Asia in Retrospect – Final Post (Beijing, China)

And now, it is my last day in Beijing; I am finally ready to leave China, finally ready to go to Mongolia, to Siberia to Moscow on Trans-Siberian Railroad.  I have my tickets in my hand, my visas in my passport, and my plane tickets back to the US are already booked.  My journey across … Continue reading

I Climb Mt. Everest…Well, Not Quite (Everest Base Camp, Tibet)

I awoke early the next morning like a child on Christmas morning, curious to discover Everest and half-expecting to have some spiritual revelation once I saw the place where earth meets the heavens.  After 27 cups of yak butter tea, I was ready to go but my teammates were nowhere to be found.  I was … Continue reading

Onwards to Everest (Tibet)

We stayed the night in Shigatze and spent the next morning applying for travel permits to Mt. Everest.  Tibet is a land of permits, a world of restrictions.  We needed three permits for our trip: one for Lhasa, one for outside Lhasa, and one for Mt. Everest.  Military Checkpoints every hour.  No getting out of … Continue reading

Leaving Lhasa (Tibet)

  After three days in Lhasa we were ready to explore the rest of Tibet.  Ferguson, Kiwi Kevin, Tripp the German, little Mitori and I jumped in the Land Cruiser and set off on the two-day journey to Mt. Everest. We departed early in the morning with the intention of visiting a holy lake, a … Continue reading

The Dalai Lama’s Palace (Lhasa, Tibet)

The most enchanting place in Lhasa may be the Jokhur Temple, but the place that best embodies the image of Tibet, the peaceful Buddhist kingdom on the top of the world, is the Potala Palace.  The enormous white and red palace sits atop the Red Hill like a crown smiling benevolently over all of Tibet … Continue reading

Controversy on the Tibetan Plateau

“The main reason Tibet is so undeveloped and un-Chinese – and so thoroughly old-fangled and pleasant – is that it is the one great place in China that the railway has not reached.  The Kun Lun Range is a guarantee that the railway will never get to Lhasa.  That is probably a good thing.  I … Continue reading

Into Jokhur Temple (Lhasa, Tibet)

Dawn in Lhasa is magical.  From midnight to 7:30 AM silence sweeps across the growing city.  The bars power down, the taxis stop honking, cars are parked, the streets empty of pedestrians, and the city sleeps. Lhasa is surrounded by high, protective mountains and the rising sun’s beams are blocked so that daylight creeps slowly … Continue reading

Tibet – First Impressions (Lhasa, Tibet)

The most memorable aspect of Tibet is the sky.  The sky in Tibet is as blue and capacious as an ocean.  When I arrived in Tibet I felt as if I had landed on another planet, a magical land of brown hills hanging upside-down over the calmest of seas. I say the sky is simply … Continue reading

Couchsurfing in Lijang (Lijang, China)

Lijiang was far better than Dali.  Its old town was more charming and more authentic, and, once again, CouchSurfing had greatly enhanced my experience in Lijiang.  It was the first time I had actually surfed a couch, that is, the first time I had ever stayed with another CouchSurfer I had never met.  Until then, … Continue reading