Hello from Lhasa

A little bit more about our Shai Bar Ilan tour….

Our trip has taken us to Yunnan Province– to the cities of Kunming, MiLe (where we stayed at a most magnificent resort spa, each building of which is surrounded by water), YuanYang (where we saw the rice terraces and visited a village of Hani people), JianShui (where we visited the Zhu Family Residence and the famous Confucian Temple), Dali (where we walked through the beautiful old town), Lijiang (where we visited the famous Mu Residence, the park surrounding the Black Dragon Pool, and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge), Weixi, Deqin (where we rode on mules up to see the glacier adjacent to Mount MeiLi), Shangri-La (where we took a jeep tour of the nearby village and entered one of the villagers’ homes in the Valley haNafa and on Saturday evening went to the main square to watch the folk dancing). There was so much more that defies description. Imagine a city that has one major road running through it. Imagine that if you leave the city in one direction, you have a 1.5 hour ride along the sides of mountains on a winding two lane road to the nearest place (in this case the approach to Mei-Le Mountain) and if you leave the city in the other direction, it is an 8 hour ride along similar winding roads with hairpin turns on the sides of mountains to the nearest sign of civilization. Imagine the most magnificent scenery that you could possibly see and understand that for the entire 8 hours, we didn’t want to keep our eyes open because of the hairpin turns on the sides of the mountain, but at the same time, didn’t want to miss one second of the scenery. We met, during the trip Chinese people who resided in the cities and in the small towns we stopped at. We learned about the cultures of several Chinese ethnic minorities. We saw their colorful dress, heard their beautiful music, and watched them dance together.

After traveling through beautiful Yunnan Province, we left by plane for Lhasa, Tibet, which is a very interesting and beautiful city. We have visited many sites that are holy to Buddhists and have learned about Buddhist customs and beliefs. We have seen the pilgrims walking through the streets, three steps at a time and then prostrating themselves only to rise and walk three more steps and prostrate themselves again. Some have traveled this way for as long as a year by foot to come to their holy places. We have visited the magnificent Potala Palace set on a hill in the center of the city. The city resides in a flat valley surrounded on all sides with mountains. The scenery here is magnificent. When we arrived, the mountains surrounding the city were snow-capped, but after the two days of warm sunny weather that we were privileged to experience, all of the snow is melted.

We still have two more days before we return home, but there aren’t enough words to describe the experience. We learned, we climbed, we met wonderful people, we sang, we spent pleasant hours together and we have made memories that will last a lifetime.

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