Tashilumpo Monastery and the Drive Back to Lhasa

Latitude 29°16'4.69"N, Longitude 88°52'13.23"E

We went to another monastery this morning, the Tashilumpo Monastery, where there are the fifth through tenth Panchen Lamas entombed. There were a lot of pilgrims and a lot of older monks chanting. It was again fascinating. We have seen so many monasteries that they are tending to merge into one big monastic experience. I feel, though, that I will probably never be here again, it is so exotic to anything I’ve seen before, that I cannot tire from the yak butter candles and incense and chanting monk, the future Buddha, present Buddha and the past Buddha.

Latitude 29°19'9.78"N, Longitude 89° 2'46.27"E

Lunch we had at the hotel and then left the Shigatse Hotel. We then drove to the Braille without Borders Vocational School for the Blind, on our way out of town. What an experience. The children greeted us with a rousing rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and a Tibetan song. Then we were shown some of the jobs that they are teaching the young people how to do, like weaving, knitting and cheese-making. It was a very moving experience.

We then headed back to Lhasa. It did not take us all day. Turns out there is a straight route, a less scenic route, to get to and from Lhasa and Shigatse. It still took a long time, it was still scenic in my mind, but I was ready to get off the bus.

We arrived into Lhasa just in time for dinner where we had a traditional Tibetan meal, which means yak, mutton, yak butter tea, yak yogurt, and the most alarming item, a sheep head, filled with the eyes, brains, and whatever else is in a head. I did not try the head. But the fried yak meat was great. The yak butter tea was not great.

Latitude 29°39'35.20"N, Longitude 91° 5'19.71"E

Another night in the Tibet Hotel before we take off in a train for Xining.

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