Saturday, October 21, 2006

Meet me at the Summit Cafè in Lhasa

Weighing in at 3650 meters, Lhasa definately wins the 'Way Up There' award! The view on the flight over was incredible, flying over the Himalaya's. I even saw fish tail mountain which was kinda cool - I've seen it before when hiking in Nepal. That's a big rock. So what about that flight ticket you may wonder? You better sit down for this... The travel guy DID have the permits for us as promised. They cost ¥500 each, which is about US$63. And the lady at the airport DID re-ticket us at no cost...Now if that doesn't make you believe in God, what will? I definately mark that down in the minor miracle catagory.

Okay, but on with Tibet! I think it must be time for a few pictures now...:

(Jokhang Temple - the most important temple in Tibet)

(Buddhist Worship by Prostration)

So I'm moved by sadness and compassion.. I'm over-simplifying it but the bottom line is that in Tibetan Buddhism you seek to attain enlighten of the 'fact' that you do not exist, which then releases you from all pain and suffering, indeed from all worldly things. This is generally mixed with a bit of animism. The end result is that most of the Tibetans I saw were striving, striving, striving... They give most of what little money they have to the monks or the temple. They spend long amounts of time turning the prayer wheels at the temple. They can travel over a hundred miles, dropping to their knees every three steps and prostrating. This is all done in vain hope that some 'bad things' won't befall them. What really broke me on the inside was after we'd been watching some Tibetans turning a prayer wheel for a few minutes. I then saw a young girl, maybe 12 years old, and saw the resignation and despair in her eyes. Alright the spark of life that you can find in someones eyes was dim. What sort of life does she have to look forward to? These people need hope, and Tibetan Bhuddism cannot provide it.

(Potala Place - the govermental capital of Tibet)

(Tibetan woman with prayer wheel)

Older Tibetans are constantly 'sending up prayers'. Notice not only the prayer wheel that the woman is holding, but also her apron. That apron signifies marriage. Most of the ethnic clothing of the Tibetans is really colorful, quite nice I think! And look at the picture of the palace. That first wall is 3 meters thick!!! Too bad I couldn't find anyone to take a photo with me in it. I think I'll finish with something a little bit happier...!

(Kettle being heated by solar power)

(Sign at the entrance to the main bus station)

In my opinion we have two very cool things here. First, a kettle being heated by solar power! Let me tell you, the sun is a VERY powerful thing in Lhasa... I saw those kettles boiling away. Second, a VERY confusing sign. Anyone interested in a job doing translation for virtually every business in China & Tibet that has signs in English? :) I was actually there and I couldn't figure out what the sign meant...


Jingzhi said...

The sign is confusing really.So,you should learn some Chinese character.:)

Richard in Kunming said...

I couldn't agree more! :) I just started with a language tutor a couple of weeks ago. I came with NO KNOWLEDGE at all so I have alot to learn! First I want to learn how to write my name, then I need to learn how to recognize foods - essential for the restaurant... :)