21 Jun 2010 @ 11:01 PM 

click here to view the pictures for this blog entry!

we are finally back to having some internet and are able to update with more of our adventures! we are currently in lhasa and are about to start a trip to everest base camp tomorrow. so here is a collection of our past adventures:

we left off somewhere in chengdu. the day that we were there, we went to the panda research base to go look at the most unadapted creature ever. despite being very bad at life, the pandas are amazingly cute creatures, and i freaked out many times during the trip at the park. i actually really want to take one home and nuture it like i would my own baby.

in any case, there were also red pandas, which robin was obsessed with since they are redheaded like her. we heard that you can take pictures with red pandas, but for some reason, that day they weren’t letting people take pictures with them, which was kinda sad. so we left the panda base slightly disappointed.

when trying to find our way back to downtown chengdu, taxis were offering double the price of a ride to downtown to take us down there. we basically told them to eat garbage until they finally brought the price down to what it should be. and then we went back to our hostel and got ready to get on our train ride to tibet.

the ride from chengdu to lhasa is 43 hours long. right before boarding the train, i had a diarrheal explosion and i went into the train station bathroom looking for something that resembled a western toilet. sadly, the western toilet looked like it had been bombed, and the only other option was a long trough that eight other people were pooping in. so, i just sucked in all my pride and joined them.

we boarded the train at about 9 PM and pretty much went to bed shortly after. the next morning a baby pooped in our train car. see, in china, they don’t use diapers for their babies. babies just have slits in their pants so they can poop everywhere. so i guess trains are no different. surprisingly, it didn’t really smell bad, so it was more humor than anything.

the train ride went pretty smoothly. even though it was long, it wasn’t totally terrible. they played the kenny g version of my heart will go on over and over and i was known to sing it quite loudly during parts of the trip. the scenery was pretty aweswome, from huge mountains to plains of yaks and sheep. we also got a little altitude sickness since the train reached an altitude of 5000 m (16400 ft). it wasn’t really hard to breathe, but we both got really huge headaches. by the time we reached lhasa (12000 ft), our headaches had subsided a little bit, but they were still prevalent enough.

we were greeted in tibet by our guide and driver. to travel in tibet, you must be part of an organized tour group and have a paid guide. we split the costs of our tibet trip with two canadians that i found online. we hadn’t met them yet and we were on our way to the hostel to meet them.

the person who organized our trip was a man named pazu kong who owns a cafe in lhasa, so we went to his cafe to meet him. he gave us a couple of lemonades and we chatted with him while he showed us a bunch of magic tricks. soon after, we met our trip partners, gabriel and sabrina, and the four of us went an indian restaurant for dinner.

the four of us seemed to get along very nicely and since they were from vancouver, we all had something to talk about. the next day, which was our first full day in lhasa, we went to the jokhang temple and sera monastery, which were both full of tibetan culture and very interesting. we all kinda had the altitude headaches, but starting to slowly get over it. sabrina felt a little sick that night, so me, robin and gabriel went to spinn cafe to hang out and play canasta and chill with pazu for a while.

the next day, we visited the potala palace. there was a ton of security around the place since it is like the crown jewel of tibet. all around tibet, there are chinese military people holding shotguns since tibet is under a constant state of a maybe-riot, and china needs to make sure they have tibet under control. and the potala palace had so much military everywhere that it is almost sickening. some tried to disguise themselves by dressing in a variety of pilfered tibetian authority-type uniforms, so there were actually probably twice as many as we saw.

but military aside, the potala palace is incredible. you have to hike up 500 steps to get to the main chambers, and in lhasa’s altitude, it’s ridiculous difficult to do the hike. the potala palace has 1000 steps, 1000 rooms, and 1000 windows and it is probably the most pretty building that i have seen. i have to say that i was a little sad when they showed the throne of the dalai lama and knowing that he will never sit there again. they showed us the room he used to stay in, and most of his belongings were still there, including the clock that brad pitt’s character in seven years in tibet gave him.

across the street from the potala palace is a large square with a huge flagpole with the chinese flag. also in the square is a large phallic pillar with the chinese stars, which probably symbolizes china using its muscle to conquer tibet. after being here for a couple of days, you hear from so many people about all the things that were destroyed during the cultural revolution, and even some people slyly express that tibet and china are different countries. it is sad that in our lifetime, we will not see a free tibet. and it is pretty dumb that it has to follow under the idiocy of mao zedong (he also has an ugly mole).

china might kill me for those comments! hopefully they aren’t reading this right now! if this blog is never updated again, please contact the embassy. that is all.

What is the second tallest mountain on Earth?


Posted By: Sunil
Last Edit: 11 Jul 2010 @ 07:27 AM

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