Day 11: G.I. Joe in Mandarin

Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple

It is weird to be in Tibet and doing little chores around town like it’s Sunday afternoon at home.  Today we went to a bookstore, the movie theater, and window shopping.  But for the Chinese soldiers camped out on every corner and losing my breath walking down the street, it would have been just like a weekend at home.

6:30a.m.*  Diamox time.  Thank god Sam got a prescription for way more than she needs, because yesterday I turned my open pill bottle over in a dirty stairway, spilling a bunch of pills on the mucky floor.  So smooth.

6:31a.m.  Back to sleep.

8:00a.m.  Sleeping.

10:00a.m.  Sleeping.  Wow, does adjusting to altitude make you tired.

11:30a.m.  Early lunch at Dunya.  By Tibet’s standards, this is a very nice restaurant.  It’s owned by some Europeans.  Had a ground yak burger.  Kinda liked it.

12:07p.m.  Rickshaws to the bookstore.  It’s amazing how much time you can spend in a place like a Tibetan bookstore just looking at stuff.  Almost bought a really expensive book, but didn’t.  Exciting, no?

1:15p.m.  Sitting in the lobby of the movie theater.  We’re gonna see G.I. Joe, but Sam isn’t sure what the dubbing/subtitle situation is going to be.  We are eating popcorn, and Kristy half-heartedly threw a piece at me from another couch.  It hit some Chinese guy in the knee and took a miraculous roll up into his crotch.  Awk-waaaaard.

2:00p.m.  Watching G.I. Joe.  It’s dubbed in Mandarin and there are no subtitles.  But I’m pretty sure I’m getting the gist.  Duke, good.  Cobra, bad.  Paris, destroyed.

4:00p.m.  Walking down what I’ve come to think of as the “shopping street”.  It juts down from Beijing Dong Lu, the street where our hotel is, and leads down to the Barkhor Square where the Jokhang temple is.

Beijing Dong Lu

4:12p.m.  Spot the most amazing piece of Butchered English On T-Shirts (And Some Other Places Too)!!! of all time.  The message is so amazing, it could easily be perfect English, not at all butchered.  There is stand selling hats with different colored brims, all loudly proclaiming: WE FUCK THE FAKESHIT.  I think I’ll buy some as gifts for when I get back to the states.

4:17p.m.  Stop in to watch a Tibetan man painting in his studio.  He is a really nice guy and speaks pretty good English.  He explained that he paints “thangkas”, which are Buddhist paintings of Buddhas and prayers.  If you can imagine a very bright, intricate painting of a Buddha with one thousand arms and an eye in every hand, this is a typical thangka.

Paintings cover every open space on the walls, and half-painted canvasses sit, stretched with string on wooden frames, on the floor.  He has a really huge square painting with concentric circles of blue and orange that I covet.  COVET.  But it’s really expensive.


Unfinished (Incredibly Intricate) Thangka

5:10p.m.  Eating dinner at a restaurant on a balcony overlooking Barkhor Square and Jokhang.  Amazing view.

View from Dinner

7:39p.m.  This is pretty late for us.  Either the altitude or the Diamox is making us really tired.  But we’re toughing it out  and getting out of the hotel at nighttime.  Back to Dunya for a nightcap and desert.  Never thought I’d be eating tiramisu in Tibet.

8:20p.m.  Back in our room.  We’ve been spending so much time resting and staring up at the ceiling that we’ve become fixated on the painting up there.  It involves rat-bears eating nipple-berries, and some various shriveled penises and grimacing vaginas.  All of the illustrations have a sort of anatomical gruesome-ness to them.  Weird.

Rat-bears, Nipple-berries, etc.

8:30p.m.  Goodnight.

*All times are approximate (read: invented).  I don’t actually keep a by-the-minute itinerary in my battered leather journal.


6 Responses to “Day 11: G.I. Joe in Mandarin”

  1. 1 kristy
    March 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    it must have been sometime around now that we discovered the Source of Tibetan Foulness/corner of putrid smells…

  2. 3 Sam
    March 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

    i’m a battered leather journal!a glutton.

  3. 4 Sam
    March 19, 2010 at 8:52 am


    i’m a battered leather journal glutton.

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