Potala Palace and bargaining

22 04 2010

In the morning I went up to the roof of the hostel and had a great view of the Potala Palace. A different guide met us as the first guide was sick. We walked to Potala Palace – red and white buildings where the Dalai Lamas lived, studied and are entombed in giant golden stupas. The guide was able to talk about the first 13 Dalai Lamas, but couldn’t comment on the current one, the 14th. We went up about 1000 stairs to get to the Palace, which is the highest point in Lhasa at about 3800m.

We took a tricycle to Holy Land Vegetarian Restaurant for lunch – there was a large English menu but the food was a little bland with chili being the only flavour. From there we walked through Bakhor and the shopping streets to Jokhang Temple. We didn’t go inside, but watched the people praying prostrate outside the temple.

After a little rest – the Sun was hot and dry- the guide took us to the Tibetan Museum. She wasn’t allowed inside, as it contains the history of Tibet from the Chinese perspective e.g. Tibet gave China presents, so this means Tibet is part of China. Tibetan has an interesting sanscript-style writing that they took from India, along with Buddhism.

For dinner we went to The Nomad Cafe – it was listed on HappyCow as International, Vegetarian and Western-run. We got there and it was none of those things – we think it must have changed hands but the signs were still on the door etc. Anyway, we managed to get some mixed veg and braised eggplant with rice even though it was obvious that they thought a vegan diet was impossible.

We wandered the Bakhor streets and engaged in bargaining with the locals over prayer wheels, a scary door knocker, jewelry and other knicknacks. It was still daylight at 8pm, but we returned to the hostel for an early night as the hot sun, low oxygen and walking made us tired.



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