October 3, 2000 - Later
I had a good day. A little slow because of the altitude. Sometimes I get light headed. Like I got some aspirin, then later I noticed 4 aspirin laying on the bed. How did they spill out earlier without my notice? That's the altitude.
Today, I played guitar on the rooftop of the hotel. Lhasa is surrounded by beautiful mountains on all sides. From the hotels roof top you can see all of the mountains and a great view of the Potala. The Potala is the Palace in the famous movie, "Seven Years in Tibet". I played Guitar for hours from the rooftop.
Playing guitar in the altitude was a little bit like playing on acid. It was hard to focus. My brain was cloudy and my fingers were not moving right. Wow! I was looking at the Potala and the mountains! It was surreal and really great!
Later we went to the Jokhang. The Jokhang is the main temple in Lhasa. There is a large square outside the temple, where peddlers sell necklaces, incense, carpets, and such like. At the temple there were many tourists, mostly Chinese. They were quite rude to us for some reason. Except for the Chinese girls that seemed very interested in meeting Miles and John. I slipped away from all that, I went to the upper region of the inner temple to meditate. It was the most holy temple in Tibet. I sat on the ledge of the roof opening, meditating on the statues and altars below.
I was meditating in the most holy place that I could imagine, when suddenly I heard a girl giggling. I opened my eyes to see that a young Chinese couple had sat down on the ledge beside me. The girl was sitting cross legged like me, holding her hands in mock chin mudra, and giggling while she made some mock mantra sounds. I looked at them. They looked at me. Laughed at me, got up, and walked away.
I prayed that they would find enlightenment and then went back to my meditations. I had some really "good" meditations. Like Ram Dass joked, "I meditated really good!" I moved through some fleeting images of Chinese girls and then it was off into Buddha land. Different Buddhist images were flying in psychedelic tapestries. It was meditation that takes you where drugs can, but it is better done this way. No drugs, just meditation. Looking down I could see the temple with golden Buddhas and various other idols. I was there in the temple in Tibet, I was meditating, what else is there?
After a while I got up to walk around the roof top. I found a deserted corner of the upper temples roof. I was alone there, doing yoga. It was that last hour of warm sunshine. The mountains surrounded the city of Lhasa. A monk came and told me that I should go down to the chapel and watch the monks chant.
I went downstairs and hung out in the chapel with the Tibetan pilgrims. The monks chanted and prayed. It was so cool. I was tripping out on these streams of Buddhaland images. I followed the pilgrims around and they showed me what to do.
It started to rain after I left. I was outside and all these women were trying to sell me stuff. It was a little bit fun. But then I was mobbed. Because it was raining and I was the only fool out on the square, with darkness falling quickly upon us. I was mobbed and for about $24 in US Dollars, I bought 8 or 9 necklaces and bracelets. Some of them were actually made of turquoise and amber. Overall, I let them rip me off.
Some people in Tibet like to say "Hello", to Americans. We say, "Hello, How are you?" Then we repeat it, over and over again. Its the only English some people know.
We were told that some of the monks on the street are really undercover informants.