Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
23Trip End Jan 2008
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It took 48 looong hours on a train to get here, but finally we are in Tibet. We were in the same compartment with a very cool Aussie couple (Hugh and Kim) who we had previously met at the guesthouse in Beijing and helped to get the Permit to Tibet, another coincidence... The top beds took some very complicated acrobatic moves to get into to! Next time we're getting bottom bunks. (The ticket cost 1200 Yuan for a soft sleeper, top bunk)
Despite a head-splitting headache and a couple of sleepless nights, I couldn't be happier to be in this sacred city on the roof of the world.
The altitude really makes it difficult to enjoy this amazing, spiritual place. After 10 steps I am panting and if I climb more than 10 steps my head begins pounding. But maybe all of this "suffering" is just part of the experience.
On Wednesday me and Marina got a room upgrade, from a freezing 5-bed dorm to a lovely Japanese style twin room: excellent! And for the same ridicolous price of 30 Yuan per night (approx. 3 euros). We were especially happy because we didn't sleep well at all due to the cold and noise.
While walking around we could hear some loud voices with sounds of clapping. We practically ran to the courtyard to see what was going on and we witnessed the monks practising the morning's lessons. They were all spread around the courtyard, some sitting and some standing. The standing monk would ask the sitting monk a question, accompanying it with what I can only describe as a kung-fu move. He would then clap his hands in different ways if the answer was wrong or right. I stood there watching them amazed. It was really quite a sight.
While walking around we would often take pictures of people (as you can see). Sometimes they would ask us to take their picture and whenever we asked permission we got some very happy faces in reply. You can't help but love this people and feel warmth towards them.
I must conclude that the Tibet Permit was not necesary, but I guess just a way of controlling foreigners' access to this autonomous region. I don't know if I would have come without it, but nobody has ever asked to see it.
We leave tomorrow for Chengdu. We decided to skip the 48-hour rain ride this time and booked an Air China flight (for the same price, but it takes 2 hours. It wasn't a hard decision).
That's it from Tibet. It's been amazing.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish my cousin Arianna a happy birthday!TVTTTTTTTB. I hope you like the little present I got you, you will have it in February ;o)