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Archive for November, 2006

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YAY! Visa extension

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Oh happy day!

After a few stressful days of is it possible? is it not? Is it way more expensive for Americans?
Will the power be ON in Shigatze for long enough for them to even process it?? Yes, Visa extenstion, lovely happy 10 more days in Tibet. I was thinking the last few days would be my last chang-a mo, last yak soup, last Lhasa beer! Oh no! The visa gods have smiled upon me, and my friend Luis! The plan is to go Sakya, Shegar, Lhatse,Tingri, then to the border. Unfortunately I can’t get off the tourist trail this trip.. But I know I will be back.

For people wanting to know the visa extension was through FIT in Shigatze, 10 days was the most we could get here, but I think in Lhasa you can get a bit longer one. The visa extension was 130 yuan plus 100 yuan FIT fee.. Be aware Americans, they tried to get me to pay 460 Yuan! Yikes! Good thing the lady at PSB was more kind than the FIT people..

More monasteries

More Koras

More chang-a mo

More cold nights

I am doing a big happy dance

Love jessica 

Waiting for the flood

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Samye monastery and the little town that is connected too it is in the middle of nowhere… The bus takes a couple of hours from Lhasa and then about an hour and a half on a bumpy dusty road, passing sand dunes and wide open horizons, mountians on either side and a beautiful river running through the middle of the valley. The once tiny town is rapidly expanding in anticipation of the flood of tourists that will inevitably be coming here in the summer.

The Monastery itself is made to represent a mandala. ( a representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity) I stole that defination..:) The four main chortens were destroyed during the Cultural revolution and the new ones look out of place with their paint so fresh they still look sticky. The surrounding chaples also bear the witness of the Cutural Revolution. The faces of the buddhas are scratched out, many of the religous murals on the walls have been scrubbed clean, but some do remain. I think there were so many of them the soilders got a little bored of their vandalism and stopped.

I end up following a young monk around the monastery, he buys me a felicity scarf from the Dali Lama (smuggled in from India) in a tiny chapel, hidden by a maze of corridors. I buy him some magic rock from a toothless and blind looking monk, I am pretty sure it is magic, or at least more important than any other common rock. Maybe not, but the monk looked impressed at the rock.. I am a complete sucker for magic rocks.

I bid farwell to my monkey friend..(tibetans call monks, monkies awww!) and head to the smoky tea house that is attached to the guesthouse for thermoses of Chang-a-mo, Yak momos and bad chinese gun flicks.

The next day is a day for climbing mountains, the sky is a translucent turquoise and fortified with yet another gallon or so chang-a-mo and yak soup nothing could stop us from reaching the top, nothing except….

As we get half way up the mountain passing carins and prayer flags the valley is unfolding with such massive expance that it is indeed breathtaking as is hiking at this altitude. Ominous clouds start to form from the north with the threat of snow coming our way. Almost at the top, there is no way of stopping and heading down.

Black clouds hover on the mountain tops distorting the peaks close by and with in moments we too are enveloped in a grey swirling mess of snow flakes and wind so ferocious the prayer flags flap in mercy..Luckily there is a little monks mountain top chapel to take refuge in.

Two monks are inside and the warmth of the shelter and the smell of butter lamps is graciously appreciated. For a long time we sit and wait out the storm. The monks continue with their chanting, a low mummur accompined by a bell and a drum. Fresh water and tsampa are offered to Buddha, and I sit in content meditation.

As the storm passes we say goodbye, and head to the top to watch the stop rage over the valley, still snowing slightly we make our way down the mountain. Sliding down the dune with the renewed energy of a little kid, practically running..

Back in the village it is time for chang-a mo with the locals..

please grab my soap box.

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
Happy thanksgiving everyone, or at least every American one. I just hit the eight month mark on my travels a few days ago, and I really haven't missed a thing about my country, (family and friends don't ... [Continue reading this entry]

Round Sera Monastery

Saturday, November 18th, 2006
Sera Monastery , We started out on a little kora to try to sneak into the monastery (70yaun ever time adds up) about 10dollars! Halfway through we meet a group of woman having tea in a shady spot ... [Continue reading this entry]


Friday, November 17th, 2006
Tashi Delek! So what to do in Lhasa? Visit Monastaries, walk in the hills and of course hang out with the Tibetan people, most of whom come from the country to make pilgramageto the holy sites around Lhasa, what a ... [Continue reading this entry]

On top of the World

Sunday, November 12th, 2006
At 11,863 feet Lhasa, is indeed on top of the world. Some people say it is the rooftop and I would have to agree this is the closest to heaven I have ever been. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pictures too….

Friday, November 10th, 2006
Smooches.. enjoy some photos

Gaining Elevation

Friday, November 10th, 2006
Namaste! The last week here in Kathmandu has been pretty heavy to say the least. Alot of firsts, and very high times. No people not "that" kind of high times. The kind of high that you ... [Continue reading this entry]