to tired to talk to each other and I thought that the rest of the week would be spent in bed. Fortunately I had Diamox with me which is for altitude sickness and the following day after about 12 hour sleep we both struggled out of bed for a strange breakfast. Still not looking good. We then went to the Potala Palace. The Winter Palace fro the Dalai Lama.
I don’t know what was more stunning, inside the palace (where we couldn’t take pictures), we were taken around the ornate chapels and chanting rooms and one monk was chanting and beating the drum and indicated for us to come in. Everyone around us was chanting lightly as they passed and statues of the past present and future Bhuddas with the Protectors or the different people we saw. I think the one comparison could be is if you imagine the whole of Europe in Trafalgar Sq wearing their national costumes.
We immediately felt miles better. Our guide is a wonderful mix of reverential buddha teaching us and teasing humor.
Tibet is soo very different to China even though there are many posters referring to China as the motherland. If you read the previous blog and saw the mall there I’ve taken a pic of a Tibetan Mall. I want to write a bit more about this in a later blog when I get back as it reminded me a bit of Home in the 1970’s.
The children are all so playful and you can see how many of the adults enjoy being photographed.
Contrary to the smell of Yak butter (however there is a great deal of this in the temples where the candles are burning there is a strong smell of incense everywhere. Around the Jokhang Temple there are about six enormous incense burners. The smell o these and the chanting and sound to the prayer wheels turning and the sliding sound as they prostrate on the ground as they walk around and in front of the temple. (They have sliding boots on their hands and they stand up, raise their hands in prayer, then kneel and then lie down on the cold ground.
I expect to have more photos than words in the next one as there were many places we went where photography was not possible and would not have given the full dimension of the scene, like the monastery where the monks debate. I could have watched them for hours as the person who questions is standing and he slaps his hands and raises his legs and questions the person sitting down. It got quite heated.
The photograph of the four on the roof were workers stamping own on the mud and chanting as they did this.
Tomorrow we’re off to the Yamdrok Lake, ‘a stunning high altitude turquoise lake’.