Head Above Clouds in Tibet


Here I am, in a fascinating country that is China. I would like to call it Tibet, but I am afraid to speak up and then be put in jail. That is right, Tibet in China is a sad reality lead by their communism. A shocking history where justice and freedom have been buried. The only way to travel to this land is now by group with a guide. They say it is for local income, but they omit to mention the real reason: trying to control every possible foreign protestants to come liberate this poor country. At the customs, they check your bags 3 times. Not for any possible arms, but for books and flags of Tibet. DO NOT CARRY ANY INFORMATION ABOUT TIBET, and of course, never pronounce the words Free Tibet or speak about the current Dalai Lama. Even Facebook and Youtube are blocked off the Internet, so no direct information is sent. All these are illegal and you have to follow the commands.

Tibet is a beautiful and breathtaking land.  Open spaces and massive snowcapped mountains offer a pure sensation of once known liberty. The colours of the prayer flags floating above the high elevated passes between mountains illuminate the cold sky in front of our eyes. A powerful and rich landscape amazes our tourist eyes and feed our cameras of splendid images.

Temples are beautiful and rich in history. Visiting the current Dalai Lama old bedroom was very interesting, as well as some of the golden tombs of the precedent ones.

Tibetans are one of the reasons you want to go visit Tibet. Their generosity and genuine personality tell you so much about their reality. Refusing to grow with the Chinese, they insist in preserving their culture alive by inhabiting their villages along the mountains and cultivating barley and straw to feed their animals. It is a isolated community rich in culture, beliefs and superstitions.  A great respect is accorded to their bovine.  They will welcome you inside their homes and offer you a Yak butter tea (the name unfortunately speaks for itself) and will watch every move you make with interest. Because tourism is still very recent for them, it is very hard to communicate since English is still a very strange language. Smile at them, you will indeed get a warm smile back and some giggling as well.  The scabbing cheeks of the young reveal a cold weather but the warmth of their smiles offer you a great memory of this isolated population.

Walking down the streets in Lahsa (capital of Tibet), is basically walking in Chinatown. Not only this one is real, but it is also horribly smelly. A mix of intense pollution, inscense, yak butter and flesh of raw meat annoys my nostrils and aches my tourist heart. Communism screams at every corner with its army standing in their glass boxes like matchsticks in their matchbox, ready for any war for freedom.  Shopping is cheap and dangerous for hungry shoppers like me. Food is not like the Chinese food we are used to and we pretty much became semi-vegeterian for a while after eating to our surprise, some yak tongue momos.

We fly back to Kathmandu and are passengers of a scenic flight over the Himalayas and Mont Everest.  It is with sadness that we leave this beautiful remote land. Ready for an interesting journey back to India. This time, we will make our way down to Varanasi, the holiest place in the world of Hinduism.