Randal and I arrived in Lhasa about 7pm on June 19th. We left the train station and were met by our local Lhasa guide Lobsang Tenzing. Randal and I were able to walk from the station to the waiting van without much trouble though walking and talking took a lot of breath. The altitude does make a difference and takes getting used to. The evenings are warm and sunny. It stays light until almost 9pm and Randal and I have taken to afternoon rests and evening walks with a later dinner. We have done some exploring with Lobsang and also some on our own though we always seem to get somewhat lost in the warren or alleyways and lanes in the old part of Lhasa which is within walking distance of our hotel. There are two Mandala Hotels and yesteday evening we were led astray by some of the omnipresent Chinese police when they directed us to the wrong Hotel Mandala. But eventually we recoginzed the landmarks down the road from our Hotel Mandala and stopped at our regular noodle spot for dinner. They don’t speak English but really try to help us and took me back into the kitchen to find vegetables. We’ve eaten there every night. And evey night it has been really good with wonderful spices and flavors.
Randal and I do well enough during the day but both of us have problems sleeping. Randal can’t catch his breath. My nose and throat are so dry from the altitude and the dry air that I get headaches and swallowing is painfull. I wish I’d brought some Oceanspray nose spray and some Vicks. There are pharmacies here but so far none with English speaking staff or western medicines. But each day is better. I almost slept through the night last night. The first two nights I had to keep getting up to take hot showers to ease my sinus pains. Thankfully it worked and the hot water was plentiful. The good news is that if you hand wash anything, it dries in no time. But the hotel laundry will do the big stuff: I’m not!
I know little about Tibet or Buddism, but am learning. And the women in their traditional Tibetan dress are so lovely and interesting. I have been sort of sneaking photos but eventually will ask someone to pose. Our guide Lobsang says Lhasa has changed greatly in the past 20 years. We don’t spend much time talking politics. He just tells us the history and not to point my camera at the Chinese soldiers. I did inadvertently include some soldiers in a photo of some Yak dung burning stoves and one soldier came to wave me away. I pointed to the stoves and he nodded ok and let me take more photos so it was really not a big deal.
I am learning to use the photo program on our mini-computer so hopefully will be able to send some Lhasa photos soon. I have certainly taken lots.
So that’s it.
Keep going Sox!
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Ruth and Randal
Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.