After sleeping long and good we all had a breakfast together before leaving Jung-Wook and Sakura to their destinies. They would wait for the bus that would arrive “between 12 and 13” towards the Nepali border. I found that I’d left one of my favorite thirst-quencher, Nutri-Express Apple, in the car and not surprisingly I now had some ice cream / milky thing instead.
The plan was to drive to Shigatse and spend a day there instead of driving all the way back to Lhasa, said and done. Yang deviously made the remaining trio plus the driver to sing songs on the way. After some initial excuses I was the last and gave in by singing the Swedish national anthem in a way that would anger anyone the least nationalistic. Well, it was a nice variation to the tibetan version of euro-disco that our lovely driver played when not suddenly bursting out into tibetan traditional songs without prior warnings.
In Shigatse we visited the Tashilhunpo Monastery which house the Panchen Lamas (although I guess they’ve hidden the 13-year old boy somewhere more secure). The Panchen Lamas are approved by the Chinese government (in contrast to the Dalai Lamas) and is sort of the political centre of western Tibet.
The monastery had a hefty 7.5 € fee for taking pictures inside chapels so I will only with words describe the 26 meter high gilded statue of the future Buddha, Jampa, in one of the chapels. It apparently took 900 artisans some four years to finish in 1914 and each of the fingers are more than a meter long. It saddens me to see such a poor population prefer to pour more than 300 kg of gold and additional precious stones on a religious statue instead of investing in their own future in this world. I get the same feeling when I see young people indoctrinated to a religious belief performing rituals instead of learning about the world we live in.I think I’m getting the hang of monasteries now, although beautiful to look at and often very impressive (specially when taking into account when they were built) I think I’ve had about my fair share for some time.
When back at the hostel going through my packing I found a bag full of foam, I guess that either the low pressure at the Base Camp or that something had pressed against my shaving foam can. The effect was still that I threw everything in the plastic bag (mostly soap and stuff stolen from hostels) except my hair-gooey and the charger for my trimmer. Well well, less stuff to carry I guess. After a not-warm-not-cold shower Yoon-Ki and I decided to stroll down to downtown.
Not being in a particular hurry or really caring where we went, it was dark when we got to downtown after more or less walking around the whole city. Shigatse is Tibet’s second largest city and shared several features with Lhasa such as vendors, occasional beggars and brand stores. Yoon-ki bought a cake consisting of whipped cream and garnished to look like a cute pink pig. Well back at the hotel he convinced Yang and me to share the monstrosity, together we managed to eat about half of it.
Going to bed early with an ample stock of blankets I quickly fell asleep.
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