Tuesday in Lhasa, continued ... 10/13/15
I don't know why I pictured Lhasa as a small town, because it isn't, having grown to a population of over 200,000 people. But Lhasa is one of those places you dream about, with a spiritual and cultural history that spans more than a thousand years, yet still it seems mysterious and remote.
After lunch on Tuesday, our group popped into the bus to make a brief tour of Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Norbulingka means "Treasure Park" in Tibetan, and the beautiful grounds cover a sizable 89 acres. The palace was built in 1755 and served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas from the 1780's up till the 14th Dalai Lama's exile in 1959. It's located not far from the Potala Palace and was recognized in 2001 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace.
Kalsang Podrang, named after the Seventh Dalai Lama, is a three-story palace with halls for worshipping Buddha, bedrooms, reading rooms and sanctuaries.
Tibetan architecture is unique and fascinating.
I doubt you could find a more compatible, congenial group than ours above. For almost three weeks, we had a great good time together. L-R: Jimmy, me, Mary, Bob, Irwin, Bernice, Sheila, Alice, Richard, Joanne, and Marilyn.
We kept up a fairly fast pace. I thought I'd be doing the right thing by wearing a skirt over my tights (you know, respectful in a sanctuary), but I was told a skirt was inappropriate. Pants or a skirt down to the ankle is the acceptable dress. Okay.
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The next morning (Wednesday, 10/14), after nine hours of perfectly sound sleep, Jimmy and I awoke at 5am, showered, got dressed and went for a look-see around town before breakfast. We donned warm clothes because the temp was only in the 40's. Streetlights were still on when we left our hotel. The two people dressed in orange are workers who use homemade brushes to sweep the streets and walkways. Below is the DeKang Hotel.
As we moseyed along, it seemed like half the population was walking in a clockwise direction on walkways and alleys, most with whirling prayer wheels or telling their beads, and apparently they do this every morning. Unfortunately we were walking counter-clockwise, but managed to stay out of the way. We were, however, conspicuous as you might imagine. Smiles go a long way when you're out of sync. East meets West in the photo above.
When Jimmy and I saw a Samsung store, we stopped in and carried on a comical sign-language conversation with the two cute young people above that managed to go nowhere, since none of us spoke the other's language ... about why my phone (which was supposed to be working) wasn't. This picture was how we left it. Fact is, none of our electronic gadgets worked for the five days we were in China/Tibet. So, we put them all away. No problem.
We were back at the hotel for our buffet breakfast at 8am. At 9:30 we'll board "the bus" for an unforgettable experience. Tomorrow.