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Published: April 27th 2006
Resting on top of the hill. Notice yak horn offerings
I took a 4 hour trip to Shingatse, the second largest city in Tibet, on a public bus. Angie, a great gal from Canada, was my travel buddy.
What a journey! The passengers were dirty, spitted all the time, Chinese men smoked like crazy. It was not pleasant, particullarly since I wasn't feeling well.
The bus stopped a couple of times and most people got out of the bus to urinate, "al fresco", right there by the bus. Peeing everywhere is a very normal act around Tibet, with no shame at all.
I finnally admitted to be suffering from High Altitute sickness. The headache, nausea, heart pounding and shortness of breath made it hard, but I was not willing to let it spoil my precisous and limited time in Tibet. Thus, headed up the hill following pilgrims for the kora around the Tashilhunpo Monastery. There was a great view from the top of the hill and interesting sights along the way.
As I puffed my way up, feeling the effects of the 3900 meter elevation, I thought: " How could I not do it when old pilgrims can? Their endurance is amazing: they climb hills, do prostrations, always
with rosary and/or prayer well on hand."
Shingatse wasn't impressive: Dirty, windy, people not as friendly, and it is quickly turning into a modern Chinese town. Constructions are everywhere and the tiny old Tibetan town is dissapearing. Maybe you will have better luck if you get there, but hurry, as I predict that after the infamous railroad is open, there won't be much of Tibetan culture left around here.
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