Published: December 10th 2007December 10th 2007
A relaxing day in Xiahe
Okay so last night the Pierre (sorry if I spelt it incorrectly) and myself headed to a Tibetan bar/disco that we had been to the night before but I forgot to write about, and this is a proper Tibetan bar/disco. There was no sign above the door, just a flashing neon light and a whole group of Tibetan men entering and exiting. So we entered and I was immediately struck by the kitsch of the place but somehow thats what made it so great. It was a reasonably small rectangular room, with couches lining the walls and small coffee tables in front of the couches. In the middle of the room was a pot-belly stove burning yak dung and coal, and off in one of the corners was the 'bar'. The ceiling of the palce was made by weaving the plastic labels of soft drink bottles, fanta to be precise. Then on top of the fanta ceiling they had hung plastic ivy vines, plastic flowers, blacklight uv bulbs and in the middle of the room a disco ball. Quality.
We sat down and ordered two beers and there was a tv playing shitty Chinese
This is the kitchen where the tea for the monks is prepared while they are in a prayer meeting. Note the huge pots.
video clips. The Tibetan guy next to us thought we were very intriguing and raised his glass to us in a cheers, we all said cheers and then drank, much to his friends amusement. We suddenly became celebrities being offered cigarettes, cheers-ing and shaking hands but then our spotlight was stolen. Someone began to sing. The tv had been paused and a microphone had been brought out and a girl started to emit this ear-splitting wail, but after she began to sing and it was amazing. Then she finished singing and in two seconds flat a Tibetan guy (who looked a lot like the last of the mohicans with leather pants, riding boots, a skivvy, a necklace of beads and bones, long hair and a moustache) got up and took the microphone and began to sing as well. This carried on for a good half an hour and it was fantastic. The girl would sing and then the guy would respond. Here we were sitting in a smoky room, surrounded by Tibetan guys listening to traditional music.
No snow this morning, it was too cold overnight (-18C to be exact). While it was freezing cold today, the sun was
out again and it was another brilliant day. This morning though I found it really hard to get going, I was just really tired and I felt really lazy but after a nice hot shower I felt a little better and we headed out and back to the monastery. We planned on seeing the temples/colleges that we had missed yesterday, but since we were so late arriving we got there just as the monks were called in for the prayer meeting. More boots! We meandered around the monastery adn then headed out to the nunnery and a tantric temple, which was very interesting. There is an outer kora path here at Labrang which takes you up into the hills over Xiahe and it started from just near the nunnery, so we had grabbed some lucnh and began to hike up into the hills. I am nowhere near as walking fit as I was in Papua New Guinea! It was a struggle to get up but once up we had some pretty nice views. On the way down, the path took you passed a Tibetan Sky Burial site (google it) and while I thought I was ready for it, what we
saw shocked us both, but I'll just leave it at that. Anyway after this we wandered back into town and through some small shops and workshops, watching guys making knives and prayer wheels. And now here I am.
Needless to say, tonight there will be more disco/bar action, it really was good. Tomorrow I am planning on heading to Langmusi, which in the winter is a two bus trip; one to Hezuo and then one to Langmusi, total time about 5-6 hours.
Thanks for reading, hope everyone is well and enjoying the warmth :(
There are more photos below