Thursday, January 03, 2008

Yak Butter Tea is Soo Good
The guy next to me is reading some blogs in Tibetan. It makes sense since he is a Buddhist monk here in Xiahe, Gansu Province, China. Everyone is muttering in Tibetan or listening to Tibetan music on their headphones (or singing out loud when the impulse strikes!). All nineteen computers are occupied. Everyone has payed their two yuan or 25 cents for an hour of Internet time. And they are exploring electronic worlds pretty seriously, the monk next to me is talking on his cell phone while he is blogging.

We did some exploring here today too. With the help of a young monk who learned English with a guy from Seattle who sang "Jingle Bells," we were given a grand tour of the Dabrang monastery which is tucked away here in the mountains that ring the Amdo steppe of Northeastern Tibet. Some of the relics and Buddhas and what not is really old here -- stuff donated by the Kanxi Qing emperor and the royal families of Mongolia. But even more interesting is talking to a monk about what it is like to grow up a nomad on the grasslands of Qinghai, watch "King Kong," pass the exams in Tibetan Buddhism and give tours to South Korean missionaries who insist on strumming their guitar and breaking out in praise and worship songs when he takes them into temples (he said the other monks thought the South Koreans were crazy).

The food here is not so great. Most things have a healthy dose of yak butter making it a little rank. And after a night of snuggling under blankets scented in the same way we are ready for strictly vegan diet. Maybe tonight we will try some Hui/Chinese Muslim food on the other side of the street. We moved to a new hotel tonight where Jennifer is "sooo happy" because it is heated and, even more important, cleaner.

For those of you following us on your trusty wall map of China -- tomorrow will be a long day of first a bus from Xiahe on the border of Qinghai province to Lanzhou the capital of Gansu then an overnight hardsleeper to Turpan in Xinjiang Province.


Blogger Gray Lane said...

Enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of your travels. Tuck them all away in your memories for later reference, delight, and contemplation.

1:38 PM  

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