I’m writing now from a cramped chair in my hotel in Tsedang, Tibet. My group of five arrived here yesterday following a 3 hour and 45 minute flight from Beijing. I had originally booked myself on a trip to China that included Tibet 18 years ago. That trip was sadly cancelled. Now I am finally here.
After resting at the hotel for a few hours yesterday, we left to visit the Yumbulagang, a small temple atop a steep hill. The original building was said to be the oldest building in Tibet, but that was destroyed and the current building was constructed in the 1980s. One of the difficulties of travel to Tibet is the high altitude and the difficulty it can cause people due to lower oxygen levels. There were horses and yaks (and even a camel) available for those inclinded to pay to ride up, but I walked it without too much difficulty, so hopefully the altitude won’t have a seriously negative effect on me.
Today has been my first full day in Tibet and it was devoted to visting Samye Monastery, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Tibet and the first to be built. Much of the way there was spent traversing a very bumpy unpaved road. We spent some time in the main hall, where the monks in their red outfits were chanting Buddhist prayers. It reminded a lot of what I’ve heard over the years in synagouges.
Late in the afternoon I went out and took a walk down one of the streets of the town looking to photograph things that were not religiously oriented. I think I succeeded in taking a good series of people pictures. The town itself is fairly non-descript, with one shop after another. The population of the town is a mix of Tibetan and Chinese people, and it was nice to see many Tibetan woman wearing the traditional outfit of a long skirt with a pattern apron in front.
Tomorrow we continue further east into a part of Tibet that most tours don’t go to. That’s one of the things I like abouty this particular tour. We also climb over 5,000 feet from Tsedang (11,400 feet high) to a mountain pass that’s at 16,700. From there we drop down, though.