We arrived on July 19th to start building our eco-community center. We are tucked 12,000 feet up in the Amdo region of Tibet. Let me clarify. What the Amdo region means is that we are not on the Tibetan plateau but greater Tibet – where the population is primarily Tibetan, and the language and culture is Tibetan. However, the Amdo region is geographically in China (we are on the border between Gansu and Sichuan provinces). I want the opportunity to say that we still consider this as Tibet. In fact the current Dali Lama was found in the Amdo region.
Anyways, as I was saying we arrived on July 19th – the group flew from all over China to Chengdu where we embarked via bus up the mountain twelve hours. After waking up at 5 am and getting to the bus station, of course the bus was cancelled. So we, along with what seemed to be the rest of everyone on our bus, rented vans and ascended the mountain. My first glance of the spiritual Tibetans was the van driver praying and lighting brush in the van with the smoke billowing up to images of the Dali Lama…while driving.
We mostly slept, listened to podcasts, and snacked on that drive. We then got to Zoige where we had a dinner and searched for a bathroom. Only an hour and a half away from Lhamo, we were passed off to another driver. She was a female Tibetan and it was my first glimpse of how women here are seen doing what many would consider “a man’s job”. For me, the most shocking of all is when you see women carrying 100-lb bag of rocks into vans or building roofs with colorful skirts and beautiful hair.
After seeing incredible vistas, we arrived at 11pm and settled into our hostel where we will stay for the remainder of our five weeks here. We were introduced to what would become our close friends at the hostel and were too exhausted to do anything but go to sleep.