we woke up at 5 am Christmas morning to catch the flight from chengdu to lhasa. i was little out of it, but all went well. i cant describe to you the terrain we flew over other than to say that its rugged, big and burly. we were both glued to our windows. we landed 2 hours after taking off and got on a bus to lhasa, which is 60 miles from the airport. after doing so much research on this town, seeing so many photos and just thinking about what it would be like, finally seeing it and being here are nothing less than surreal. really, its most prominent features - the places and people that make it what it is- are no longer pixels on the page of a guidebook to me. i feel like im in a movie. i know ive said that before about other places, but this movie is an academy award winner.
the altitude will take some getting used to here. at 13,000 feet, lhasa is one of the worlds highest capitals. ive had a headache most of the day, and get winded at the slightest bit of effort. ive been caught by sally with my mouth hanging open mid-chew to get a breath. we laugh at how wimpy we both are, struggling to climb a flight of stairs. the air is thin and i can feel the difference. in a way it feels nice, though, clean and cool. the idea is that we'll get stronger and, as a result, be able to explore more as the days go by. there are alot of things that interest me here, so i have alot of update ideas. im not feeling up to par now and i think this post may relfect that. but i just had a yak pepper steak with all the fixins that did me right. that, along with some deep tibetan plateau sleep should help me bounce back. when does any kind of steak not help you bounce back? the hotel we're staying in doesnt have heat, which is a bummer since it'll get to about 15 degrees tonite. we have blankets, but that doesnt offer much comfort when you see that everyone else in the room has a sleeping bag in addition to a blanket.
the very moment i write this, kids all over the states are flipping out under the tree. that includes you, im sure. but there is not much presence of christmas here in the land of buddha. we do hear the occasional "merry christmas!" from a tibetan looking to practice his english. other than that, lhasa seems to differ from other parts of china where the christmas spirit is in full force. some of you may think it sad, but im not sad at all. i miss my family alot, but im more than content to be where i am.