I'm actually in Tibet!

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
Trip End Apr 21, 2010

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Flag of China  , Tibet,
Sunday, March 7, 2010

So it was, I flew to Lhasa without any complications (which I expected) and landed (a bit short of breath - 3595 Metres above sea level - the highest city in the world!) to be welcomed by my tour leader (Sonam) with a customary white silk scarf! I could barely contain my excitement! I had the whole first day to wander around before the 9 day tour of Central Tibet began the next day.

It is a sensitive time to be in Tibet in March because of the anniversary of protests in 2008 (March 14th). This is partly why I was reluctant to believe that I would even make it here. Around the Barkhor I was immersed in a joyful, colourful, devout people circling the most important temple in Tibet - The Johkang. Walking amongst the mixtures of minorities, humming their mantras and spinning their prayer wheels or repeatedly prostrating themselves, I was extremely snap happy and filled my 4GB memory card within a couple of hours!

I also walked to the base of the Potala Palace - my holy grail of this trip. I was actually in Lhasa! :) Feasting on Momo's (Yak meat dumplings) and Yak and Potato Stew I went to bed full and eager for the next day.

The next day I visited the inside of the Jokhang temple. A sensory overload, I didn't know where to look first. The narrow pilgramage circuit within the temple was heaving with people of all ages, pushing past each other to offer yak butter to the forever burning candles. The air was thick with insense, and the odd shaft of light revealed it movements in front of the statues, offerings, candles and decorations. My brain could not contain all the images of buddha statues let alone the explantions of them all by my tour guide! I wasn't allowed to take photos but I'm not sure they would have captured it anyway.

My third day in Lhasa was a tour around the inside of the Potala Palace - and it didn't disappoint. After reading books about it, my imagination was fuelled! It was full of treasures and murals and statues, etc, etc. Spent 2 hours in there just soaking it up. Awesome. Also visited the Sera monastery and watched 100 or so monks debate - test each other on their knowledge of Buddhism.
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jamie on

well done buddy. have an amazing time. x

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