Lhasa! Day 24 – 30 (Elevation 3650M / 12000FT)
October 15, 2010, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This trip has brought me back to Lhasa for the first time in over 6 years and I was way overdue. My friends’ children have grown into tall, highly fashionable adults, the streets are less pokey and more flashy, and the city limits have expanded in every direction. It was overwhelming at first. I cried a lot. But then I settled into it and enjoyed reunion after reunion. 

But before the reunion tour of the city began in earnest, I got to revisit a lot of my favorite landmarks and holy sites with my most excellent group.  The magnificent Potala Palace is always a highlight:

They’ve instituted a wild new rule though: we had only one hour to do the whole circuit around the palace. And they warned that if we overstayed by one minute we’d need to pay 1000 Yuan, and for two minutes 2000, and so on. So we made sure not to drag our feet.

The mountain on which the palace is situated was first used as the meditation retreat of Songtsen Gampo, the first Buddhist king of Tibet, in the mid 7th century. It was the great 5th Dalai Lama that started construction of the Potala in 1645. Below is the entrance to the White Palace, which houses the living quarters of the DLs:

Also outside the White Palace. I like anything with clouds:

Random tourists vying for a photo opp with the big city below:

The Potala was the winter abode of the DL, and a beautiful spot called the Norbulinka was his summer residence. It was his favorite. We spent a warm afternoon exploring the latter on the group’s last day in Lhasa. We then had a little goodbye picnic just outside the summer palace grounds:

Tim & Daniel:

The lovely Chloe:

Mike chillaxing:

Craig & Paul:

And some crazy that crashed our picnic:

(nah, that’s just Pat)

After 5 days in Lhasa, and a wonder-filled month together, the group head back to New Zealand. It was strange and sad to suddenly be without them. The next posts will detail some of the mischief I got into on my own (well the G-rated stuff at least)…

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