Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tibetans' Revenge

We had two more stops to make on the last day of our trip: Drigung Til Monastery and Ganden. I had already seen it, but Kirk and Erica had not, and anyway I was more than happy to go back. In the end we did not go into Drigung Til, as they forbade tourists to walk the kora which for Kirk and I was the main attraction of the monastery. I had developed something of a kora addiction, because they often had a lot of great scenery and interesting things to look at. Kirk really wanted to take a look at Drigung Til’s sky burial site, which was supposedly the largest in the Lhasa region. Unfortunately too many other tourists had also wanted to see the site and tried to crash sky burials, so the authorities forbade tourists to go to the site, and there to walk the kora which the site was on.
On our way back toward Lhasa we passed two cars parked by the side of the road. Nearly ten Tibetans were standing around, holding rocks and bottles and looking really pissed. Several of them were arguing with another man, who turned out to be the driver of the other truck. Several other Tibetans were climbing all over this other man’s truck. Losang got out to check out the situation and to try to mediate. When he came back he explained what was happening. The lone man’s truck had sideswiped the other truck and knocked off one of its rearview mirrors. The gang of angry-looking men wanted money from the lone man, who it turned out was Chinese. For some reason he couldn’t pay them and they were threatening to beat him. As we started to leave the Chinese man came up to our car to talk to Losang.
“Can you take me with you?” he asked, pleadingly. “I’m afraid they’ll beat me, and there isn’t a police station for miles.”
“No, sorry,” said Losang. “We can’t fit another person.”
“Are you sure? What if they beat me?” The man sounded a little more desperate than before.
“Oh, don’t worry, they won’t beat you,” Losang reassured him in a not-entirely-convincing voice. “Just wait for the police to come.” At that we left him.

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