Day 74: Lhasa (拉萨) – September 1st

To most, Lhasa is really a magical place. Some arrive with their loved ones, some arrive to forget certain loved ones, some arrive with the sense of victory whilst conquering the treacherous roads, some arrive to pay their utmost respect to the holiest land in their hearts. Most importantly, whenever people return to Lhasa, all of their hopes and dreams are filled to the brim, and nobody leaves without having the city touch their hearts.

Seriously, this place is pretty freakin’ interesting. The most interesting part is the people you meet here. People arrive in Lhasa with some sort of alternative mindset and are extremely welcoming. Here’s a quick summary of people we’ve met.

Sharing our 6 bedroom hostel is

-An artist from Hong Kong. Not quite sure what he paints, but he definitely got the perverted long hair and ‘artsy’ glasses to match with.
-A pair of girls who are sharing a bed (because there’s not enough beds in the hostel), and apparently in love but can only meet once a year.

Random people we met:

-A well travelled older gentleman from Hong Kong we met at a restaurant, whose been coming to Lhasa for the past 10 years. And I quote “There is not a place you can name that I’ve never been.”
-Two guys from Jiangsu who are best friends after playing DOTA
-A 22 year old Chinese herbal medicine whole-seller, who repeated Grade 3 three times, and gave up school afterwards.
-Multiple groups of riding their bikes into Lhasa

The city itself is small, extremely walkable, and centralized mostly around the infamous Potala Palace and the Peaceful Liberation Monument Square, which is bisected by “Beijing Middle Road”. It actually reminded us of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but instead of the Forbidden Palace its the Potala Palace. During the day, its impression is full of grandeur and a not-so-impressive white. BUT, when we headed to view the night views, the views were breathtaking and pictures do absolutely no justice to it.

Not sure exactly how to pinpoint it, as it may be a combination of the cops/military stations every 100m, or the infinite amount of Tibetans praying around town, or maybe the numerous cozy coffee shops, the feeling of being in a ‘sensitive’ area, and multitude of a wide array of cuisine, but there’s one thing that’s certain. Lhasa is amazing.

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