Sunday, April 6, 2008


We watched a documentary about the history of Tibet from the Chinese invasion onwards. I have never seen such an attentive audience. It's especially amazing because almost none of these monks speak enough English to understand what is going on. Nevertheless, when Jigmey, the big farm boy with the big gold tooth, talked too loud, he got shushed by many around him.
I only heard three sounds from the monks during the movie:
1. clapping at footage of a dead Mao
2. the Eastern tongue of disapproval at harsh police beatings captured by journalists in the harsh crackdown in '89
3. giggling at the Free Tibet rock concerts filled with headbangers and hippies (which also made me chuckle, I'm so far removed from that aspect of my life that I could appreciate the silliness of it)

This was at the Tibetan incense factory where we stayed because of an unexpected rainfall. Unexpected because it only happens three of four times a year outside the monsoon. As our long train of 200 marchers entered the crowd, one of the curious bystanders asked, in all seriousness, what time the circus show began.

I slept on the Top of the World, a self labeled small veranda at the highest point of the tallest building, a massive three story structure dominating the landscape. Of all the strange places I have been sleeping on this march so I can be off by myself, this might have been my favorite one. Except for all of the monkey poop.

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