Awoke this morning to a crisp, but sunny day. After breakfast at the hotel (it’s included!) we boarded the mini bus with the rest of our group. So, finally, we are back on track with the group. It is a small mixed group which is nice – 9 of us – and only 5 of us doing the full tour all the way to Everest. Everyone is quite nice and we get along well.
The first activity this morning was supposed to be the Tibet Museum, but it is closed for renovation this week. Instead we went to Drupong Monastery where we could tour around and see numerous temple rooms and also see how the monks lived. We were all well rested today and really enjoyed the monastery! Zoe especially was happy to see monks, Buddha’s and go up and down tons of stairs. The highlight was the biggest assembly hall in Tibet. It was gorgeous…tapestries, paintings, tons of gold statues, and we learned about a special “protector” god called the Horse-Headed Protector – he protects children! So, we threw him a few RMB for Zoe. The best part was that we could take pictures (for a fee) unlike at Potala, so we took tons. It seems most of these monasteries, temples, and palaces look similar so it will give everyone a great idea of what the whole place looks like. I’ll post pictures as soon as we can.
We had a break for lunch, so we shopped a bit. I bought a couple wool sweaters for me and Zoe; Bryan got some new pants. We then got lunch…yak momos! yum. Afterward we visited an orphanage which was sad, but great since the kids really wanted some adult interactions. They all sang us a few songs then took us by the hand for a tour. Finally, we visited Sera Monastery where Zoe got blessed by a monk, given ashes on her nose, and touched her head to the Horse-Headed Protector. She loved all the attention; I guess this is a big deal thing that Tibetan 2 year olds get. Sadly, no pictures allowed. The last thing we got to see were the monks debating in the courtyard. It’s a tradition for monks to debate philosophical things. neat.
The evening was free…so we shopped more on Barkhor street. I got a traditional woolen dress. Dinner with the group was really fun as we all shared to try all the different food. Then, off to bed early since Zoe fell asleep. Tomorrow it’s the start of our journey toward Mt. Everest…we will slowly go up in elevation for the next 3 days until we get there. Not sure I’ll be able to blog.