Lhasa: A Map of Our Old Haunt

While in Lhasa I sketched out a map of the city in my battered leather journal. It’s an outrageously inaccurate map, containing such trivial sites as “the place where we always bought water from the woman with horrible teeth,” “the place the cop lost control of his motorcycle and went into a slide,” and “the place Sam always wanted to go shop in because it had pretty paper lanterns hanging outside.”

I’m not sure if anyone other than Sam and Kristy will get anything out of this (or if they will even get anything out of it), but click on the pic and then mouse over the notes to see the captions.

Lhasa Map

The following are a few items that deserve some more explanation:

A shop with one of my favorite Butchered English On T-Shirts (And Some Other Places Too)!!! of all time: Go on Expedition Outdoors Sell Shoes Particularly.  It’s the “particularly” at the end that really does it for me.

The corner of Beijing Dong Lu and Shopping Street was the site of so many memorable moments:

It was where Sam and Kristy were almost killed when their rickshaw driver pedaled across the street and tried to go up on the sidewalk, didn’t have enough momentum, rolled back down into the street, made a last desperate effort to get up on the sidewalk, went limp with exhaustion, and allowed their rickshaw to roll lazily backwards into the oncoming traffic.  The girls screamed while I laughed at them.

The corner was also where an entrepreneurial Tibetan tried to sell us some sort of handheld automatic broom thing by putting on a little street-side informercial.  Here’s how it went:

“Don’t you hate it when you spill a bunch of corn kernels on your carpet?!”  *throws kernels on fabric-covered box on his lap.*

“They are so hard to clean up!!!”  *recklessly paws at kernels with hand, scattering them across the box.*

“If ONLY there was some easier way!!!”  *desperate eyes.*

“Well now there is!!  With the new, patent-pending, handbrushrollerbroomvacuum!!!!!!”  *displays the roller with a flourish.*

“Look how easy it is to use!!”  *rolls the thing across the box, sending half of the kernels flying into the air and onto the ground.*

“All cleeeeeeann!!!!”  *TADAAAAAAAA*

“That will be ten dollars.”

He didn’t actually speak to us, but we couldn’t stop laughing at how his little demonstration made him look like that sham-wow guy with the Madonna microphone.  Except where the sham-wow gets the coke off the floorboards even through the carpet (shamWOW!!), this guy just wiped all the crap off of the box onto the floor.  Still, I wish I had bought one.

Thirdly, the corner was also the worst smelling area in the entire city.  We couldn’t figure out why.  But we passed it so many times it became reflex to close my mouth and slowly exhale through my nose to ensure that not a single particle of awful smell entered my body.  If only there were a way to exhale out your ears, too.  Since the tourist shop on the corner was called “The Source of Tibetan Wonders,” we started calling the corner “The Source of Tibetan Putrid Smells.”  We are very creative.

Finally, the map indicates the spot where we saw, every day, at any time of day, without variance, an incredibly fat woman sitting in the same place.  Every day.  In another example of our supreme creativity, we called her “The Fat Lady.”


9 Responses to “Lhasa: A Map of Our Old Haunt”

  1. April 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    You. Are. Hilarious. : )

  2. 3 Kristy
    April 15, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    i miss kailash 😦 the first room, not the lame substitute room.

  3. April 16, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I would NEVER think to do this!! How fantastic! The more you write, the more I realize how similar the world’s places are. At first they appear to be so strange, yet all the familiar elements are there – right down to the sidewalk salesmen. Since you were there so long, you really got to experience life there as the people do and could take the time to notice all the oddities as well as the beauty. I can see you and the ‘gang’ laughing at this maps well into your golden years! 🙂

    • April 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

      thanks tracy! i was thinking for days about how to deal with this map and its silly little places that can’t really stand on their own – figured a verbal description alone would be too abstract for most of them. i wish you didn’t have to click through to flickr, but i still like it.

      i agree about being there for so long! i love getting to know an exotic place so well that you develop little nicknames and inside jokes and making friends with people.

      • April 16, 2010 at 10:56 am

        Going to Flickr is well worth the ride! 🙂

        I imagine it also makes it harder to leave. Do you think there were people there who missed you when you left?

        Like, maybe, just maybe, there is some Tibetan showing a similar map but HIS says “place where I saw giant white dude.” 😉

      • April 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm

        hahahahahah!!! that’s AMAZING. it would make my year if that were true.

        i can tell you, there is a young girl in croatia who is harboring a five year crush on me, as evidenced by the love note she wrote in my journal. but i think that trip is a separate blog.

      • April 17, 2010 at 5:32 am

        I look forward to reading about your croatian adventure…:-)

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