Having been in Lhasa now for 4 days, I do believe an update is due. firstly, as mentioned in my last entry, Gary Helen and I had a day out whilst we were still en-route to Lhasa. I'm not going to try to be funny here (although it will be hard for the english comedy not to reach my fingers), I just want to give you guys the facts of what was a truely great day out.
I still wasn't feeling well and could feel my stomach grumbling away but decided that the 4 imodiums I taken (think I may now be addicted!) would block me sufficiently to enjoy a day out to see the sights of Gyantse castle followed by Kumbo Monestry. As we walked out of our guesthouse I could see Gyantse castle standing proudly at the top of a hill
. This castle is over 1000 years old and it was amazing to walk around it and snap away. It was kind of set out like a museum, with manikins badly painted and looking very unrealistic! however, the Tibetan torture methods nearly rival the medieval English ways! I'd like to try and paint a picture in your mind of what the castles and many many monestries are like, although very different in their own right, they all have certain characteristics........ I think the easiest way would be..ok.... Who'se seen the last of the 3 Indiana Jones movies? What a great film! Ok, they all were. Right at the end where Indiana had to choose the correct goblet to drink the holy water from and he chooses the old wooden one. That room is like all the rooms at the monestries. Truely amazing and the Bhudas all seem to stare at you with their hypnotic eyes! Also, these guys love candles, but instead of wax, they use lard so there's a really bizare smell! So, Gary Helen and i had a day out which was great. As a gang of 5 of us (me, Bren, Del, Caz and Anna - Swiss/German girl who hasn't yet had a mention) we went to the Potala Palace whilst in Tibet. It's kinda like the Buckingham Palace of Tibet. We had a great cultural day out with amusing incidents like when Del conned a street jewellry seller into selling him a neckless for a 10th of the price!! Nice to see them being conned once in a while!!! Ok, here's the informational bit..... There are over 1000 rooms in the palace but only 42 are open to the public!!
! That said, it still took us 3 hours to get round it so maybe that's a good thing!!!! Saw numerous thrones of various Dali Lamas (5th to the 8th)..... In England, all that sort of stuff would be behind a 8 inch thick glass case but here it was just roped off. We also saw the tombs of the 5th and 8th Dali Lama...... the 5th Dali Lama has 3.2 tonnes of gold in his tomb!!!
The gang has now suffered the sad loss of Corinna...... She jeeped her way out of Lhasa this morning as she has a flight from Kathmandu to Thailand 'shortly' (she's only 5'1") and the jeep takes 3 days to get to the border. Her ever positive attiute was to be admired and already the group is not the same without her. So, last night we all decided to just chill out within the hotel complex, drink beer and whiskey, listen to music and bring our dufets and pillows to outside Gary's room.......... and set off fireworks!! The group grew as the night went on and I'd guess there was maybe a dozen of us guzzling the whiskey and beer sat around and having a laugh. Earlier on we'd purchased a number of fireworks locally... quite funny as we spent about 20 minutes deciding and haggling, during which time a crowd of about 20 locals had gathered just to watch!!! 'Hey everyone, come and look at these westerners buying fireworks!' So, back to the evening of the 1st May...... I sank my first beer quickly, partly because I like drinking beer and partly because the empty bottle would be an ideal firework holder
. The fuse hissed into life and I placed it about 3 metres from us.... Everyone watched. And watched and watched. A full minute had passed and nothing had happened. Remembering the fireworks code as a kid - never return to a lit firework - we continued to watch. The time was about midnight, maybe later and a new group of pissed off looking westerners had arrived, grateful for a comfy bed and not having to endure a further bus ride the next day. I remember how tired I was and how pissed off I'd have been if a bunch of pissed up tourists were being loud. However, compared to the fireworks that were about to go off, we were so so quite........ And then it happened......... Pppphhhhhoooooofffffff!!! The first of I'd guess 50 mini rockets went into there air. A loud explosion and much laughter from us. Lights began to come on and complaints voiced. There was nothing we could do!!!! The thing was lit and that couldn't be undone. Most of us were doubled up laughing at what was going on and it was of no surprise that the management soon arrived to dish out a bollocking. That's what I think was happening but the tears were now rolling down my face and I couldn't really hear what was being said! They weren't the only tears shed that evening as it soon came round to give Caz her birthday card (birthday on 6th May) and a few skillfully selected presents. Tears welled in her eyes and you could tell she was genuinely choked up. kind words and hugs all round were next on the menu. We got to bed at 4, all pissed and tired. We awoke at 6 and Del and I walked Caz to her departure point, not yet hungover and still drunk! We made the 5 minute walk there and it was mostly in silence. None of us could put into words how we truely felt, but if i can say now that i felt truely gutted to be saying goodbye to a good friend and that I definately want to hook up in Bangkok for a few days of Thai whiskey madness! Del and I slowly walked back to the hotel in silence....
. I like being in someones company and not feel awkard in silence and I guess our friendship has reached that stage now. As we walked into the courtyard of our hotel I had a de-ja-vu feeling when I saw a jeep..... Sat in the rear of it was Caz!! Typical! Feeling that words would not be appropriate Del and I walked passed... I went to the loo and, for the first time in over a week, delivered a solid stool!!!! I wrote words to this effect on a piece of paper, returned to the jeep and threw the bit of paper at Caz and walked off. So as I walked back to my hotel room to re-commence sleep, I was both happy and sad for the above outlined reasons.
We leave tomorrow and are embarking on a 3 day jeep ride to the border with Nepal, via Everest! Can't wait and, although the jeep ride will be testing, i'm sure the banter will be happening and Everest will be fantastic!
Ok, firstly a quick fact which i find quite extraordinary.... China only has one time zone!!! Crazy huh?!