Tuesday, November 17, 2009
HIS HOLINESS, THE DALI LAMA
I have never come across any religious leader who has managed to capture the support of the youth in his country like the way the Dali Lama has. It amazes me when see fashionably dressed young guys with a time consuming hair style and they are not just talking about the Dali Lama, but "His Holiness, the Dali Lama". I've seen boy racers with souped-up Suzuki's, with all the usual junk you see stuck on the Honda Civics at home. Only here they have prayer beads hanging from the interior mirror and pictures of the Dali Lama on the car. Can you imagine the boy racers meeting up in the Maxol in Naas with rosary beads hanging from the mirrors and photos of John Paul II stuck to the window. I think not. Sadly, the police deleted my photos of the souped up Suzuki's with the Dali Lama during one of their random camera checks. You can delete the photos and deny his existence, boys, but the whole world is well aware of this great leader's efforts to solve Han Chinese occupation through peaceful means.
After 17 days on the road from Xining, we finally made it to the town of Luhuo on the northern Tibetan highway (Road 317) and the best thing about Luhuo was we found a hotel with a hot shower. It was badly needed and then it took 3 full days on a rocky dirt track to make it from Luhuo on the northern Tibetan highway to Yajiang on the southern Tibetan highway. The scenery may have been spectacular as we pedalled alongside a fast flowing river down through a gorge, but this 'road' was more suited to a mountain bike with full suspension, not a fully loaded touring bike. My poor Koga bicycle. She truely is in pain.Next morning we left the town of Yajiang and reduced (rather than solved) the squeaking and grinding throughout my bike. It was a utter brute of a day. 33KMs in mostly first gear; a 1900M altitude gain. Thats about 100M short of climbing Ireland's highest mountain (Carrantoohill) from sea level to summit twice. Its a race to reach Shangri-La or Lijiang. But with one day off in the last 3 weeks, both Markus and I are close to exhaustion. We hope to hit the town of Litang tomorrow evening and I've heard this town does a damn good yak steak. I'm looking forward to a night off the noodles.