Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 Days On A Train

I took the train from Lhasa back to Beijing. I had a lot of time to kill, 48 hours to be exact so periodically I would take pictures of the changing landscape out the back of the train. The train line is the highest in the world reaching an elevation of 16,000 feet and covers 2,525 miles. Other activities included, sleeping, reading, writing, eating bowls of noodles and making friends with people I could hardly communicate with. The only other foreigners on the train were a redneck guy (he called himself this) and his father from South Carolina. Nice people but a little embarrassing. His most notable comment was "Heng hao and hung well". The first two words were supposed to be 很好, 'hen hao', which means very good in chinese.

Tibet Autonomous Region

I haven't been able to post in a while due to lack of sufficient internet. Three hours, two cafes, a donut and a coffee later Im finally getting around to uploading pictures. These are from my trip to Tibet. It was such a great experience to go there. Its a beautiful place. China has had a lot of influence there since the the 1959 "liberation" and a lot has changed. Yet western influence still does not have a big presence there, at least not in the sense of development. It is a very unique place and im glad i was able to see it before it changes even more and at a time when things are so sensitive there. Between the recent protest and olympic games there is a strong military presence in Lhasa. By strong i mean downtown there are military in full garb with guns and riot shields at ever corner. Groups of 6 or so can be seen patrolling the streets, and sometimes on the roofs of buildings. They didn't cause any problems however and were mainly there as a reminder. The people of Tibet very all very kind. They love Americans there. Strangers on the street would say hello and i had several conversations in broken english. Most sounding like, "America, good" while gesturing a thumbs up, "Bush", "Clinton". One guy said "China buhao (chinese for not good)", while gesturing a machine gun firing. Being there and talking with the people had made me wish i had come to tibet for journalistic purposes rather than tourism, there is so much that is still not understood about the situation there.

I got the opportunity to travel outside of Lhasa. We drove by SUV through the mountains to Gyantse and Shigatse. It was amazing to see the countryside and places that were hardly touched by the outside world. I would fight the temptation to sleep just to stare longer out the car window. Listening to the same repeat of tibetan music that the driver had on repeat. Swam in a freezing cold lake at 15,000 feet and climbed a small mountain (honestly more like a hill) By the end of the trip I has templed out and had seen more Buddhas than i cared to. It was still an amazing trip and I'll always remember it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Night In Beijing

A collection of pictures from the night life here. Beijing is such an interesting place, there are pictures to be made everywhere. I haven't even left yet and I already know I'm going to miss it.