The first time I tried hitch hiking is on the way from Qinghai to Tibet. I intended to stay in Lhasa for few weeks, however, I stayed for almost two months. Some of my friends have asked
what I actually did in Lhasa during such a long trip. I have no idea where to start since my brain was filled with countless memories. This introduction to Tibet will express some of my memories.
In fact, what people told me about travelling was exaggerated. Not only can you hardly change who you are, but you are also unable to understand the philosophy of life. On the other hand, you may have a long long journey, may see lots of fabulous landscapes, may encounter different kinds of people, may experience the things that you haven’t done before. Some changes are subtle, perhaps you will not even notice them.
Introduction to Tibet
Tibet, a sacred and mysterious place, shadowed by the religion and legends from ancient books. That makes this land so desirable among travelers. The blue sky of Tibetan plateau is much cleaner than the other cities in China, maybe because PM 2.5 particles cannot reach this height. Due to the altitude, there’s not much vegetation on the mountains around. What you can find population of yaks and sheep exceeding the number of people on this land.
Lhasa, the capital of Tibet is really bustling life on its many markets, and surprisingly many police stations. I feel like it is the most secured place on earth. There is always a convenient corner in the police station, such as small library, motorbike charging area and lost&found office. Even so, you are required to go through security check before entering some tourist attractions or parks. Especially around the Potala Palace, you are not allowed to go in with souvenir knives or lighters. Furthermore, you can also see trees planted along roadside, which is rare on the way to Tibet. I am amazed that the development of China is rapid and widespread, the citizens here mostly put on the Han clothes. Catching up the pace of the modern time, I found myself misunderstanding the western of China.
City of Lhasa
Lhasa is a city full of sunshine. Every day in here, your body and soul will be immersed in the baptism of the sun. You can say the darker your skin becomes, the purer your mind will be. I have walked around many streets or paths of Lhasa but I didn’t go inside the Palace to have a reason to come back here again. I especially like the small park behind the Potala Palace, it’s a peaceful place where you can enjoy your moment after tea and purify your mind.
Speaking of tea, most of you might have the impression of the Tibetan butter tea, but for me, I prefer the sweet tea. You can find sweet tea shops everywhere in Lhasa, just as you can find Cafes in Italy. Grabbed a cup and take a seat, put some coins on the table and a woman called “Ajie” will fill it up for you. The tea culture is generally similar to Cantonese and British.
Backpackers may be regarded as one of the symbol of Lhasa. It seems that you cannot be a real backpacker if you have never stepped on this land. Even though all the backpackers carry a huge bag fully equipped, they will have a pleasant journey. The most popular places for backpackers are hostels and a commercial street named “Bajiaojie”. In the morning, Bajiaojie is the business kingdom for Tibetans, while in the evening, it belongs to backpackers. They make money by selling hand crafts or the things they previously bought in the market. It turned out to be a group of “Stall” selling of the street and they have to be careful being caught.
There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. Lhasa is mysterious and sacred, when you go into a temple, walk around the turning cylinder, you will be a devout believer. Lhasa is quiet and peaceful, when you take a sip of sweet tea, taste a bowl of Tibetan noodle, you will feel that life is actually so simple. Lhasa is passionate and fresh, when you are listening to the experience of the room mates in a hostel, you will find life is extraordinary.