Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
It was supposed to be simple 1½ hour bus trip to Ganden Monastery - the second of the big three Tibetan monasteries - albeit a bus trip starting at 6.30am. Being so far West, but having to use Beijing time, Tibet doesn’t see the sun rise until about 9.30am in the Winter. So when the bus suddenly stopped after an hour it wasn’t immediately obvious why. But once we disembarked we felt thick snow underfoot and the bus driver made it clear that the road got too steep from here onwards. The pilgrims seemed keen to set off on foot but then they would, right? For them it was a religious mission...
I quickly hooked up with two Tibetan teachers (brother and sister) who were able to explain in mutually clunky Mandarin that they’d been here before and it wasn’t too much further by foot, “....just 29 hairpin bends, but we can take shortcuts”! Because of Tibet's altitude I was gasping for air before we started. It was pitch black with slippery, ankle-deep snow. But thanks to the encouragement and helping hands of teachers “Jin” and “Zhuo” we made the two hour climb together in time for a steaming hot breakfast of dumplings in the monastery canteen. What a start to 2009!
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