Monday, October 17, 2011

Next on the monastery list

After the day at Nam-Tso lake I could really feel a difference when we dropped back to 13,000 feet. I could, you know, breath and walk at the same time! Said good bye to Lhasa and off to Samye we went. The best part of this place was getting there. Driving through the hills, seeing the teeny tiny towns, watching people harvest barley, endless views of blues skies and mountains. After several hours of driving the group hopped on a ferry with the locals. In the back you had the monk with the fake Rolex watch and iPhone who laughed at us for most of the hour long ride. The baby who stared at each of us with this expression of " I've never seen anyone like you! What are you man?" The old women who wanted their picture taken and kept us supplied with apples and sunflower seeds. And the women who were fascinated with a book that had pictures of the Dali Lama. Shh, don't tell the Chinese government we had a picture of the Dali Lama! They'd throw us in jail, seriously! Amusing ferry ride done, shaking bus ride next. The roads in Samye aren't exactly the best and the bus driver liked to drive fast, which caused the very old and decrepit bus to shake, violently. I'm surprised the walls stayed on, because they looked like they were going to fall off at any moment!
Guess what we did when we got to Samye? If you guessed monastery, you're right! Unfortunately, I did not feel well here so I don't remember most of what I should have been listening too. I also skipped out on what was a very nice walk up a hill for some amazing views. Next time I'm in Tibet, right?
At this point I developed a rather nasty cold, which in high altitude is super fun. Especially when you lose your voice and can only whisper. Those of you who know me might think that this may not be a bad thing, but I didn't find it particularly fun. Not that I let something like a cold stop me.
Gyanste was next on the hit list of Tibet towns and monasteries. Spent a very pleasant morning strolling around Pelkor Chode, circling the monastery and stupa. At the stupa they use a very chalky paint and people use it to leave their hand prints on the railing wall. I did too of course, I've got to leave my mark! Then it was off to Shigaste, were we got to see Tashilunpo, home to the Panchen Lamas. Punchen Lamas are the next highest ranking lama after the Dali lama in Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was nice, but I enjoyed walking around town and walking up to the view point more. The view point was a lovely little walk that was lined with prayer wheels and prayer flags and over looked the monastery, town, and surrounding hills. In the late afternoon light it was lovely.


   

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