Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yak Enchilada

Hmmmm.... it was gorgeous. Certainly better than the dodgy yak buger.

Anyway just a quick update as there are temples to visit and pilgrimage circuits to ... well do whatever you do on pilgrimage circuits.

I arrived in Lhasa four days ago from the high plateau and since then life has been one long round of monasteries and unusual food. It's been great. The Chinese haven't managed to make the Tibetans assimilate totally yet. It is still a very religious area although there are far less monks and lamas than before China came in. The city is largely a modern Chinese creation, a classic example is the huge square in front of the Potola palace. But small Tibetan areas remain and being able to sit in a chapel and watch the monks debating, or experience the throat singers in the shade of a monastery courtyard have been highlights for me. I've got lost round some huge monastery complexes, been called a yeti by the monk kitchen staff (due to having hair on my arms) and tried on some truely spectacular hats in truely spectacular locations.

On the downside the taxis here are equally as bad as anywhere else on my journey. None of them appear to know where anyplace is. I have to do impressions of a horse to get back to my hotel (it's next to a race track), but even that doesn't guarantee sucess. Last night, in an effort to fit all four of us in his cab, the taxi driver persuaded the passenger he already had to travel in the boot. He seemed only too happy to lie in foetal position in the locked boot whilst the driver vainly tried to find our hotel. I'm glad to report that he was still alive when we finally arrived at our destination.

Lhasa's nightlife could do with a bit of an overhaul but have had a few late nights in bizarre circumstances. Most of the bars seem to serve beer in shot glasses and spirts in half pint glasses (this is one of the dangers not mentioned in the Tibet Lonely Planet), the music is ecclectic (that's a polite way of putting it) and..... no I don't remember anymore.

Must go now as I'm late for whatever it was I was going to do..

This was originally written on 14 August 2005. It is from my summer trip to Central Asia, China and Tibet.


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