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Lhasa, China


Lhasa, Tibet-Early Morning

As the first rays of the morning sun shined down on me I was in mid-sun-salutation, greeting the beautiful day. I cannot believe that when I breathe in the crisp, cool air that I am in the motherland of Tibetan Buddhism, I am in the former seat of the Tibetan holy government, I am on the ground that masters such as Milarepa and Padmasambhava once walked on...

I refuse to consider this beautiful place that I am in part of a communist regime. It makes me chuckle to think that most of the world would answer 'China' when asked where Lhasa is located. It is true that a high percentage of citizens now living in Lhasa are Chinese, but this is only because the communist government has imported them into the country in order to destroy the beautiful culture of the TIbetan people. When you look around at the shops, they are in the style of modern Chinese architecture, the signs in Mandarin or Cantonese, the prayer flags are nothing more than pieces of cloth with Communist propoganda written on them, and the people live in fear that their Dalai Lama pictures that they've glued to the undersides of their kitchen tables might be discovered, landing them in prison or a gallows. Those seen openly practicing their faiths are chastised by police gaurds and only small, hidden alters with no statues or tankas can be seen in the farthest corners of homes and monestaries. I know that the rest of the country is not like this. I know that many of the borderlands are freer and many monestaries practice as they wish, much of the culture their remains unnaffected, but I am still saddened to see the seat of the His Great Holiness usurped by a dim sum restaurant. Not that I'm opposed to dim sum, I enjoyed it very much in the Phillipines. I know that the laypeople here mean well and that they are just doing as their government has encouraged (or forced them to), and I respect all of the Chinese citizens who gave up their country in order to escape Communism.

Even after all of this, there is still an atmosphere of unseen magic in the air here, as if Shangri-la were only over that mountain, in some snow-enclosed valley, where all of the great masters practice and pray and chant and do prostrations, hoping to help us evolve.

NOTE: This website would not allow me to list the country's proper name of TIBET. It insisted that Lhasa was a part of China, which it is not. Any intelligent person would refuse to consider it a part of something it is not.

permalink written by  vajra_guru_pedma_tron_tren_sal on December 5, 2007 from Lhasa, China
from the travel blog: Tibet, a Land of Mystery
tagged Lhasa, Tibet and DimSum

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Five on a bus

Lijiang, China


Palled [pal-ed?] up with a gang of other solo travelers to bus to Bai Xia, rent bikes and explore the villages & remote temples. Once in Bai Xia, a quaint little village with many shops selling Chinese handicrafts and antiques [making me feel like I was in Beijing at the Dirt Market] we hunted for a bike rental. Despite assurances back in Lijiang that there were such establishments, there were no bikes for let to be found. Now what? We had endured standing room only on a very tightly backed bus for a trip several villages outside Lijiang. Hike? Just one sight was 8 kilometers out so we would only have time to see one thing. Rent a mini [as in smart car size] van for half the day seemed the best solution. We tried. The hostess at a cafe tried. No mini vans for hire. Now what? We decided to take the bus to the last stop and walk 2 kilometers to a 'sight'; I'm not sure if it was going to a temple or village. But, travel such as we do rarely goes entirely as planned: we met a senior citizen on the bus that was Naxi minority from Lijiang but currently living in the US. He showed us his Missouri Drivers License. He told us that he was going to see a temple with great views. We tagged along with him. He hardly spoke any English but all but one of our five solos turned group could speak Chinese to varying degrees. The bonus was he sort of knew where he was going and could speak the local Naxi when directions were needed. The first temple was nice, free to enter, small and gave me several good pictures. The second involved slogging up a hill & through some woods only to find out there was an exorbitant entrance fee of $17. We took pictures of the outside with its Tibet style banners and hiked on to a near by lake. Only the lake was not so near by. A second[third] attempt to hire a vehicle also proved futile and we walked back to the bus stop. This time we actually got seats. Well, three of us did. Back to Lijiang for dinner. Not the most effective touring day but pleasant none the less.

permalink written by  prrrrl on March 4, 2012 from Lijiang, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Bus, Tibet, Rent, Bikes, Fee, Minivan, Pals and BaiXia

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