Two Weeks in Tibet

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August 3rd 2005
Published: August 8th 2005
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Tibetan Dance RitualTibetan Dance RitualTibetan Dance Ritual

I took this photo from our cab when we first arrived. Notice the large Land Cruisers in the background...that is the vehicle of choice all throughout Lhasa.
It has been a while since my last post as I have been traveling across Tibet via 4x4 with no access to the net. After a cool couple of days back in Chengdu, I hopped on a flight to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. On the flight, I met two English blokes (Oliver Tayler....aka OLLIE; Dominic...aka Junior). It took us a few days to get used to the altitude of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet (at 3500 meters above sea level), so we spent the first few days napping, eating and drinking. I was a bit taken back by the "progress" which the Chinese have brought to Tibet which, for the Chinese, means billboards, shops, and alot of "Western"-esque atmosphere. But we managed to take it all in stride. Junior decided to head out on a 12-day journey across Tibet with a return to Lhasa. Ollie and I joined a 6-person group and headed out to Nam Tso lake for a 2-day trip. The lake was beautiful and relaxing but the higher altitude (over 4,000 meters) continued to play havoc with my sleeping abilities (I would only sleep for 4 hours per night). We made it back to Lhasa and
Tibetan Meat MarketTibetan Meat MarketTibetan Meat Market

These meat stands pepper the narrow alleys around Lhasa.
had solidfied a good group of 7-people who would head out to Nepal just 3 days later. The group is as follows: Lily & Javier, Marc, David "Gypo", and Patrick "Patti". Truly an international group with one Spaniard, one American, one German and 4 from the UK. Before leaving Lhasa, Ollie and I visited the Potala Palace (previous home of the Dali Lamas) and a few monasteries as well as two bike rides around Lhasa.

The 6-day journey via Toyata Land Cruiser from Lhasa to Nepal border started with an auspicous beginning as Ollie and I overslept and were 30 minutes late to the meeting place at 6am. But luckily, that was the only major problem for the entire 6-days. Our 4x4 did break down a few times but the drivers were able to fix the vehicles. The journey took us from Lhasa - Shigatse - New Tingri - Everest Base Camp (2 days) - Old Tingri - Nepal border. The highlight for all of us was Mt. Everest. My insomnia kicked into high gear at the Everest Base Camp (5200 meters up) as I did not sleep for 48 hours.

The sights and sounds of the 6-day
Potala PalacePotala PalacePotala Palace

The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m.
trip are sometimes undescribable...I guess that is why the 7 of us did the trip to experience it first-hand. But hopefully the photos below will help you back home get a feel for my two weeks in Tibet. I may add more photos in a few days once I get the photos from the other people in the group. When I do, I will re-publish this entry.

Hope everyone back home is good. Shout out to Rich and Amy who are getting married on Aug 6th out in the Hamptons! Sorry I could not make it guys. Best of luck!


Additional photos below
Photos: 92, Displayed: 23


Golden Yaks of LhasaGolden Yaks of Lhasa
Golden Yaks of Lhasa

These yaks were given by the Chinese to the Tibetan people as a gift in remeberance of the 40th anniversary of the "Liberation" of 1950.
Working at the PalaceWorking at the Palace
Working at the Palace

The Chinese are spending lots of money on upgrades at the Potala Palace. Ollie and I strolled into the work area and the Tibetan workers greeted us with smiles. I pitched in helping shovel some concrete.
Middle of the street in TibetMiddle of the street in Tibet
Middle of the street in Tibet

This is the main street in Lhasa. On my left is the Patola Palace and on my right is the new Chinese monument under construction.
congested alley waycongested alley way
congested alley way

Right outside our hotel, the alley way was continually congested.
Lhasa Dinner PartyLhasa Dinner Party
Lhasa Dinner Party

Ollie, Dominic, Anna, Niko and I enjoy a meal at one of Lhasa's tasty restaurants
Lhasa ShowLhasa Show
Lhasa Show

Escaping the rain, Ollie, Dominic and I stumbled into a music hall where we were entertained by a traditional Tibetan dance show.
Show staffShow staff
Show staff

I take a moment to pose with the staff at the music hall...meanwhile, one of the staff had their friend take a picture at the same time so we are all looking at different cameras
New Zealand friends acting upNew Zealand friends acting up
New Zealand friends acting up

In order to get into the Potala Palace, these New Zealanders let us cut the line and get tickets with them. Here, as we meet them to enter the palace, they joke around in a pedal taxi.
View from the palaceView from the palace
View from the palace

From inside the Potala Palace (the previous home of the Dali Lamas), the view is now of a Chinese monument. Can you guess if the Tibetan people are happy or sad about this?
Photo from inside the Patola PalacePhoto from inside the Patola Palace
Photo from inside the Patola Palace

Photos are not allowed in the palace, but I surreptitiously snapped this one for you guys back home...sorry that it is a bit blurry but I was looking over my shoulder at the Chinese army office with the gun so as not to get shot.
Outside palace with Chinese touristsOutside palace with Chinese tourists
Outside palace with Chinese tourists

My new blonde hair has made me a welcome addition to many tourist's photos
Night time ride through LhasaNight time ride through Lhasa
Night time ride through Lhasa

Ollie and I rented mountain bikes to visit two friends in the Lhasa Hospital. Afterwards, we sped through the narrow alleys of Lhasa at night on the bikes.
Morning at Nam Tso LakeMorning at Nam Tso Lake
Morning at Nam Tso Lake

Our group of 7 rented a van with a driver and headed to Nam Tso lake at 5am..arriving at the lake by 9am. I pose at the water's edge in my fleece (which I picked up in Lhasa) and my neck warmer (which I use as a hat). In the foreground are rock piles which the Tibetan people build...some people say it's in reference to relatives who passed on.
Scenic view of Nam TsoScenic view of Nam Tso
Scenic view of Nam Tso

Ollie goaded me to climb a mountain for a better view of the very "blue" Nam Tso...the highest lake in the world at over 4500 meters above sea level.
From atop a mountain at Nam TsoFrom atop a mountain at Nam Tso
From atop a mountain at Nam Tso

Ollie and I climbed up the mountain near our tents. The Tibetans had arranged a complex arrangement of prayer flags on the apex.
Lakeside AccomodationsLakeside Accomodations
Lakeside Accomodations

The 7 of us stayed in the tent in the middle....for the high cost of $1.90 per person! Location, Location, Location!

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