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Where do we start? We started in Beijing, and a plane took us to Lhasa. The problem is how to describe what we found when we arrived. Tibet is an amazing country: the people, the countryside, the laughter, the religiousity. Below is just a snapshot of what we saw. Click on each picture to see more!

It took a while to adjust to the altitude. Lhasa is 3700 meters above sea level, and we traveled up to altitudes as high as 4000 meters. For those of you who can't think in meters, that's 13,233 feet above sea level! The result is that you can get (and we did get) three seasons in one day: winter (complete with snow and hail), spring (rain and winds) and summer (hot sun and dust)! The most challenging were our trips from Lhasa to Gyantse and Shigatze to Tsedang: crossing the passes each way we encountered snow storms, and one after another stranded truck, bus, taxi or car. But everyone took it as a great adventure. Check out this picture of people pushing a bus over the pass at a height of 4,000 meters!
Everywhere we went, we were a "tourist attraction" for the native Tibetans. It wasn't just that we were foreigners, though. They were fascinated with our hair -- Jaymie's hair and Ted's beard, to be specific. But were were just as fascinated with theirs. Call it mutual adoration! We loved the Tibetans. Their fierce adherence to their religion and their language, their stamina and ability to survive. We only wish we had been able to speak to them about their lives.

Despite its "liberation" over fifty years ago, Tibet is still a very religious place. The presence of pilgrims is a constant: whether they be circling the Potala Palace in the morning light; crawling and prostrating themselves in the temples; or crossing mountains and traveling miles on a pilgrimage to a holy monastary. Offerings of yak butter, barley, small trinkets and money were everywhere. Most amazing were the colorful yak butter mandalas like the one to the right.

We visited many palaces and monasteries: the Sera and Deprung Monasteries in Lhasa; the Palkchode Monastery in Gyantse; Tashilunbu Monastery in Shigatse; and the Samye monastery in Tsedang. And of course, there was the Dalai Lama's own Potala Palace, pictured at the left. Each was unique in its own way, although we must admit that after a while all the Buddhas began to run together. Click here for pictures of the palaces and monasteries.

The people, the places. And then there is the land itself! One spectacular landscape after another. The heights may be daunting, but they are worth it! We traveled around southeastern Tibet (around Lhasa) in a four wheeled drive -- which was a necessity to navigate the roads and the occassional shortcut (not that there was much difference between the two!) The only stops between towns: a tent for tea and lunch.




























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