Sorry we missed yesterdays cybercast, we had some technical difficulties. We
are now in the Town of Shigatse the seat of the Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama
is the second highest Lama. The Monastery is probably in the best repair of
all the monasteries we have visited, and is home to the largest gilded Buddha
in the world using more than 300kg of gold and stands 26 meters tall. This
Buddha was erected and finished four days before the tenth Penchen Lama died,
fulfilling his vision that he would bring together the Tibetan people and
restore their cultural and religious rights.
This morning we visited the Chorten of Kumbum, a huge four-story building
holding over 1000 images in 77 rooms. Since it was Saturday we were touring
though it with many locals on the holy day. The building was very impressive
with Buddha eyes glaring out in the four cardinal directions.
Today's ride was short (1 1/2 hrs), which was welcome after yesterday's 7 hr
trip. The Trip yesterday took 7 hrs but we stopped many times. At first we
thought the drivers were just being kind to our legs and bladders by stopping
often, but then we found out it was to delay our arrival at the next check
point. It was explained that a time card is given to the driver at each check
point and if we arrive too soon at the next check point they knew we were
speeding. Once we found this out we thought about suggesting that we simply
slow down, but after reconsidering we appreciated the frequent stops.
The highway we are traveling on is called The Friendship Highway, and is the
route the Olympic torch will take in 2008 on it's way from the summit of Mt.
Everest to Beijing. Our guide has explained that the Chinese Govt. is paying
all the residence along the highway half of the cost to update and repair
their homes so it all looks good for visitors.
We did take one detour off the highway yesterday. We were supposedly taking a
short cut, but the road was very bumpy and muddy, so were not sure it really
saved us any time. This gave us the benefit of seeing some incredible scenery
and a number of small mud hut villages. As we passed the villages, the kids
would all come running to the road to wave. Some of the more enterprising of
the boys grabbed shovels and pretended to repair the road, no doubt hoping for
The team is doing well, seems like everyone is acclimatizing and enjoying the
Tibetan culture. Tomorrow we will stop in Tingri before heading off to Chinese
Base Camp. Good Night from Shigatse, Todd Passey and Eric Larson
Greetings and Tashi Delek everyone. Tonight is our last night here in Lhasa,
and we enjoyed a traditional Tibetan dinner, along with a fine performence of
dancing- Tibetan style.
We toured Drepung monastery this morning, and enjoyed a nice 2 hour hike in
the afternoon. We had views into a small mountain valley, and it was good to
stretch the legs. In all, quite a fun day for all.
We are looking forward to beginning our move towards the mountain in the
morning. Tomorrow we will drive to Gyantse, about 5 hours.
Everyone is having a great time- stay tuned for more! Ciao.
The team was finally assembled when Michael G. made it on the bullet train from
Beijing at 4 A.M. This years team is made up with Horst from Miami, Danielle who
has been on many AAI trips, Armond who has climbed Denali with me in 2004,
Michael B. who is on a climbing spree for the last six months, Steve, Janet and
Kathy who all climbed Vinson together in 2005, Gary who has been on a world tour
Today we were busy tourists! In the morning we loaded up on the bus and headed
for the Potala, which is the former palace of the Dali Lama. The Palace is huge
and was the former center of government of Tibet before the cultural revolution.
Walking through the palace we visited the chapels and chambers of the Dali Lama
and followed the path that still today hundreds of Pilgrims follow every day.
After Lunch we headed for the Sera Monastery where the high light was watching
the spirited debates of the Monks in the court yard. It may be hard to picture
but the monks are very animated during this debate with clapping, pointing and a
lot of laughs and smiles.
We completed our night with a huge buffet of Tibetan food and Traditional
dancing. Hopefully tomorrow we will do a short hike above the Lhasa valley and
to the Drupong Monastery. Keep watch the cybercast for further adventures of the
Cho Oyu expedition 2007. Good Night, Eric Larson and Todd Passey
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