08-10-2006 15:40

Tibet seems to be a forgotten world. It's like time has stood still here until now. There is an amazing sense of calmness around Lhasa despite the large amount of people around the temples and the vendors. The streets sort of look like regular small town china streets in the sense that there are shops and restaurants all with light up signs and the usual offerings of tea, china and cigarettes But at a closer look you see things are all a little different. There is a definite aura of mystery here. You can feel that it is a spiritual place that causes the people in it to be giving. With many Buddhists asking for small offerings the giving becomes a way of life. And in this task brings pleasure for both the receiver and the one giving leaving both individuals with a smile. There are many elderly people around whose lives have been dedicated to religion. They have deep wrinkles in their faces like rivers through the mountains of Tibet, their missing a few teeth and have eyes that sparkle like diamonds. As I passed by a few would reach out and touch my hand or my face and give me a gentle smile. They were enlightened and happy in their wisdom.

The common dress of the Tibetan people in Lhasa is simple. The women wear long skirts and long length tops past their waist. They show originality in the multi colored striped aprons over the skirt. Many of the women wear hats to protect themselves from the sun with large brims. The men wear hats almost like cowboy hats made of either yak leather or a canvas material. Their clothes are brown in color as well in the form of simple pants and a dress coat. Large bags are strung across the shoulders of the people carrying various forms of goods. They seem to walk everywhere and the large bags are needed for convenience.

As they walk to the temples they all carry prayer wheels spinning clockwise, each time around is one prayer to Buddha. The prayer wheel is made up of a cylinder with a cap on the top and the bottom and a stick through it allowing you to hang on. In the center of the cylinder is a prayer scroll wound up tightly inside. The momentum of the cylinder is kept by a small chain with a stone on the end strung out from the side. They come in various sizes and designs and are a staple in the daily lives of the people here.

We went to a market area around the temple. Here you find religious Tibetans of all ages in the form of the praying pilgrims to the monks in their deep maroon and burnt mustard colored robes. There are small tables under red, yellow and green umbrellas with displays of all sorts of goods possible to buy for a good price if you know how to bargain well. I can see that they have had tourists come through as they can be rather aggressive at times grabbing your arms and walking in front of you so you can not pass by. Many of them carry the same things so competition is fierce: a reminder that I am still in china.

After much shopping of the typical Tibetan goods I happily went for dinner with my film crew and had a good sleep at the hotel.


Editor:Ge Ting