Alan and Jonna's trekking trip to Tibet

Jonna and Alan took a three week trip to China this August, primarily to go trekking in Tibet. Jonna then spent an additional two weeks going to India afterwards. We both flew to Beijing together and then spent a rainy day playing tourist there. We then flew to Lhasa in Tibet. We spent three days in Lhasa, then left for a 12 day trip into Far Western Tibet. We drove from Lhasa to Shigatse to Lhartse to Saga to Puryang to Darchen. We stopped at the Tashilingo and Sakye monasteries on the way out. We then spent three days at Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, including visiting the Chiu monastery. We then drove back from Darchen to Puryang to Saga to Lhartse to Lhasa. We then spent five more days in Lhasa, including visiting the Samye monastery. From there we flew back to Beijing where we had a day to to a bicycle trip to the Great Wall. Then Alan flew back to the US. Jonna spent two more days in Beijing doing a bicycle tour through the hutongs and visiting the Temple of Heaven. She then flew to Delhi, where she had day exploring Old Delhi, the Gandhi Museum and wandering around the new part of the city. Then she took the train to Dharamsala in northern India. She spent one week there, before taking the train back to Delhi and then flying back to the US.

Here are some of our photos from the trip. (Because of the length of this trip, I am breaking the photos up into several different pages. This first section is of our day in Beijing on the way to Tibet.)

1) No tanks were visible this day but here is Jonna standing her ground at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

2) The final resting place of Mao Zedong, The Great Helmsman. After Mao died in 1976, his body was embalmed and now on display in this Mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.

3) This is the main gain entering the Forbidden City. There is a famous painting of Chairman Mao hanging above this gate which Alan is attempting to impersonate in the foreground.

4) This is a panorama shot from inside the Forbidden City.

5) A somewhat artsy shot inside the Forbidden City. This is a corner photo of the Palace of Heavenly Purity.

6) The dragon throne inside the Palace of Heavenly Purity in the Forbidden City. Most of these main halls have been stripped of their furnishings but the smaller rooms on the side courts are still displayed as they were at the time of the Qing dynasty (the last to live in the Forbidden City).

7) Even the divine Emperor must have loved a good cuppa joe before getting down to the business of running an empire...there is a Starbucks located right in the main court.

8) Jonna at the entrance to the Hall of Abstinence. However, the Qing Emperor was more hardcore than the US abstinence supporters. The Emperor not only abstained from sex for two days but also didn't drink wine or eat onions, chives or garlic during his time of restraint. It is also worth mentioning that the Emperor was apparently lazy because he built this Hall in the Forbidden City so he didn't have to make the trip to the Temple of Heaven where the real Hall of Abstinence was located.

9) The relative importance of buildings inside the Forbidden City is indicated by the number of animals figures displayed on the corners of the building's roof. There are three roofs shown in the photo, the top with five figures, the middle with three and the lower with one. The most important buildings had ten figures. Note that the Starbucks ranked a seven...the Emperor sure did love his coffee.

10) Another artsy shot. This beautiful metal swan vase was on display in one of the courtyards in the northwestern portion of the Forbidden City.

11) Yet another artsy shot. These bicycle trucks are all over Beijing. In fact, they are all over China.

12) The Yonghe Monastery, also known as Lama Temple, was originally the home of a Qing Dynasty Emperor. However, it was converted into a Tibetan Buddhist monstastery in 1744 when Tibetan Buddhism was made the official religion of the Qing Dynasty rulers. This complex of buildings is located in the northeastern corner of the Beijing. We decided to walk to it from the Forbidden City, something that taught us the deceiving nature of the scale of Beijing city maps. This is a photo of one of the many courtyards inside the monastery.

13) Another photo inside the Lama Temple. Note that the roof top of this temple has nine animal figures on the corner, making in second in importance only to the main government buildings found in the Forbidden City.

14) Naturally, Alan took a lot of pictures of motorcycles on this trip. This one is pretty cool because it is a Chinese made copy of a 1940s Germany Weirmacht BMW motorcycle. At the end of WWII, the Russians took the tooling from the BMW plant in Berlin. They then sold copies of this tooling to other Communist countries, including China. Thus the existence of this relatively new copy of a WWII era BMW motorcycle that we saw on the streets of Beijing.

Go forward to the second '06 Tibet Photo Page.

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Alan Fleming