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Published: October 9th 2010
Our tour bus
and a car that just about ran me over.
Re-typing all of my journal entries is starting to get a little tiring, so I am going to highlight the rest of the Tibet trip in just one long entry.
Up: On October 2, we drove to Ganden Monastery, which is high up in the mountains. We had to take a series of crazy switchbacks. It reminded me of driving from Southern CA to San Francisco in elementary school. At the top, we took a long, wonderful hike around the monastery. After our boxed hotel lunches, a group hiked up a really tall hill with prayer flags all over it. Audrey, Clare, and I went up only a short distance and lay down and took a nap on the grass.
Down: I got a really bad headache and felt sick from the altitude, the heat, and lack of water. I also got a terrible sunburn on my chest and arm that blistered a little bit.
Up: Audrey gave me Excedrin Migraine, and that and going down the mountain fixed me right up.
Down: After a few days, I am tired of visiting monasteries. They are all dark and dusty with paintings and incense and statues and lamps.
taking tourist pics.
At the Drepung monastery a monk hit me three times with a metal plated stick. Its supposed to be a blessing or something.
Up: The tour guide took us to his wife's restaurant for lunch on the third. It was a dive. We had thick, handmade noodles and yak jiaozi soup. A family was sitting at the table next to us. Three little cousins talked to us the whole time, teaching us words in Tibetan and learning words in English from us. We also visited a nunnery and were allowed to look at one of the nun's bedrooms. It looked a lot like a dorm room, but darker and tidier. On the way back to the hotel, Mycal got into a dance off with a group of little Tibetan boys. They all had trucker hats perched on their heads and tried to break dance. A big group gathered around. Clare, Audrey, and I found a store that sold fabric, and they had plaid flannels, so we purchased some to bring back with us. We went to another tourist place for dinner, but were allowed to order what we wanted. Clare, Audrey, and I shared bobis, which reminded me of
fajitas, and yak momos. After dinner we discovered that bargaining works best in pairs or groups. We got a lot of good deals.
Down: We stop for so many "photo opportunities" on this trip, it is ridiculous. On the fourth of October, we drove for six hours to get out to the rural area of Tibet.
Up: Adam and Ben stripped to their underwear at one of the stops and jumped into the freezing, glacier water lake. Clare, Audrey, and I played MASH in the back of the bus.
Down: Lunch was terrible! They burnt the tofu. There wasn't enough food for everyone.
Up: We stopped at a convenience store before getting back on the bus. I bought Dove chocolate and graham crackers with peanuts on them. Yum.
Down: My alarm didn't go off on the morning of the fifth, so I woke up about fifteen minutes before the bus was supposed to leave, and no shower for me. When I got to the bus, Audrey told me that she and Clare had woken up at 4 in the morning to a leaky roof and an inch of standing water on their floor. I also
heard that Robert was really sick and had been coughing up blood due to the high altitude.
Up: Camping! After a small monastery and carpet factory in the morning, we went to our campsite. It consisted of several two person tents, a dining tent with a long table, a kitchen tent, and two bathroom tents that conceal holes in the ground. By the way, these are ten times better than the nasty rest areas with troughs, no doors on the stalls, and fees for using them. We had a cooking staff who made us a very good lunch. Then a group of us decided to film a movie during our free time. It is "The Yeti Project." We all have different stereotypical teen horror movie roles. Clare is the stoner, Mycal is the frat boy, Audrey is the valley girl, Scott is our professor, I am the nerd. The mountains, creek, and gas station on the side of the road made for a picturesque back drop. Clare, Audrey, and I performed our peacock feather ritual ceremony. We had hot chocolate, powdered pineapple juice and coffee in the dining tent, and dinner was just as good as lunch.
Talk about cold! Even with jeans, shirt and jacket, socks and gloves, hat and hood, a sleeping bag and two blankets I was cold.
Up: More hot chocolate and instant coffee for breakfast. Scott and Adam rapped at me while I put jelly on my toast.
Down: We went to another monastery, and had to climb up a long hill to get there.
Up: The monastery was small. I felt exhilarated at the top of the hill, and we had a snow ball fight with the small patches of fresh snow at the top.
Down: Another six hour drive back to Lhasa. Our new room was not as nice. The shower was the whole bathroom, and couldn't decide whether to be hot or cold.
Up: The beds were still really comfortable. After dinner I bargained a warm, fleece jacket from 280 kuai down to 100 just by being stubborn.
Down: On Thursday I felt really exhausted. Even walking really slowly was very tiring.
Up: We had free time all day! I went with Kristiana when she got her traditional Tibetan dress from the tailor. We ate lunch with Clare and Audrey at a
little hole in the wall restaurant. In the afternoon, I went with Clare and Audrey to the square with the giant golden yak statues in the middle of it. After dinner we filmed more of our movie, went to Dicos for ice cream and fries, and went back to the same bar to film another part of our movie.
We had free time again on Friday. A few people went on a four to five hour hike with Penbo. They saw a sky burial, which involves vultures eating dead bodies. I did not go. Instead I went shopping with Clare and Audrey. Clare found a trucker hat that said "Fuck in the Box" and bargained it down to 30 kuai. We had yak burgers with fries for lunch. YUM.
Down: Penbo thought that our flight left at six instead of eight thirty, so we got to the airport way to early. When he realized his mistake, we went to another monastery to pass the time.
Up: A lot of people were freaking out because we have a paper and a presentation due in the same class on Saturday evening. But I wrote my paper before I left and
did all of my presentation research, so no freaking out for me. Just a plane trip and exhaustion. Time for a hot shower and bed back in Chengdu.
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