A relaxed start today with a 9:30am departure for the Tibetan Museum which opened at 10:00am. More security checks to enter the museum. However, we spent 2 hours at the musem, which was quite good. It contains some very interesting pieces.
Lunch was at a Tibetan restaurant in the old town, after which we had some time to wander the streets. Lhasa is an amazing city with plenty of growth (mainly chinese people and concrete buildings), but the old town has retained its charm and mystery. There are modern shops, and street stalls.
After the old town, we drove a short distance out of Lhasa to the Sera Monastery, the 2nd oldest monastery in Tibet. From the street it looks fairly run down and small, but once you enter the grounds (after another security check and xray), the monasterary is large and has a run down appeal. We toured through some of the buildings (no photos inside), and then watched the monk debates. This is a real experience, and whilst I took plenty of photos, I also took a video as this has to be seen and heard to truly appreciate. Suffice to say it is not a standard debate, and takes place in an open air enclosure, with tourists (and chinese police) encircling the monks. The debate appears to take place between individuals or groups, and involves plenty of pantomine.
This is our last day in Lhasa, as we make an early start tomorrow for Gyantse, which involves 8 hours of travel. We were back at the hotel by 4:30 pm, with dinner (a tibetan banquet again) in the hotel at 6:30pm. I think we are all looking forward to an early night, given the long day ahead of us. Also some of our travellers are still suffering from altitude sickness. Over the next few days, the altitude will continue to incease, and altitude sickness may re-occur in those of us that are currently feeling fine.
The weather in Lhasa is superb, with blue skies, some cloud, and hot. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are essential. So far, the tour has been superb, and I enjoyed my time in Lhasa. Looking forward to getting out in the country, and seeing Mt Everest. Our guide is talking about an early start one day to see the sunrise on Mt Everest. Sounds great.
Don't know what the internet situation is so my blogs may cease for a few days.