Tuesday, December 4, 2007

China Odyssey, Day 20 - Lhasa, Tibet

Day 20 - Lhasa, Tibet
Tuesday December 4
Jonkhang Temple and Potala Palace

It's day 2 in Tibet and Kathy is up and about, chafing to be out shopping and visiting all those beautiful Buddhist Temples. Keith is still asleep, down for the day with the remnants of a cold, too much oriental food, and, mostly, altitude debilitation. He's not sick, really, he just can't get out of bed.

At 9:30 Kathy walked with the group to the Jonkhang Temple Square where she toured the temple, together with thousands of Tibetan pilgrims. The most devout pilgrims walk hundreds of miles, prostrating themselves every three steps. Prostrate pilgrims can be seen all around the square There was a 5 hour line to enter the temple, but our Tibetan guide somehow bypassed this line. The temple was dark, crowded, contained many Buddhas, and smelled of incense. There was money everywhere. Our guide told us that Tibetans give most of their money to the temple. They believe in reincarnation, and think their next life will be better if they give their money to the temple now.

Pilgrims Waiting in Jonkhang Temple Square

Prostrated Pilgrims Approach the Temple

Pilgrims Worship Inside the Temple

Next a walk to an OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel, our tour company) gift shop. We were given Jasmine tea and rested for awhile. Kathy climbed to the rooftop and took some interesting pictures of the Potala Palace (built with all those Tibetan dollars).

Keith awoke in time for lunch at the Lhasa Kitchen Restaurant, a short walk from the hotel. Lunch had an Indian flavor - nan bread, curry, and dal to pour over the rice. We like Indian cuisine, and enjoyed this lunch.

After lunch Keith went back to bed while Kathy went out to feed the local street vendors (but hopefully not the pickpockets, against whom we were warned). She bought 7 pairs of panda mittens for the grandchildren to wear, when not in public.

Tibetan Tour Vehicle

The Potala Palace tour was at 2:30. Kathy went, but did not climb the 400 steps to the palace. Instead she walked about the base, and shopped (street vendors are everywhere). Keith slept through the afternoon.

Patala Palace

Dinner was Yak burger at the hotel, accompanied by the usual Chinese and Tibetan side dishes. Yak is actually quite good. It tastes like buffalo.

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