Saturday, November 12, 2005


..everyone speaks Swedish. I go from struggling to understand what people are saying , to struggling to understand what they are doing.

Along the way :
arrriving latish in Delhi. Traffic clogged on the way to Manju ka Tilla. The taxi radio endlessly blaring "control calling". Control orders, pleads, cajoles.. seemingly to no effect. A guy called Prakash as a message waiting ; in the end I also start to get miffed at him.

In Munich , the safety inspector has started to smile even before I come up to the X-ray machine. Passing thru her mahine and hands, the basic unassorted stuff of my trip :
*heavy walking boots
*khataks - offering scarfes
*guide book and map in a Tibetan silk slip case
*tsa tsa-amulets

..she can´t hold back her laughter.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sorry, no way.

not exactly the response I was going for when turning over my passport at the border post in Zhangmu. The group splitted in Lhasa , the tour group visa original was supposed to be at the border... no .
After being shuffled around for an hour , there is response from the agency in Lhasa : "oh , the visa , we left it (hold on to your hats ) in the chai shop" .
The Chinese guards almost smile when we leave.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Vanishing act

Arrival in Shigatse.I go out for lunch ,and wind upin a small zakhang on the street leadingdown from Tashilunpo monastery. The more or less standard panoramic shot of Lhasa is pointed out to me and I go yes , Kyi Chu , Tsuglhakhang (Jokhang to the westerners) and Sera .. making a quiet inner note to my self : yes that , would be Drapchi,the infamous political prison in between. We find Ganden together .
The daughter in the family sits down and takes my hand , strokes the back ofmy hand and puts her hand next to it: loook...
After a bit of struggling, using the name for the Lhasa river ,I manage to come up with a new phrase : kyipa du ,I am happy.
We watch a VCD (on the TV covered with a khatak) from Lhabrang Monastery in Amdo , with stuning scenery and even more stunning butter statues. Leaving I get ten Yuan change back for my 15 Yuan meal on a twenty.. and small gifts.
Morning kora next day: long line of locals , Khampas and Amdowas walking ,praying, stoking the sang burners, sitting queitly in more or less organised meditation.Walking with camera in my left hand , keeping the right one free for the prayer wheels. At one point one woman turns around with a wordless question as I am taking some photographs.. and turns around to enthusiasm as she gets to see the pictures.
Inside the monastery there is a lotof pictures of the 9th Panchen Lama ( the most popular on the streets is with him sitting on a horse in frontof Tashilunpo, with a white touris bus in the background) some of the 8th... and a bare minimum of the Chinese -installed 10th, always with a conspicous absence ofofferings. Soft resistance.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Off again ...

the jeeps making an endless trail of dust in the early sunlight , meeting the blue smoke from the incense burners and the backlit prayer flags. A couple of klicks from Yamdrok Tso we hit the tarmac again : a surreal feeling of floating. Close to two hours following the circular lake : golden yellow marshes by the rim, an impossibly deep turqoise color and on the other side russet browns , violet .. topped by the white cone of Nechen Kang, around seven thousand meters.
Over Kamba La , the last 5000 + pass.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In Gyantse

...just now , but unable to see my blog from here. Will post more when I know it actually lands somewhere...