Lasa Shi, China
We started our day at 10.00 pm, There is no way this Lhasa hotel is 4 stars, no one speaks English. Other than a mediocre buffet breakfast there are NO restaurants in the hotel with an English menu. The altitude is getting to me. At 12,000 feet in altitude my head feels so congested. It’s so dry that my sinuses hurt. So I bought this big hat to cover my head as the sun is incredibly intense at this altitude. On the way to the palace there are many women getting together and praying together. In the next park there are quite a few Tibetans, exercising together. Women wear the traditional Tibetan clothing which consists of robes, long sleeve shirts and brightly decorated aprons, most women wear hats. You see all age group praying out loud in the street, some crouching down to the floor, sliding their hands on small wooden planks, extending their bodies completely , getting up again, starting the process and saying the prayers out loud, as if there in their own world! It’s truly fascinating! 90% of the Tibet population is Buddhist, they pray a lot and do not drink. There are of course monks everywhere! I find the people, so sweet and kind, even though we don’t understand each other much. Some of us were definitely afflicted by the altitude sickness, we climb a ton of stairs, 432 steps to be precise, to get to the palace…..very slowly. But it’s an important day as we are visiting the Potola palace. The older brown building was built in the 8th century by the 5th Dalai Lama and eventually in the 15th century it was expanded so as to include the much larger white building with the very colorful awnings. Then it was converted to government offices which occupied most building but also 500 monks lived there and educated young monks. Today only 80 monks live in the palace. This building was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. They burn strong incense everywhere and they have these huge candle receptacles made out of Yack butter in dark rooms and you see the monks replenishing the butter. It is a UNESCO master piece, which today is only a museum. This building is the epitome of the photos you see when there is a Tibet photo.. it’s built on top of what’s called “red hill” and it’s the highest ancient palace in the world! The chapel of the Dalia Lamas tombs is interesting with the stupas containing tombs with the remains of the 5th, the. 10th and the 12th Dalia Lama remains; Lots of precious stones and gold on the stuphas. Fro lunch we went to the old part of Lhasa at the snow land restaurant. The food was excellent. I started to get more sick and tired, I just wanted to sleep everywhere, but this area is worth visiting as the street are walking streets and the old quarter is historical. In the afternoon, we visited the Jokhang palace within walking distance of the restaurant.. it was built in the 7th century and is exquisite. It was enlarged several time up until the 7th century. Tons of gold everywhere including the rooftop. Kat and I tried to find a restaurant in the hotel, but the one restaurant’s menu was only in Tibetan language and no waiter could translate it for us. For dinner I didn’t have anything, since we ate late I went to bed early. Kat and dome others went to see a lite show in town .