This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shigatse and Tashilumpo

Little country shrine in the midst of a harvest festival

After leaving Lhatse we drove on to Shigatse where we stayed in an ostentatious Chinese hotel with triple bedrooms and a scrumptious Chinese buffet dinner and breakfast. A major confrontation broke out because the tour guide wanted to cancel our trip through the mountains claiming the road was closed.

He took us to the Tashilumpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, which had very expensive shrines to photograph and a long history of intrigue and occupation.

Wikipedia and the following Sydney Morning Herald article of June 2010 give a run down on the political machinations in China concerning the fate of the Panchen Lama.

People from the local village giving offerings

A large group of the assembled partying in the fields

A little Tibetan polydactylic boy with double thumbs

The kids who stopped giving the V sign for friendship

Shigatse centre with Tibetan buildings

A series of images of the alleyways in the Tibetan old town

Ornamented doorways

The main street with street sellers

Market with Chinese love bones

The Tibetan market. Many of the trinkets on sale are reputed to be manufactured in Nepal.

The meat market

More of those terrible noisy polluting Chinese tractors

The Potala is being rebuilt by the Chinese after it was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution
but for purposes distant from its original inception.

Tashilumpo monastery

A panorama

Our guide looking less than happy

Our Tibetan guide had a complex troubled psychological relationship with the whole tour process, often making bad decisions and then getting a lot of flak. I found him en-route having intravenous glucose after one of these episodes, which were also obviously draining on him. For the first third of the trip for example he refused to honour the fact that we had pre-paid for train tickets on to Chengu in China which he was supposed to arrange to delver in Lhasa. LIke the confrontation over being stuck in dorm rooms which he back-pedaled on the second night in he eventually produced the tickets, although I had to phone Nepal and complain to the bucket shop operator to make sure it happened.

He claimed to have had an audience with the Dalai Lama who he said told him to quit smoking and do something good for his country, by guiding tourists and telling them about actual conditions in Tibet, which he did do whenever he felt he was in a situation where we weren't being directly watched by informers, but a lot of the time he was also getting into various confrontations such as trying to call the tour short on the excuse of road works, which certainly were taking place, but didn't need to have the effect he was claiming.

The city from the monastery with burgeoning Chinese high rises dominating the landscape

An ancient flour mill by the side of the highway.

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