Tibet, September 2018

The journey to Tibet was surreal even before it started.
チベットへの旅は出発前からシュールだった。

One needs a special permit to visit Tibet. To get the permit, a Chinese visa has to be obtained beforehand. Visa application requires a full itinerary with hotel confirmation. However, if the itinerary includes Tibet, they will not issue you a visa.
チベットに入るには特別な許可が必要。許可取得には中国の査証が必要。査証申請には旅行日程とホテルコンファーメーションが必要。 ところが、旅行日程にチベットが入っていると査証が下りない。

Tibet's Location in China Map

Successfully out of the Catch-22 situation, we flew from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa, to Chendu and to Lhasa. In Tibet, we travelled on land from Lhasa to Gyangtse, to Shigatse and back to Lhasa.
キャッチ22的状況を無事脱出し、ジョハネスバーグからアディスアベバ、成都、そしてラサに飛ぶ。チベット内ではラサ、ギャンツェ、シガツェ、ラサと陸路で旅した。

Map of Tibet

What struck me most was, sadly, not Bhuddist monasteries with hundreds of years of history, beautiful people in traditional clothes, houses painted with bright colours or breathtaking landscape, but the tightness of security, represented by ubiquitous CCTV (even in tourist buses!) and strong police presence. Big Brother is watching everyone, everywhere.
一番印象に残ったのは、残念ながら数百年の歴史を持つ寺院でも、民族衣装に身を包む美しい人々でも、カラフルな家々でも、息を呑むような自然でもなく、警備の厳しさだった。町中が監視カメラと警察官に覆われているよう。観光客用バスの中にまで、監視カメラがあった。「ビッグ・ブラザー」の目がいたるところで光っている。

The sense of surreality was enhanced by the large number of Chinese tourists travelling en mass.
シュール感を更に高めたのは、中国人団体客の群れ。

The Potala Palace, the former residence of Dalai Lama, is a major tourist attraction, with 7,000 to 9,000 visitors a day (according to our local guide), most of whom are from China. Tickets have to be booked in advance and each group is allocated only 50 minutes. The entrance was chaotic – long queues, frustated, angry and aggressive people, lots of shouting and shoving. The serenity and spirituality of the palace that one would expect from photographs in guidebooks and coffee table books was nowhere in reality.
例えば、かつてダライ・ラマが住んでいたポタラ宮は現在観光名所。地元ガイドによると、1日7千人から9千人の観光客が訪れる。その殆どが中国人団体客。入場券は事前予約する必要があり、決まった時間から50分しか中にいることができない。入り口には長蛇の列。イラついた人々が怒鳴り押し合う。ガイドブックなどの写真から感じる静寂さや崇高さを、現実のポタラ宮で経験することはできなかった。

Potala Palace ticket

Probably the best time to visit Tibet is winter, when there are much fewer tourists.
チベットを訪れるのは観光客が少ない冬がよいかも。(寒いけど。)

Big Brother and mass tourism aside, I loved the bright colours of buildings, snow-capped mountains, clear blue sky and crisp air, ladies with pangden (a colorfully striped, woven wool apron) and long braids. Yak and Tibetan Mastiff, which looks like long-haired bear, were very special too!
ビッグ・ブラザーと団体観光客はさておき、明るい色を多用した建物、頂上に雪が残る山、澄み切った青い空とひんやりすがすがしい空気、女性たちの長い三つ編みとパングデン(縞模様のエプロン)などは心に残った。長毛の牛「ヤク」と長毛のクマのような犬「チベット・マスチフ」も動物好きにはたまらない!

Here are some photographs from my trip.
チベット旅行の写真を以下シェアします。

Lhasa River, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Lhasa River. Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Tower, Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Tower. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Pillar, Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Pillar. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Butter lamp, Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Butter lamps traditionally burn clarified yak butter. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Door, Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Door. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Miamchi on roof top. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Miamchi (Tibetan half-human, half-bird creature) on rooftop. Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Puppy, Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September2018

Puppy in jewelley shop. Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Gate, Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Gate. Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Old lady, Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Old lady walking alone. Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Photo gallery, Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Photo gallery. Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Family in front of traditional garment shop, Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Family in front of traditional garment shop. Octagon Street, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Praying in front of Jokhong Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Praying in front of Jokhong Temple. Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Tricycle taxi, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Tricycle taxi. Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Fabric shop, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Fabric shop. Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Wall, Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Red and white wall. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Window, Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

Window. Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

 

Roof, Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Rooftop. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Clouds, Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Clouds. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Two men resting, Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Two men resting. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Female pilgrims, outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

How far and how long have these female pilgrims been travelling in prostration? Outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Many old Tibetans wear what looks like a bush hat. Outside Potala Palace. Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Praying outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

Praying. Outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

 

Cheerfully looking ladies, outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Cheerful-looking ladies with steady steps. Outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Toddler on the back, outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

Toddler on the back. Outside Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

 

Offering. Near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Offerings. Near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Praying. Near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Praying. Near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Window. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Window. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Walls and flowers. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Walls and flowers. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Moss on the roof. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Moss on roof. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Grass on the roof. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

Grass on roof. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, September 2018

 

Roof top. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Rooftop. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Pillar, Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Pillar. Norbulinka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Toddler and dog. Sera Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Toddler and dog. Sera Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

 

Conversation with a yak. Yamdrok Lake, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Conversation with a yak. Yamdrok Lake, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Boys playing soccer. Kharola Glacier, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Boys playing soccer. Kharola Glacier, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Turist Service Center, Kharola Glacier, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Tourist Service Center. Kharola Glacier, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Prayer flags at a dam on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Prayer flags. Above a dam on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Prayer flags at a dam on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Green in the background is the water in the dam, not the sky. On the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Mountain goat, on the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Mountain goat. On the way to Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Prayer flags on hill. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Prayer flags on top of hill. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Window. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Window. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

In case of fire. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

In case of fire. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Falling lady giggling. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

The lady lost balance and almost fell but was still giggling, obviously having fun with friends. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Short man walking. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

This short gentleman was somehow very memorable. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Joints. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

Joints. Palcho Monastery, Gyangtse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Puppy. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Puppy. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Gelugpa monks. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

The Gelugpa order of Tibetan Bhuddism, headed by Dalai Lama, is often called the Yellow Hats for obvious reasons. These hats are worn during ceremonies. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

White building against dark blue sky. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

White building against dark blue sky. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Decoration. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Monks decorating passage. Ephemeral beauty. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Serenity in chaos. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

The young woman’s serenity stands out in tourism madness. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Piggybacking. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Piggybacking. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Monk walking between red and white. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Monk walking between red and white. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Monk on mobile. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Monk on the mobile. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Rolling out carpets. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Rolling out carpets. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Divine message. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Receiving a divine message? Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Monk opening gate. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

As I was taking a photo of the gate, a monk opened it from inside. He looked surprised and then embarrassed. I smiled. He smiled back. Tashilumbu Monastery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Bell. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

Bell. Tashilumbu Monestery, Sigatse, Tibet, September 2018

 

Kharola Glacier, on the way back to Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

Once again, Kharola Glacier. On the way back to Lhasa, Tibet, September 2018

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