Friday, August 10, 2007

Lhasa Part II - What Happened Post Suwei

Kathmandu, Nepal - I'm also in Nepal now. We're spending our time here preparing for our next adventure and trying to tell the tale of our last...but that will be another story. I want to back up and do a little post about my last few days in Lhasa sans Suwei. I don't have any stories remotely as interesting as our 3 days in the hospital, but I did take a few pictures that I liked and would love to share.

My main goal after Suwei left was to get my overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu booked as quickly as possible. It is high season in Tibet right now and tons of people are looking to do this "tour" (it must be called a tour so that you can get a TTB permit to go beyond Lhasa and Shigatse). The problem was there were too many people wanting to go but a shortage of Land Cruisers, so the price jumped up by 1000 RMB while I was looking. I ended up posting a lot of signs around town and emailing Katja, a German girl who had done the same. Katja set up a breakfast meeting via email and we found 3 other guys - Shinji from Japan, Masahiro also Japanese, and Hoon from South Korea - to join us. That same day we managed to find a car which would carry five people and was cheaper than most of the other vehicles that carried only four people. Long story short we were set for an August 3rd departure and I had two 2 days to explore Lhasa.

Prayer Wheels on the North Side of the Potala Palace.

This is what I did those last two days:
  • Last minute shopping along the Barkhor Circuit for a vase, more yarn, & prayer flags.
  • Wandered the back alleys of Lhasa in search of fleece and long johns. Found the long johns for 40 RMB. The largest fleece I found was an XXXXL and it was a tad too small for me.
  • Got my shoes fixed at a local cobbler.
  • Rode a bicycle 7 km out to the Drepung Monastery, one of the three "pillars of the Tibetan state. Dreprung means "rice heap", and is a good description of the stack of whitewash building littering the hillside. At one point around 1959, almost 7000 monks lived at the monastery. Now there are about 700. We like all the signs saying "please come this way." They seemed to point in every direction.

    Drepung Monastery
  • Rode 7km back to town and stopped for a noodle break while a local repair man fixed my flat tire.
  • Took more pictures of the Potala Palace.
  • Potala Palace
  • Hand washed my laundry when the power at our hotel went out for two days.
  • Took a taxi out to Sera Monastery (another "pillar"). Sera Monastery was founded in 1419 and... here is where it gets interesting... occupies an area of 114,964 sq. meters. I guess I find that interesting primary because it makes me laugh that whoever wrote that fact, found it important enough to include it both on the entry sign and on the entrance ticket.

    Sera Monastery
  • Packed, checked out, and met "Our guys" early Friday morning for the trip to the Nepali border.
But that's another story.

Check out the rest of the photos from Lhasa here:

Lhasa, Tibet, China - Part II

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