Friday, January 2, 2009

Taking It All In

It seems like most of my posts begin with "we're back from___". I think this trend might paint a boring consistency over our less than boring adventures. But it's true; we are back from our latest adventure in Tibet. We descended from the "rooftop of the world" (approximately 4500 meters above sea level) on New Year's Eve- and haven't really left the comfort of our home or pajama's since.

Our trip to this far corner of the world has proven to be one of my favorite adventures yet. I will admit that the idea of going to a place 4500 meters above sea level in the middle of winter did not really appeal to me at first. In fact, it didn't really appeal to me until our plane landed in Lhasa. As we touched down, I thought to myself "this is a really amazing and rare opportunity- and probably not a trip many foreigners have taken".

As soon as the plane landed, I could feel the heavy pressure of high altitude on my body. I wondered to myself if I was imagining these sensations; but the short and slow walk into the airport left me breathless, and I knew then it was not in my mind alone.

After gathering our luggage we were met by our local tour guide Thun Drup and our driver Pu Pu. As is custom in Tibetan culture- guests are greeted by receiving a white scarf, which is loosely placed around the neck. After this warm welcome; we were escorted to our bus, offered some tea and fruit, then taken to the hotel for a rest and opportunity to acclimatize.

The following 4 days consisted of a trip to Potala Palace; a drive to Kampala high pass at 4750 meters; a tour of Jokhang monastery; a trip to and trek around Ganden monastery at 4500 meters; a tour of a local family home, and general wandering about Lhasa.

While it is difficult to sum up this trip in a few short words, I haven't really begun to process through all that we were privileged to see. So it seems that a few short words are all that I have for now.

In the meantime- enjoy the photos from our recent adventure!

-Phil and Jen

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