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  • My First Travel Experience in Tibet – Lhasa

    2018-04-10 吴伟华 185 Views

    I have returned from Tibet for ten days, rested for five days, and worked intensely for five days. Once I calm down,  my brain is full of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, withered mountains, blue sky, and lakes. Like all people who have returned from Tibet, I have suffered from "Tibet disease." I think that I must write something to record it, such as my long-cherished longing, the first touch, and the tears that shed with touch and shock along the way. 

    Actually, I had left Tibet for a month when I finished this travelog.

    My footprint: Lhasa (three days) - Nyingchi(three days) - Lhasa (two days)

    Schrodinger’s altitude sickness

    As early as in January, I already decided to Lhasa by airplane on 8th January. In the past, there was no altitude sickness experience. Just in case, I took Rhodiola Oral Liquid. Although I didn’t take it regularly, I got the psychological comfort. But I was completely beaten by my sudden cold on the 13th. One the one hand I refreshed on the Internet that “Will I die when going into Tibet with a cold?”, on the other hand, I took medicine and drank on time, telling myself that the cold is self-limiting and I believed it will be restored in a few days. I really didn’t want to give up this opportunity. For it, I had been eager for several years, and in those two months, I spent a lot of efforts in the library reading guides. Therefore, altitude sickness was like the cat in the box of Schrodinger, and with it, I got on the plane and it was finally revealed at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport.

    View from the plane window

    Unfortunately, the altitude sickness not only came but also came quickly and violently like a storm. I do not want to tell in detail the horror of the day. Plateau peaceful capsules, glucose, cold medicine, fever drugs, a lot of hot water, all were needed. It has to be considered that the appearance of human beings on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a miracle, and having faith is inevitable. In short, I used my personal experience to prove once again.

    1. In the first half of the year before entering Tibet, it is best to strengthen physical exercise, otherwise, the ability of the heart to withstand hypoxia can't keep up, of course, one month before you should stop exercising.

    2. Don’t fly directly to Tibet if possible, or fly to Nyingchi first (elevation 2,900m).

    3. Do not go into Tibet with a bad cold. Fortunately, this time I recovered in a short time, or the estimated consequences would be bad.

    4. That you have not gotten altitude sickness in the past does not mean that you will not get altitude sickness for the next time, and it is better to be careful.

    Anyhow, Tibet, we are coming! You have made me profoundly realize the power of human beings and nature in the game and coexistence. It is also a special welcome way.

    Sunshine City (Lhasa)

    Just after landing in Lhasa, there was a little snowflake flying in the sky. After entering the city, the sun shines brightly and glitters. Under the irresistible cold air and warm sunlight, looking at the Potala Palace in close proximity, there is a kind of unreal feeling. She is like a goddess lying quietly on the highest mountain, the blue sky is the palace, the golden rock and earth is the subjects, through the millennium, stately.

    View from Potala Palace

    Just at the same time as the Chinese New Year and the Tibetan New Year, the number of Tibetans who came to Lhasa to worship was countless. The crowds were basically Tibetans. Tourists were much less than peak season. Last year, Lhasa had a floating population of 3.2 million during the peak season, while this new year was 800,000. In particular, the Barkhor Street outside the Jokhang Temple was surrounded by people who came to turn prayer wheels, and foot next to foot, or forehead next to foot (a long kowtow), turning the prayer wheel, carrying a baggage or a child and turn clockwise in the temple.

    White house of Potala Palace

    Yes, with up-and-down steps, I found that Tibetan women, especially older women, walk a lot differently and had different degrees of lameness. Checking online for a long time, I generally understand that, because in the Tibetan region, women are the main force of domestic work, perennial work plus the habit of relying on the waist to bear load result in lumbar problems, and many people have a hip with different heights on both sides. The credibility of this statement is relatively high. Several decades ago, it was still a system of serfdom. The concept of thousands of years is deeply entrenched. The status of women is still very low. This was also confirmed by our contact with Tibetans in Shannan. However, the women here are so cute. No matter if they are girls or adult women, they all love to laugh. Everyone will show their innocent smile when meeting people. This kind of laughter is unique to them.

    Outside view of Potala Palace

    We wandered around Barkhor Street and its various alleys for three days, and it was still not boring. Lhasa's houses are generally two or three stories, and no matter where you are, you can look up and see the Potala Palace. In the old urban areas are all dense Tibetan buildings. They are almost all of a kind. Walking around the streets is easy to get lost. The shops facing the street are the specialty shops for tourists and cloth shops, bead shops and sweet tea houses. Obviously, food, clothing, and beliefs are the themes of their lives.

    Walking on the rocky road to the Palace

    Chongsaikang Lane is a surprise that we have no intention to visit. This is a lively market for Tibetans. A variety of stall vendors, bustling. Tibetan jewelry stalls are the most popular. In New Guinea and South America, Aboriginal people have an almost crazy love for jewelry. Regardless of how material life is lacking, the status of jewelry is still as important as food. It can be said that they collect food in one hand and the other hand must produce jewelry. Even if the whole body is naked, the string of fruit, bones or feathers on the neck must be worn. Probably the closer human beings are to nature, the more they believe in some mysterious power and the tokens that can represent this power.

    Chomsigkang Lane

    Of course, regardless of whether the jewelry sold is true or not, their love of life is always beyond doubt. The monks are no exception. A middle-aged monk, standing in front of a small stall, was even more interested in the children's plastic track car toy. He watched the toy car run at least 20 laps!

    Pilgrimage in from of Jokhang Temple

    Tourists should also have a clear understanding of their own positioning. During the collective Tibetan worship during the Tibetan New Year, our arrival had already taken a lot of resources. Therefore, in addition to respecting local customs, we should not carelessly touch the heads of children and take pictures of Buddha statues. We must also respect the differences in values.

    Barkhor Kora

    On the third day of the fight against altitude sickness, it was still a slow day. With husband walking hand-in-hand on the streets of Lhasa, physical discomfort had completely diluted the initial joy. However, we still bravely walked out of the perimeter of the Jokhang Temple, visited Norbulingka, and ate the most memorable Tibetan food which is famous in the network in this life.

    Outside wall of Norbulingka

    Norbulingka Summer Palace is still full of Tibetan worshippers. The dried food, kettles and butter candies spread across their waists, with their families. From the 7th to the 14th Dalai Lama “PoZhang” (Palace), which were open, the 8th Dalai Lama’s Scripture library was a small one, but it had a glittering statue of Avalokitesvara, which caused the Tibetan Children's exclamation. It is estimated that the pilgrimage here during the Chinese New Year is a well-informed experience for most of the children outside Lhasa. They packed their way to the streets and hopped around. They cautiously faced the visitors and shouted: "Can't take pictures." In the 14th Dalai Lama's PoZhang, there were toilet bowls of foreign brands. Of course, it is not surprising that the most advanced toilet equipment was provided to the most famous people in Tibet in the 1950s, but it is unfortunate that it was not used in a long time. Therefore, the toilet became the latest cultural relic left by the 14th Dalai Lama!

    Inside the Summer Palace

    The auspicious Holy Snow Restaurant has a good taste. The owner is from Xigaze. There is a small private museum in the restaurant which has many ancient Tibetan utensils. Just because there were not many people on the day, we were invited to visit. The landlady’s grandmother was a member of the first team climbing Everest. She is very wonderful! If you have good luck, you can see her in the restaurant.

    Yak Meat Hot Pot

    Tibetan food

    I was attracted to Guangminggangqiong Sweet Tea House for its reputation. The house was very wide and long, and even tables were next to tables and benches were next to benches, the seats were all full and the heads of people were a black mass. Although the furnishings are old, the popularity is high, and there were basically the Tibetans. Coming in, they throw a handful of change at the table. When the sweet tea is over, they buy it once again. In groups of three or five, they come with families and buy sweet tea to drink slowly and chat joyfully. The scene of the sweet tea shop is a microcosm of Tibetan life: pure and slow.

    Makye Ame - a famous restaurant on Barkhor street

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