Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tibetan countryside: Heading to Souvenier Shop

Now that we had our lunch and are out of Yangpachen, the next destination was a souvenier store. I may have crossed similar-looking countryside but they continue to fascinate me as I snapped away. The fluffy clouds were under the wonderful, blue sky. The mountains were standing tall over lush green plants and there is the occasional bright yellow rape seed fields. It was amazing to have the whole scene replayed for me in the days to come. I am in love with Tibet. I am in love with their simplicity. I love watching them going about their daily life. It is hard, it is harsh but I felt their faith and their happiness. It is pure, simple and true. And, they looked untouchable and unmoved by the world. Something tells me that I can truly belong here. People sit anywhere they like and it's part of life. Someone once said to me that only beggars sit on the streets and I was taken aback by the statement. I sit on the street!

As we go past these mountains, I figured they each must have a story to tell just like the famous ones. It could be a story of the famous Wencheng princess, or about a milkmaid or about a farmer. Tibetan folklore is interesting, as you read them in their history. This place is full of mysteries and magical aura. I can feel it! Sometimes, I get goosebumps from looking at my photos of Tibet. This place truly touches me.

My camera was taken away when I was at one of the police post. I was taking pictures of the police post as well as the other things from the coach. The policeman must have felt wary when he saw me holding my camera and making notes in the coach. He had the tour guide asked for my camera. I surrendered my camera which got taken to the police post for inspection. Fortunately, they returned my camera with the picture of the police post deleted. Phew!! Other than my passport, my camera is the next most important thing! They can take everything from me except these two.

Throughout our trip, I made notes and drew pictures for easy reference of the places we visited. Tibet being so enchanting made all these very inspiring for me. Sometimes, I do wonder if I allowed myself to be too easily amazed.

The souvenier store does not allow photography despite my request. They sell precious stones such as Tian Zhu which I got one tied around my neck with a green string. Mum and sis got me an onyx bracelet for my birthday because I have this affinity for black stones. I also got a painting as big as myself and it is of a Tibetan lady in the mountains collecting firewood and she has a yak beside her. We managed to get on average a discount of 50% of the items we bought. I was trying to look for a book on the sixth Dalai Lama because I would like to read about the translated versions of the poems he wrote. I couldn't find it and bought two books; one on Tibetan tourism and the other on history instead.

I was surfing on Tibet and I found this photo gallery by Alister Benn & Juanli Sun with amazing photos of Tibet.

A windy path leading into the mountains where a village is located

A small dam

Wire gauze to keep the big boulders from falling on the road

More prayer flags by the roadside and a drawing of a protector on the stone

Wouldn't it be nice to just walk alone here and try to enjoy the breeze as you take the world in. Try to fathom this beautiful yet crazy world or lie down and look at the sky, talk to God for a bit.

A lone house

Vastness tempts me to spread my arms

Farmers sitting in a circle having lunch together.

Another group of farmers seated in a circle having lunch. It's like they have picnics everyday. They look so happy.

Drawing of another protector

Tibetans sitting outside their tents. Some Tibetans live in castle-like houses while others in tents.

This always blows me away

Tractors parked by the houses

Farm by the house

See the pile of stones standing? Tibetan pile up the stones to make a prayer. It is kind of like an altar. I found this interesting site on Tibetans and stones. They consider stones and rocks holy, which brings me to another reason why I love the Tibetan culture. They are one with nature. It is part of their religion. Just reminded me of the children stories I used to read about the native American Indians.

Returning home from a hard day's work

Daddy, mummy and baby out in the farm

Stripes on the mountain slopes

This was one of the photos I took near the police post. The building on the left is the police station. Check out the truck carrying Tibetan furnitures.

Wall and mould of dried cow manure. They are first made into a disk then piled accordingly.

We passed by a school!

The poultry look like ants

Ahhh.. reminds me of UK countryside.. Tiny white specks of sheeps

A reddish mountain

Just a big boulder by the roadside shadowing us

A herder hurling stone at yak

Farmers relaxing

Caves are holy places. Past kings and monks retreated into caves for meditation. Some Tibetans used to live in the caves. There used to be more wild animals staying in the caves but with the roads built, the animals may have moved further away. There's a faded drawing of a protector by the side of the crevices on top of the cave.

Children squating by the school gate

A tiny building attached to prayer flags

Ruins and a drawing of a protector on the top right corner

Drawing of a protector with prayer flags dangling around it. A smaller protector drawing at the bottom right

Workers splashing water on to the floor

Just barely caught a shot of two men playing snooker

Crafted designs on cement blocks

The Tibet museum is located in Lhasa. When we arrived, its gates were closed and the guard refused us entry which somehow led to a heated argument between our Tibetan tour guide and the guards. We were blocking the road and they wouldn't open the gate. After much talking and shouting, the gate finally opened. It turned out that we weren't visiting the museum but the souvenier shop which shares the same building as the museum and has an entrance at the other side.

The entrance of the Tibet Museum which we did not visit.

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