Unfortunate Traveller Whinging...
Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
117Trip End ??? ??, 2008
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I spent much of my first week wandering and meandering through Lhasa's diverse streets, ridding myself of my photographic portraiture fears - something that the Brazilian professional photographer on assignment had told me to do on our way over. The faces here are not one of real happiness - though lit with daily happenstances, they are burdened by something darker - perhaps the exile of their fellows, the quiet resentment of their occupation, the burden of being the unfortunate martyrs of their quiet religion. It could be far simpler I am certain, but I had few happy conversations about the state of Tibet. Some Tibetans here (the racial statistics here seem highly tampered with by the government-that-shall-not-be-named) are truly happy people, and temper their resentment with the lightness of their souls. I met a few towards the end of my stay who weren't resentful of everything happening in Tibet, and who really showed me what happy people there are like.
I was bombarded daily with the standard trips - Everest base camp one, Lake Namtso, eastern explorer, et cetera. The same ads were posted continually by westerners wanting to share land rovers over the thin roads to the Himalayas. Unfortunately, most people told me that EBC was not worth much, and that they only 'did' the trip to be able to tell their family that they had gone to Everest. It was hard to get a straight answer from anyone (especially tour guides and companies) about how one could get from Lhasa out to places like monasteries without it involving large amounts of cash. Then, my wisdom tooth problem compounded, and I figured it should be looked at before I went to Euro currency sporting countries. I booked my way out to Thailand for three weeks of surgery, having been in my dream country for just over a week. Though the timing was horrible, I don't think I could have much more of an experience there aside from spending some time learning the language and working about in a smaller place than Lhasa. Plus, Thais don't start bargaining for a kilo of fruit at seventy yuan (even if they actually used yuan as a currency).
However, I thought I ought to see at least some of the country, and booked a trip out to the highest salt lake in the world - Namsto.