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Friday, December 2, 2011

Tibet Quickie

Previously on Survivor:
  • we went to Tibet
    • where we met our guide, Tsewang,
      • whose name means “long life”
      • who is the type of girl to stop traffic
        • not just because she’s pretty
        • but mostly because she literally stops traffic so we can cross the street to reach our hotel
          • or, as she (and everyone else, apparently) says, “hotle”.
      • and she gave us each a long white scarf to welcome us.
        • it did not keep us warm very well
        • but it was very pretty
    • we visited the Dalai Lama’s palace
      • both of them
        • because  there are two:
          • the first one
            • which served the first five Dalai Lamas
          • and the second one
            • which was started to be built during the fifth Dalai Lama’s lifetime
            • but was finished in the sixth’s.
          • Random Fact: THERE ARE A LOT OF STEPS.
            • also there are a lot of benches for fat people because they can’t climb steps
            • proof of Kung Fu Panda, no.s one and two
              • and we kept repeating that one line from Kung Fu Panda 2: “Ah… my old enemy… STAIRS.”
            • mostly, though, the benches are so that the locals can put wool from their sheep on the trees
              • which apparently
                • brings good luck to that sheep
                • makes it have more wool
              • this is because it’s the Dalai Lama’s palace
                • which means it must give an automatic blessing.
                • Or something like that.
    • and we visited numerous monasteries
      • whose names I can’t remember
        • because they all look the same
        • but the first one was called the Sera Monastery (or something like that. The spelling is probably different).
        • but one of these monasteries had this thing where the monks would clap really loudly to wake up the ones in Hell (because they’re sleeping) so that they can hear how the monks ask questions and other monks give the answers
          • this is to relieve the ones in Hell of their ignorance so that they can get out of Hell.
      • which were very interesting and had very cool Buddhas
        • there are lots of different types of Buddhas, which include
          • the protector Buddha, which looks very scary to scare away the demons
            • there was a protector Buddha that had two heads: a normal scary head and a small horse head on top of it
              • it protected children from nightmares
                • I wish I had this Buddha around when I was a kid
          • the compassion Buddha, which has a thousand arms and a thousand eyes so that it can help us in our times of need
          • the white tara, which has seven eyes: three on its head, one on each hand, and one on each foot
          • the green tara, which I’m not too sure about, but its foot is on a lotus. Or something like that
          • the past Buddha, whose name I forgot, unfortunately
          • the present Buddha Shakyamuni
          • the future Buddha whose name begins with a V. He has both his feet on the ground, which means he is ready to come into our world and bring peace.
          • there are five Buddhas: three past Buddhas, one present Buddha Shakyamuni who is the current Buddha, and one future Buddha.
      • and had very gorgeous paintings on the walls
        • which illustrated the history of various things including (but not limited to):
          • the history of the monastery
          • the history of Buddha
          • stories like
            • the one about the bird, the monkey, the dog, and the elephant, who measured their age against a tree.
              • When the elephant came, the tree was a sapling
              • When the dog came, the tree was a sprout
              • When the monkey came, there was no tree
              • When the bird came, he brought the seed
    • we saw the symbol of Tibet’s independence.
      • “But this is not working very well,” said Tewan.
        • because Tibet is under occupation by the Chinese.
        • Random Fact: We were not allowed pictures of the Chinese military, because I don’t know.
    • we left Tibet, and on the way we
      • saw a lot of prayer flags
        • there are five colors for prayer flags, each symbolizing something
          • white for cloud
          • blue for sky
          • red for fire
          • yellow for earth
          • green for grass or peace
        • the prayer flags are hung up so that when the wind blows, it’s like the prayers are being read
      • went through a lot of mountain ranges in a nice car on a bumpy road
        • which liked to try to concuss us
        • and we sometimes stopped so that we could hike a bit
          • and see little shrines for the Buddha
          • and monasteries/nunneries
          • and see a lot of prayer papers, which had specific prayers
            • and a picture in the center
              • e.g., a horse for swiftness
              • or compassion Buddha
            • and were scattered around everywhere
              • I suppose this was with reason
              • but we mostly collected them
              • and made paper planes
                • which made me sing “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
          • but mostly we just stopped for pictures
      • saw the four holy lakes
        • which were holy because they were saltwater lakes
      • slept at some more hotles
        • some of which were luxurious
        • some of which were not
        • all of which were freezing
      • and reached the Himalaya.
(Could you read that OK? It was probably very confusing, but I think it was the best way to make a quick recap).
Anyway, I would like to better detail the Himalayas part, and I would like to start with something that seems irrelevant, but leads up to something very important.
When I was nine years old, I went to summer camp with my bestest best friend Lydia. One day she told me the amazing truth of what she did during the summer: she visited the Himalayas with her family. Naturally I had an “OMG REALLY?!!!” reaction, but then I was suspicious. Of course, if I’d have had the sense to, I could have checked by asking her what country the Himalayas were in, but neither of us knew. We both assumed that there was China, and then there was India, and between them were the Himalayas. Pretty awkward when we found out about Tibet (which I had assumed was somewhere between Korea and Cambodia).
And while she was telling me about her yearly trips to the Himalaya, she suddenly remembered the Yeti, and told me that she found an orphan yeti and next to her, the skeletons of her dead parents. The story she told me was so absolutely fantastic that I can’t believe I believed her. Especially the part that if you name a Yeti “Destiny” they’ll immediately become your friend (like Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, where if you name a foal after the first sound it makes, you can communicate with it telepathically). She told me about how she and Destiny wrote letters to each other and played chess and how clever Destiny was. Of course, she later confessed she made it all up, which came as an actual shock to me.
What? You thought I was a super-genius? Thank you. But that is not the case. I am incredibly gullible and everyone is always pranking me because of this. Just for laughs, of course. But every now and then, some moron comes along and tries to be all tricky to prove how smart he is.

Moving on to more relevant things.
Even though I couldn’t believe that my bestest best friend saw what all the scientists and researches had not (the Abominable Snowman), I totally believed that there was such a thing as the Yeti.
Later, though, I had my doubts, and by the time we reached Everest’s Base Camp, I had no doubt that if there was such a thing as a Yeti, it obviously wanted to be found just as much as the unicorn.
And so, now we reach the important thing that all this irrelevance led up to:
Now that that’s out of the way, I can describe the Himalayas properly.
It’s really not all that amazing.
So let me explain: you’re in a [very comfortable] car [alternating between Guns N’ Roses “Mr. Brownstone” and your Guns N’ Roses playlist], driving on a bumpy road that makes you look like a phone on vibrate until you reach a bump, where you end up jumping so hard that you nearly hit your head on the ceiling. Not that this wasn’t fun. It really was fun. I’m just trying to convey my experience to you. In fact, go to YouTube right now and search “Mr. Brownstone” and listen to it on endless loop, or scroll to the end of this blog post where I have posted my playlist, and then start jumping up and down in your seat. At least until I’m done with the Himalayas.
Anyway, this bumpy road is completely the same color: yellow-ish brown. A pretty, golden-brown shade, yes, but boring. And the road is bumpy. And the landscape is flat until the mountains, which are not very sharp and craggy and interesting-looking. No. They are round, over-sized hills that inspire nothing. The mountains we climbed were more interesting, though.
On to Everest.
It’s the tallest mountain in the world (congratulations). Also it is holy. And it’s illegal to be buried on it. That is all I know about it. The last two I know because of The Bucket List (hilarious. Must-see).
That said, we went to the base camp, where you had a very nice view of The Tallest Mountain In The World (but no Yetis were sighted). Then, after hanging up our scarves from Day One, we took a few pictures and went on to Nepal (and the next “heated” hotel room).
Currently, as I write this, I am in a hotel room in Chitwan, Nepal, where it is actually warm. This is good. Now I’m going to finish and attempt to connect to the internet is rumored to be here.
KEY WORD: “rumored”.
Guns N’ Roses Playlist:
  1. Paradise City
  2. Out Ta Get Me
  3. My Michelle
  4. Think About You
  5. Sweet Child O’ Mine
  6. It’s So Easy
  7. Welcome to the Jungle
  8. Rocket Queen
  9. Mr. Brownstone
I should warn you, but I’m not sure what against. Basically, it’s 80s rock music. Assume the worst.
I know, I know, I love this type of music, but you might not. So enter the waters wearing a floaty-ring.
And and and… I listed this without checking. Not once. And I got it right.

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