Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tibetan Portraits












Few people travel to Tibet in winter, in fear of it being too cold. But the weather was a pleasant surprise. Though t e mornings and evenings were cold – probably about 25-30 degrees – the days were warmed by a strong sun. It was 50-55 degrees – considerably warmer than Beijing – and really nice and pleassnt.

Other advantages of winter travel: very few tourists (even more so since the riots last March) and many more pilgrims. I wrote earlier about the stream of Tibetans on pilgrimages to Lhasa, streaming around the Bokhur Market and walking a path around the holiest sites – the Johkur Temple and the Potala Palace.

The people are just so cool looking. I stood outside on the edge of Market while Becky was looking at necklaces, smiling at people. When we made eye contact, I said "Tashi Dalek" which seems to be like shalom -- hello, peace, love, greetings. Then when it seemed right, I pointed to my camera and said, in Chinese, "may I?" Most stopped and smiled, a few -- mostly old woman -- shook their heads no or waved their hands. One guy asked for money. The rest stopped and looked right in the camera.

I think they have amazing faces.