Friday, June 02, 2006

Lhasa Leftovers

Just a few random Tibetan moments:

1. The only drunk in town - Our last night in Lhasa we headed to a Tibetan bar, which was recommended by our driver. A tough place, inside there were monks drinking in the corner (rough day boys?), loads of Tibetans dressed in bad Western clothes pounding back bottles of Jack Daniels and Tibetan pop performers wailing away on stage. We were greeted with curious stares because we were the only Westerners.

After a few Lhasa beers ("The beer from the roof of the world") a filthy sixty year old toothless Tibetan man wearing a cowboy hat sat himself at our table. Not one for buying drinks, the man was carrying a large jug of his own homemade liquor, which he was consuming at an alarming rate. The waitress informed us that he was the town drunk and that they tolerated his presence as long as he behaved himself.

Of course, being the only Western woman in the bar, within five minutes the town drunk had asked me to dance. Now, this was not a bar where people danced. There was a singer on stage, but everyone was seated watching the performance. So when the 60 year old dragged me onto the "dance floor" everyone began to laugh insanely. Me and the town drunk suddenly became the entertainment. How do these people find me?

2. Yaks - Are they the coolest animal or what? WAY better than penguins. Yaks are now number 1. Reasons why yaks kick ass:

a) Yak burgers are the tastiest thing I have ever eaten. I want to start a Yak burger restaurant in Canada.
b) You can ride yaks (at least this is what I have been told - we tried to find one for me to ride, but the farmers we met didn't understand our lame miming)
c) Yak butter! Tibetans use this in their tea and at buddhist temples (although, I have to say that butter tea is disgusting). I don't know how they make yak butter but it is awesome.
d) The word yak makes for excellent new slang - "It's yakey!" - something is cool. "Yaki!" - a greeting. "Yak you!" - not a nice thing to say to someone. "It's Yak-tastic!"...
e) Yak fur is incredibly versatile. Yak clothes are going to be the in-thing this fall. Yakinis, yak underwear, yak jeans, yaktinis to drink?....just wait. Can you say trend?
f) Yaks are the hardest working animals in town - not only can you wear their fur, make butter from them, ride them and eat them, you can also plough your farm. So versatile!

3. What is the deal with Tibetan "toilets"? - Easily the worst toilets in the world - they top anything I saw in India, Ecuador or China. These are not toilets. These are black holes of filth and waste. And why does it seem so difficult for the Tibetans to hit the actual holes? No one likes to try to navigate a floor of shit and urine.

It's certainly an experience when you are in a "bathroom" and there is no door. I now know that it's hard to pee when little kids are staring at you and people are passing you - walking by with their yaks, sitting around staring at you and begging for money.

And, if you are fortunate enough to have a door that sheilds you from the outside world, inside you get to share the hole with everyone. And Tibetans like to watch you pee. It's fascinating to them for some odd reason. I think they wonder if Westerners pee differently than them. Just for the record, we don't. In fact, this forcefully brought home the message that we humans - regardless of race, country and religion - are all the same. How's this for a slogan for world peace - "One world. One way of peeing!"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Della,

Im Chris and Im just hanging out with Hooper here watching the world japan...

Nice site by the way...

Keep up the good work !

10:58 AM  

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