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In September 2007 my friend Geoff and I went to Tibet to travel to new Lhasa to Beijing railway.   We flew via Singapore into Chengdu, then the next morning into Lhasa.  

There are dramatic views of mountains as you approach Tibet.



Taken from my seat on the plane!   And this was at the end of summer, so snow and ice were close to a minimum
 

Lhasa's airport is 70 kms out of the city. 


The road to Lhasa goes alongside rushing streams and shinglebeds edged with willows.
 
First stop, about a third of the way along, was a small Buddhist shrine.  because of the altitude, even a few steps on the flat produced laboured breathing!
 

We stayed at the Flora Hotel in central Lhasa, very close to the central market.  We were surprised to find a Muslim community here in the centre, with its own small market next to the mosque. 


Top of the door of the mosque, with inscriptions in Arabic, Tibetan and Chinese.  This was beautiful;  unfortunately it was destroyed in the riots between Tibetans and Han Chinese during 2008.

The central market has lots of 'people' colour.  Here are some Tibetan ladies with prayer wheels.

There are numerous small trinkets for sale in the market.


Small metal bowls, prayer wheels, bangles, beads, horns, and, not shown, smallish but very noisy cymbals to clash!

Women's costumes could be colourful.


Our guide, Kunsang, was very obliging and happy to demonstrate a Tibetan horn


All sorts of interesting cloth and articles could be bought from this little sewing shop - including Geoff's monk's hat (see "Friends and Family' page)

It was interesting to see yak meat for sale - and the conditions of sale, without any refrigeration.   This was not winter, and it was quite warm despite the 3760 metre altitude.


We didn't feel hungry!

Yaks are very important to Tibetans.
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The Potala dominates Lhasa.  It's built atop a steep but not very big hill. 
 

Not having acclimatized to the altitude - this takes a week - we passed up the opportunity to climb up to it.

In front of the Potala, below it and well back from it, is a large flat square which is used for tourist photos, cultural demonstrations and parades.  

These Tibetan girls did a great job hamming it up for tourists in front of the Potala


At the garden behind the Potala square, we saw a classic mixture of old and new - a monk and women in traditional Tibetan costume, with a digital camera!
 
The train station is on the edge of Lhasa, and is a monumental-scale building more like an airport terminal than a train station.   'Monumental' certainly describes the gargantuan Beijing West railway station - possibly the largest in the world, reeking of "totalitarian" and "you have the significance of an ant".

The railway across the Tibetan high plateau goes up to more than 5000 metres above sea level, and the train is supplied with oxygen, so breathing and walking around are comfortable.

A shingle valley seen from the speeding train



Yaks grazing in a high meadow



Desolate high plateau traversed by the train

 
 
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