About Me (2)
General Stuff (9)
New York (3)
People I've Met (6)
Preparations and Inspiration (3)
Lurking Around on Travel Sites
In My Own Bed
Pray For It
Seattle and Interesting Uses of Pyrex
Heading to Seattle
Weekend Out of Hippyville
The $330 Trip to the Oregon Country Fair
July 4th, 2004
More Books I've Read
Why Are These People Talking to Me?
There And Back Again
I Wanted To End It All
Summing Up the Gobi
May 09, 2004
Catch Up on Tibet!
Where to begin? I've been out of internet contact for ages and so much has happened. This is going to be difficult.
I guess before I even attempt to write about my last week, I have to say thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. I'm 28 now, and I must say, I do have a good deal more gray hair than when I left home back in August. Le sniff.
But anyway!! So much has been happening. On our last morning in Lhasa, the group met our guide and drivers (we had 2 4WD Landcruisers which were highly necessary) for 9 days. Wongdue was the name of both our guide and my car's driver, so I really couldn't get them mixed up. The other driver, a real character with a sideways baseball hat and prayer beads, was named Tsering.
On our first morning with "the boys" we headed off to the oldest monastery in Tibet, at Samye. We first stopped of at a medieval castle sort of place called Yumbalagang. It placed up on this massive hill and it was a complete bitch hauling ourselves up there. It had some decent views of the surrounding hills but when you were back on the road, it appeared to be a fortress out of Masters of the Universe. Where's the Sorceress???
Along the ride enroute to Samye, we stopped at a local temple but I decided not to go in so I wouldn't get templed out. Instead, a few of us waited outside and we almost got to see a crazy people fight. One little old lady was sitting calming with us talking babble talk (though she did have fangs) when another one came up and started yelling and swinging a stick. Eventually someone scared off the stick lady and I was able to get a photo of the fang lady and a few urchin children whose personal mantras seems to be "give me money".
To get to Samye, we caught a ferry. The river had dozens of small sandbars so the boatman had to manuever through them carefully. There were a family of Tibetan pilgrims sharing the ferry with us and it turned out to be a stare-off between them and us. The father of the family took out his camera to take my photo as I took his. About forty five minutes into the ride there was a massive sandstorm along the banks which had us all, Tibetan and western, hiding in our jackets and coats.
Our first night in Samye was a quiet evening of mahjong, beer, and laughes. Our next day proved a bit more eventful. We visited the famed monastery of Samye in the morning. It really is beautiful. It's main building has gold leaf all over the roof that sparkled in the morning light. We visited what seemed like every last chapel and by lunchtime we needed to do something different. Mark, our fearless leader, suggested a ride to a local nunnery via a tractor.
My ass STILL hurts from the ride. We all sat on the "cushioned" edge of the cart behind the tractor. At first this was no problem and we giggled everytime the guy shifted gears because the tractor made a farting noise. When we started heading uphill, we often had to get out to lighten the load until another flat part of "road." This went on for about an hour and a half, in the cart, out of the cart, change gears, fart noise. When we got to the end of the trail/road there was a ten minute hike to the nunnery. I hung around relaxing and listening to the nuns chant while Ant and some of the others climbed up to some hermitage and met a sassy monk and two nuns. The best part of the whole trip was briefly meeting two young nuns as we were walking back to the tractor. They were SOOOOOO cute with their little shaved heads and massive giggles when I showed them a photo of themselves. I'll have to post it.
The ride back was, well, uncomfortable at best. What it really was was like being spanked by a piece of metal on my ass for two hours because everytime we went over a bump or rock or down a hill, I'd fly up and fall down HARD. It was fun though to see everyone's reactions. The group was just getting downright STUPID towards the end and making comments about the dumbest things. As per usual, we rounded out the night with mahjong to settle our soar asses.
The next morning we met our drivers and continued on only briefly before we had our next adventure. As our jeep was cruising through a small village, two donkeys got away from it's tender and ran out in front of us. There was a large bang and a few frantic villagers gesturing for us to back up because one of the animals was stuck under the car. The driver did and miraculously, both asses walked away without broken legs. One was bleeding and Anne, another of our Intrepid crew, is a vet in Uruguay and therefore hopped out to check its wounds. Our driver held the hoof while Anne cleaned the wound and wrapped it with material.
Even though Anne fixed the donkey up, the driver was still expected to compensate the owner even though it was the woman's fault. After a bit of negotiation, 130 yuan ($16) was settled on. Later we heard that if we had killed it, the cost would have been 500 yuan ($60). As a gesture of appreciation, we pooled together the 130 yuan to give to Wongdue so he wouldn't have to take the financial hit.
While these negotiations were going on, a crowd was forming around the rest of us because the whole village had heard and turned up. One woman grabbed me and pulled me into the crowd of women, pointed at my nosering and giggled. Also she, as per usual, whacked me on the boobs in approval. I think I must be wearing a very flattering shirt because it's always the same one when I get groped. I then whipped out my tattoo, to many comments.
Before we left the village, our Landcruiser had to be mended because it had more damage than the donkeys. The impact had rammed the front panel into the driver's door not allowing it to close. Also, our radiator hoses were cracked, and we lost a headlight and later on in the week the grill. Luckily, the only immediate problem was the door and a shovel was brought out to bend the metal to allow it to open.
It's dinner time here in Kathmandu... I will continue my adventures later or tomorrow if I can stay out of the amazing shopping streets...
Posted by Claudia on May 9, 2004 09:16 AM