Throughout China, parks and common areas are used--actually used as opposed to just looking pretty-- for singing, dancing, art work, tai chi. Without apology and without embarrassment. Lhasa is no exception. In this park the locals of all ages gather daily and they dance. The music changed, and the dances would change--they all knew the steps, learned since childhood.
Monks in the middle set a tone of joyful exuberance, and the sight of this amazed me. It reminded me of David dancing naked for the Lord. A sense of joy and unity that was unfettered by hidden agendas and personality. Here it surprised me even more, because these are an oppressed, watched, monitored people, who despite their politics still find the heart to dance. Although I don't think it is their intent, I can't think of a better way to send a message to their "protectors" than to dance.
The religion of Tibet in large part defines Tibet. I expected to see and buy Tibetan prayer flags. I didn't find any. What I saw everywhere in Tibet, and more so than anywhere else in China, were the Chinese flag and thousands of smaller flags commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the PRC. And police. And cameras, and drones, and military and swat vehicles lining the streets. October 1 was the big day, and efforts could be seen in most cities preparing for the holiday. Tibet was the most decked out, and least supportive of the event.
I found out that it is not permitted to fly the Tibetan flag in Tibet. Our Tibetan guide looked at us kind of funny when he said that. Like, "what don't you get?"
The best food in China was in Tibet. This is the only picture I was able to get of a yak. Can you find it? They are raised like cattle in Tibet. Their dung is collected to fuel their cook stoves. At 10,000 feet, Lhasa is above the tree line. This flat valley, almost a river delta the way the river meanders and splits and spreads across, goes from one set of mountains to the other. You can see their efforts at planting trees across this delta. I'd guess they seldom grow to maturity with the winter runoff.
Anyway we ate yak burgers (I am so glad that as an American I can say that burgers are a part of my culture) that were excellent, although there were no pickles or cheese.