A Journal, with Pictures


by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

We vis­it­ed Lhasa in Tibet, which is at twelve thou­sand feet. Our hotel was the Shangri La in Old Lhasa. New Lhasa has been built by the Chi­nese since their occu­pa­tion. As with the rest of Chi­na, they have rebuilt the infra­struc­ture around old Tibet and in this case moved in a lot of Chi­nese. What Tibet is all about is Bud­dhism with  nine­ty per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion prac­tic­ing the faith, and they prac­tice it hard.  We main­ly vis­it­ed monas­ter­ies, the Dali Lama’s Palaces, with some time spent in the mar­ket. Our guide was intent on con­vert­ing us to Bud­dhism, but I flunked cat­e­chism so there was no hope. Our first vis­it was to was to the Jokhang Monastery then the Bark­hor Sera Monastery and final­ly the debat­ing gar­dens, where the monks debate phi­los­o­phy dai­ly. They seem to enjoy it. For me Tibet was most­ly about the inter­est­ing images of the pil­grims and monks.

Our lunch on the first day was served on the moun­tain­side over­look­ing New Lhasa.

Our sec­ond day was spent tour­ing the Sum­mer and Win­ter Palace of the Dali Lama (Cur­rent­ly exiled in India), so it’s for pil­grims and tourist. The Por­ta­la Palace (Win­ter Palace) sits on a hill over look­ing Old Lhasa, the sum­mer palace is in Old Lhasa. The Bud­dhist scrip­tures are are too volu­mi­nous to read, so the faith­ful spin prayer wheels to absorb the mean­ing. The Tem­ples and Palace are lit by Yak but­ter can­dles and there are con­tri­bu­tions of mon­ey at vir­tu­al­ly every stop made by the pil­grims. The sum­mer palace grounds are used for fam­i­ly pic­nics and we were amused to see one fam­i­ly car­ry­ing a case of Bud­weis­er beer of course made in Chi­na. The Chi­nese includ­ing the Tibetans are addict­ed to smart phones and we not­ed even the monks were head down com­mu­ni­cat­ing. The Chi­nese equiv­a­lent to Twit­ter or Face­book is called Wechat and has nine hun­dred mil­lion users.


On our last day in Tibet we vis­it­ed the Gan­den Monastery which was my penal­ty for flunk­ing the first two day of Bud­dhism. It is at four­teen thou­sand four hun­dred feet above sea lev­el and involved lots of hik­ing includ­ing a hike on a pil­grims trail (What am I doing this for?). On our way back we past through New Lhasa (very mod­ern) and then in old Lhasa vis­it­ed a typ­i­cal Tibetan mar­ket area.

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