NOW AND THEN
My travels in 2018 brought me to Nepal and Tibet. While I was able to write about Nepal, I failed to write about Tibet, which is exotic as Nepal as both countries nestling in the shadows of the Himalayas.
In Tibet, I took a plane (there were few lights though) and the pilot kept on reminding us that we were hovering over the mountain ranges of the world’s highest peak, the Himalayas.
Perhaps one reason why I was not able to write and enjoy as much as I would have enjoyed Tibet was because I was not feeling well almost all the time that I was there.
Could it be because of the high altitude of the place? For one, I could hardly sleep at night. A little bit of suffocation? Even if the oxygen reinforcement on the walls was turned on at some hours of the night.
Another reason could be the language barrier. Very rarely had I talked to somebody who could speak English. If they couldn’t speak English how much more Spanish and Italian which I somehow manage to understand and to be understood.
So I was discouraged to get around even if only to find a good Chinese restaurant (Bisan fried rice lang gid kag pork dish). The hotel was to “forget about” so to speak. Even their McDonald’s chicken and the burger tasted differently, not appetizing at all.
But the saving factor was my visit to the Potola monastery.
This massive fortress and complex are situated on Red Hill in Lhasa considered to be the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism. From the 7th century until 1959, it was the summer of the Dalai Lama.
It has been a museum since then and in 1994 became a World Heritage Site.
1959 was the year of the Tibetan uprising and the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India after China sent troops to Tibet. Dharamsala has been his home since then along with some 10,000 Tibetans.
Meanwhile, he continues to travel with his message of peace, non-violence, and compassionate responsibility for his fellowmen.*