Continued from Tibet Day 1.
Got to sleep in a little today, not leaving until 10:30am. My head is pounding and my nose, throat, and lips are all very dry. Lhasa is beating me up. RL is doing ok with just a slight headache.
But look at this amazing view from the rooftop restaurant of our hotel!
Can’t get over how blue the sky is. Potala Palace in the middle distance.
Down on street level, all the pedicabs are lining up for business.
You see what I mean that China needs larger denominations? We’ve only made a deposit for our travels in Tibet, with the remainder to be paid in cash once we arrive in Lhasa. Since we arrived in China a few days ago, we’ve had to go to the ATM and get as much cash as we can. We hated carrying so much cash with us, and are happy to give it to someone else for their responsibility.
At 10:30, we met up with our guide in our lobby and are now heading to Drepung monastery which is just a bit outside of Lhasa.
The back side of Potala!!
We had the worst cabbie ever. He spent almost the entire ride trying to flirt with our guide, which he was unsuccessful at. Then he spent the rest of the time trying to ask our guide to ask about us, etc. It got so bad that our guide had to tell him to stop asking so many questions.
Got to the security check gate, and our driver didn’t want to drive us up the mountain anymore for our negotiated price.
Finally, our guide and the security were able to talk to him into driving us up the mountain. He spent the whole time bitching about how we were ripping him off and then when he dropped us off he tried to get our guide’s number. She ended up giving him a fake one to get him to stop hounding her.
This is a monastery where monks come to learn and study. I think our guide said it takes on average like 15 years for a monk to graduate.
A Tibetan monk!! Those are prayer wheels behind him.
Poop, not sure what kind.
Water powered prayer wheel.
Looking back towards Lhasa.
Me giving prayer wheels a little spin.
All the stray dogs in Lhasa have long fur, since it gets so cold here during winter. I’ve never seen so many long haired strays.
Arka Flooring!! This is our favorite part about…Tibet, really. It’s a floor made of mud, water, rocks, and some sort of oil from plants. It’s very labor intensive to make, and has the coolest smooth texture when finished. We were both very impressed by this floor, for some reason. It’s in many of the monasteries and temples.
Once inside, we had to pay money to take photos. About 20y for each different temple inside the monastery. But it was worth paying.
The cabinet to the left holds all the scriptures that the monks read. A lot of Tibetans come here with thermos filled with yak butter lamp oil and pour them into the vessels holding the candles as offerings. There are also more statues in here than you could possibly count.
I smile, but my head hurts like a bitch.
Even monks appreciate modern machinery.
Assembly hall, this is where the monks come in the morning to all pray. Apparently, the chant leaders walk around with sticks and hit the monks that slack off.
Men only! Our guide said that this chapel is for some sort of deity or whatnot with a jealous wife, so no women allowed in.
Buddha, one of hundreds and hundreds in here. There are also numerous statues of the founder of this school of Buddhism, but I forgot his name.
Sculptures made of yak butter made by the monks. Super intricate.
One of the old giant pots that was used in the kitchen for the monks.
Cool, solar powered teapot. Our guide said that it gets hot enough that you can cook in it.
They have these gods by the doors of many religious buildings. It’s supposed to protect I think…With what? Fierce music playing?
OK, done. very few cabs come up here, so we had to get into one of the waiting vans to take us down the mountain. It’s a little more expensive than a cab, but at least it’s convenient. You can see a small figure in the road prostrating himself all the way up the long winding road to this temple. Who knows how far he’s actually come from, maybe even a village outside of Lhasa or further. Our guide said that sometimes these people go for years, prostrating themselves all the way from their homes on a pilgrimage.
After the temple, we asked our guide to take us to a place to buy some train tickets that we’ll need for later on in our trip. She took us to this nondescript building and after a long hallway, there’s a ticket counter for train tickets. Would have never found this place ourselves. All the people in line stared at both RL and I very intently.
Lunch! So hungry.
My head!!!!! It hurts!!!
Got to try Lhasa beer. It tastes….watery.
Food was very delicious though! I got to try yak curry. Yak tastes like…beef.
Looking towards the plaza of Lokhang Temple. The Dico’s across is where we ate last night.
After lunch, we’ve got an hour to chill until we meet up with our guide again…time for a nap. This low oxygen level is killing me. My head hurt constantly, and I feel extremely fatigued. Just by eating lunch, and all the blood goes to my intestines for digestion makes my head hurt even more and my body even more tired.
That nap was not long enough. We just wanted to lay in bed all day and sleep and rest. It hurts just getting up from the bed.
In no time, we got to Cera monastery. This monastery is famous for the debating monks.
The sun is so bright out here. Good thing it’s a dry heat, so we are not sweating up a storm.
A stupa with prayer wheels.
When we got here, we could hear the commotion from the monks debating.
The guy standing asks the questions and the ones sitting down answers the questions. They are debating about the philosophy of Buddhism.
They get quite into it. They slap their hands while they debate, and it’s supposed to have certain meaning…but we forget what it was.
The older higher ranking monks sit towards the back of the courtyard and debate. Their debate is not nearly as lively as the younger monks.
Reminds me of my dog.
A lady wringing some sort of liquid out of the plant. I believe this is the liquid used to make Arka floors.
Everyone here has an iPhone, even this monk. We will continue to see many other monks with iPhones…during this trip, we had less and less respects for monks here in Tibet. So many of them had iPhones…they are supposed to give up the finer things in life!!
Wheel of something something. Originally drawn by Buddha himself for a king that stopped some sort of war.
All the manual labor around the temple are done by women.
OK, that’s that. Time to head back to Lhasa.
So many places for me to hit my head over here.
Tired, headache. Everything feels terrible.
Health standards are not quite up to par here in Lhasa. Our table cloth was probably washed a month ago…maybe.
Just let me die! I don’t have an appetite. This altitude sickness sucks shit.
My cup also seemed to never have been washed correctly as the original sticker is still adhered.
I took most of my food home as I was too sick to eat it.
Time to stock up on some water and snacks.
Yes, it’s good enough for George, it must be good enough for me.
We wanted to go back to the hotel since we are soooo tired…but must rally!! We want to see the Potala Palace lit up at night. We were supposed to do that last night, but we were both too sick to go(sorry, RL says that only I was too sick to go).
There’s a giant plaza in front of the palace.
I love this building!!! And also my wife.
At 8:30pm, a water show starts.
China has one timezone, so the sun doesn’t set here in Lhasa until really late.
You see those security cameras hanging from the lamp? They hang from almost all the lamps.
Also, military personnel carrying assault rifles marching around the plaza. Everything is under a close watch here.
Take us home pedicab!!!
To be continued at Tibet Day 3.