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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Lhasa, Tibet, China

Oct 15, 2017 - Part 1: Namaste

For a moment I considered naming this entry "War and Peace" because of the juxtaposition between the peaceful Buddhists visiting the Jokhang Temple and the menacing Chinese military marching around the temple in formation with submachine guns and shields, SWAT written on the back of your jackets. Security is high everywhere we go, party due to the government, and partly due to the 19th Party Congress that will meet October 18. We go through multiple security screenings to get into a site, including of our bags going onto conveyer belts to...

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Trip Journal


China and Tibet 2017

Oct 14, 2017 - Debate Club in Lhasa

In the afternoon we visited the Sera Monastery in Lhasa. Our first stop was to see the Mandalas that had been made by the monks. Monks spend days creating mandalas of colored sand that are swept away on completion to signify the transient nature of life. We saw three that were under glass in a crowded storeroom that stunk of yack butter. But they were beautiful. We then walked up to the Debating courtyard where there is an open-air courtyard. The monks assemble here for debates of philosophy and Buddhist teachings. Their ritualized...

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China and Tibet 2017

Oct 14, 2017 - Closer to Heaven

We climbed the 200 steps to the top of Potala Palace Saturday morning. It is built on Lhasa's highest point and is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet. I thought I heard our local guide tell us that the climb was 300 ft and didn't think about it, even when my heart rate got to 90% of max capacity several times while ascending the uneven height steps. Then, I read in the guidebook that the climb is 300 meters, nearly 1,000 feet (!) so I better understood why I needed to stop along the way for my heart rate to come down. I'm proud to...

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Trip Journal


China and Tibet 2017

Oct 13, 2017 - In Shangri-La with Spurious Steps

Yes, we've arrived at the Shangri-La Hotel after 10 hours of travel today. We continued our tradition of sitting *just* behind First Class. The Himalayas were a sight to behold as we flew right between them on our approach to Lhasa. When we arrived at the Lhasa airport I had about 5,500 steps, 12 flights of stairs, and 28 active minutes on my Fitbit Blaze. Between being at 11,200 feet where my heart rate at rest was about 102 after walking through the airport to baggage claim, and sitting in the back of the bus for the hour drive to the...

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Trip Journal


China and Tibet 2017

Sep 14, 2015 - We made it to Lhasa!

No picture can ever do the Potala Palace justice. Admittedly, after eight full days of driving through mud and over crumbling roads, camping at altitude in all kinds of weather, shivering with all my clothes on at night, and and struggling to catch my breath when doing any kind of activity, I was desperate for just a tiny glimpse. But I must admit, even after all the impressive buildings I have seen all over the world, I truly think the Potala is the most impressive. The Potala was built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th...

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Apr 7, 2015 - Monks

This morning we went to the Drepung Monastery. Aafter going through security there was an elderly ethnic lady that asked the guide if we would give her a ride up the hill. We of course agreed to do it. This is the largest and richest monastery in Tibet. It was founded in 1416 by Tsong Khapa under the patronage of the noble family and enlarged by the 5th Dalai Lama. Drepung means rice heap. It covers a floor space of 200 thousand square meters. It was an eduction center which housed 10,000 monks at one time, now there are about 400. We...

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Apr 6, 2015 - Lhasa

Tibet has a population of about 5 million. Tibet is the capital and the largest city with a population of 400,000. Lhasa means Holy Land or Buddha Land. It is located in the south central region on the north bank of the Lhasa River, surrounded by mountains. It was settled over 1,300 years ago and covers over 11,583 square miles and is at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet. Our guide lives in the city for 4 months to work as a tour guide. The rest of the year she lives a nomadic life with her family. They raise sheep and yak. In the summer...

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Apr 5, 2015 - The Roof of the World

Up early for the plane to Tibet. FreeIng cold n the airport. I've got 4 layers plus gloves on! On the plane and again flight delay due to Air Traffic Control! The Chinese lady next to me said it was probably military related! You know it's going to be awhile when they serve snacks and beverages before you take off! At least we have a direct flight! Had to show passports and Tibet permit when we arrived. Met by our guide, Guo Guo (pronounced Go Go), or we can call her by her English name, Amy.mshe gave us Each a khala, a white, long silk...

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May 31, 2014 - Day 2 Khamba La pass

Sat 31 May Day 2 75ks. Over 20k hill Ride time 5hr 30, Rode over Khamba La pass. Steady climb from 3600m to 4794m over 20k. Sun blazing. Temperature 13degc first thing but soon warmed up to 30s. The climb was steady gearing at 1-2 or 1-3 with no flat ground. Multiple switchbacks. Views awesome , stopped every few kms for photos and to get our breath back, Nickie is feeling strong and powers ahead. The altitude hasn’t affected us like some of the others, as we get higher the views just get better and better. Coca Cola vendor on the hill, and...

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May 30, 2014 - Lhasa to Camp 1

Friday 30 May Lhasa to camp Day 1 85ks 4hrs 10 ride time. Departed hotel 9:15. Light drizzle. 4 lane streets, some with cycle paths for about 8kms to the industrial centre. Group stopped outside the Potala Palace and we were moved on by the police. High police presence, 3 check points for vehicles, but we rode through. Armoured trucks with teargas cannons, armed guards in the city streets. Mixed bunch of riders, about 6 guys and 1 lady , Julia who are super athletes, iron eventers and marathoners, 2 young Danes, then our group of 5, Maria...

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Apr 20, 2014 - Miraculous you call it babe….

You ain’t seen nothing yet They got Pepsi in the Andes They got McDonalds in Tibet…. Well, actually they have the Chinese equivalent of McDonalds - Dico’s. Which for all intents and purposes is the same same. It’s all plastic and fast food. Tibet is China no matter how you see it. It is totally modern with new roads, stores, a mall, and fast food. We took a flight from Xi’an to Lhasa which is the second largest city on the Tibetan Plateau and the administrative capital of the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). Lhasa is also one of the highest...

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Apr 14, 2014 - Day Lhasa

Monday14th April It was a 9:00am start again today, however I went down to breakfast at 7:15, hoping to do some emails etc as wifi is only available in the public areas. A group of four of us did the Age crossword at breakfast before it was time to head to the Summer Palace of the Dali Lama, which for some strange reason is only a few kilometres away from the main residence, Potala Palace. For me this palace was much more pleasant, only two levels and set in large gardens. This building was completed in the 1950's and is well preserved with...

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