After a 2 hour bullet train with scenic villages, some napping, and lots of snacking, we made our way to a bus station. We put all our bags in a big pile, walked around and explored for a little bit, got some food, and then finally we were off. Much to everyone’s suprise, what was supposed to be a 5 hour bus ride turned into about 3 hours. Still not quite sure how that happened, but hey, I’m not complaining.
After lots of sleeping, stopping at a humongous bathroom stop, and almost losing Diego to another bus (I think he was trying to escape), we made it to the small city of Xiahe located on the far eastern border of the Tibetan region. We settled into our lovely, mainly wooden hostel, and then went out for dinner accompanied by some old friends of our Dragons Instructors. We sipped on Yak tea, ate loads of dumplings, and talked for hours. Eventually, we made our way back, and climbed into our beds.
At sunrise, I, along with a few others, was up. It was time to go to Labrang Monastery. It was about a 15 minute walk through the small city until we reached it. Walking along the borders of it, spinning prayer wheels, and hearing locals pray under their breath while carrying special beads, I was hypnotised. Also a bit tired, but that’s beside the point.
At some point in our walk, we discussed how the whole community came together to pray. Everyone seemed to be friends at the Monastery. Greeting one another, laughing, and of course, praying.
It was absolutely beautiful.
Today it seems that for so many people, religion can be a divisive force, but in Xiahe, it was the complete opposite. Perhaps it was because everyone can walk around at their own pace and pray however they like, or perhaps it’s simply the philosophy of Buddhism that draws everyone together.
I now sit in the hostel at a small table with this computer, typing away while I hear the rain. We’re all preparing for our homestay coming up tomorrow in the Sangke Grasslands.