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Shangri La - The Tibetan Monastery

sunny 28 °C

When the girls and Chen returned back to the hostel, the gang of us trotted off to the bus stop to try and stay overnight in the big Tibetan Monastery nearby.

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The aim was to get in free, so we left at 6pm and were hoping the guards/ticket dudes would be off duty by then. Chen had chatted to some other Chinese young people at the bus stop who told him the way to get in free was to hitchhike in with the locals. So, when we got to the ticket entrance office, we pretended not to hear the ticket dude shouting at us and walked towards the monastery village area in search of a lift.
Another ticket dude came out and collared us though, and asked us for our (pretend) hotel booking details. He told us we couldn't stay AT the monastery itself, there were only expensive hotels near it - yadda yadda yadda.

The three girls and Chen went in to the ticket office to see what information the ticket dude had. I'd learnt ages ago to let those who want to handle things, handle them, so I sat outside with Frenchy. We saw 2 Chinese people who were at the bus stop flag down a local's car and hitch a lift into the village. So hitchhiker extraordinaire Stef decides we would do that too. He told the girls our sneaky plans and the four of us, Me, Frenchy, Joao and Stef jumped into a passing car and got a lift up to the monastery. :D Success!! BUT there was another ticket checking office at the entrance to the monastery. DAM! I snuck into the monastery via the toilet, but when all four of us tried to sneak in, we got caught 'rapid'.
However Frenchy and her magic trumpet saved the day! The lads at the ticket office asked her to play a tune for them and she did and they rewarded us with free entry! Meanwhile the girls and Chen were still back at the ticket office trying to hitch hike up.

We had a good 40 minutes wandering around the monastery - it was really cool. There didn't seem to be any place for us to stay the night there though. Frenchy got talking to one monk and he let us into see the Big Buddha and the monks chanting. It was all very cool and spiritual (dunno if that's the right word) and I felt a bit teary eyed and emotional. The monks looked like they were having a great time though, chatting and laughing away during chanting time.
The artwork on the walls was amazing - so detailed and extravagant. There were various incarnations of Gods getting jiggy with it, vultures eating the intestines of deadmen, nudey men and women, and lots of other cool weird stuff. It was pretty epic and the monastery itself had a great view of the surrounding village and lake.

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The girls and Chen finally arrived! They had agreed to stay at some local dude's gaff and have dinner there, in return for a lift up to the monastery. They went in for a look at the monastery and I went for a walk around the lake, which had cool viewing points of the monastery in the middle of it. I met some awesome locals on the way around the lake and had a right good mime/chat to them.

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Later the gang of us went to the local dude's house for a dinner of vegetables, slices of FAT (really!!), rice, Yak butter tea (ew), Yak Cheese (equally ew) and other stuff.

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I wouldn't be a big fan of the Yak dairy products now - they taste like you're just taking a bit chompy bite out of a rather stinky Yak.
The guy's house though was amazing.

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He had lovely wooden features and details everywhere, big copper pots for cooking in and fabulously big bedrooms that would accommodate all 8 of us. The weird thing was the toilet which seemed to be out the door and down the road - it was literally a shit hole. :D All the neighbours used it as well as Joao found out early the next morning.

We got up at stupid o Clock the next day to go and see the sunrise and walked around the lake to a viewing point so we'd have a good view of the sun rising up and shining on the monastery. We sat in the morning darkness and waited. And waited. And waited. There was no sunrise! There was however some duck-lovin' going on nearby that kept us amused for a while before we had to return to the gaff for a breakfast of delicious bread and spicy eggs.

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We returned to the moastery to explore a bit more in the morning sunshine (it appeared eventually) and after another hour or two decided to hit the road back to our hostel in Shangri La and get my backpack. Stef was hitchhiking to Lijiang for the craic and I thought it would be fun to try it out. I'd never hitchhiked before and Stef (who'd hitchhiked around the block a bit) seemed like a good person to go with. He was confident enough, he'd done loads of hitchhiking before, he was good fun and mega tall so could easily take on a few Chinese who might get a bit rowdy! ;)

We had to bid adieu to the US girls (We said we might see them in Lijiang if we were successful with the auld hitchhiking), and we had to say goodbye to Joao and Frenchy who were staying on in Shangri La. I was pretty sad to say goodbye to Joao who was an awesome travelling chum, great fun and a super nice guy - and also of course to Frenchy who was delightfully bonkers. Chen had decided to try and hitchhike to Daqin so we said goodbye to him too. But I had a feeling we'd not seen the last of Chen! :)

Posted by squeakylee 05:26 Archived in China Tagged sunrise la dinner for monastery duck yak tibetan fat shangri lovin Comments (0)

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