We spent the morning at Drepung Monastery - it was beautiful, but I'm just about all mosasteried out. The insides of all of them are starting to look identical, and it seems that we here the same stories again and again. Drepung is the largest monastery in Tibet. Before the Chinese came it had 10,000 monks in residence, today it has 740. The most interesting part was the kitchen - it was a huge atmospheric chamber looking like a cross between a medieval dungeon and Frankenstein's laboratory. While we were there the monks came to pick up one of their daily rations of hot water (they get three) - it was incredible to watch several hundred monks gather with their two liter vacuum flasks - and even more impressive to watch the kitchen monk expertly fill them with a giant copper ladle from the vat of boiling water.
We spent over three hours at the monastery then drove back to Lhasa proper. We had an hour off before our afternoon tour - I decided to skip lunch and spent the hour relaxing in my room. At three I went to meet the group at the Jokhang Temple on Barkhor square. Again - it was pretty, beautiful, all the standard adjectives, but mostly just more of the same. The Jokhang was built it the fourth century and lots of it is still original - that is impressive! There's also a statue of the Buddha that was supposedly blessed by Buddha himself before he ascended to Nirvana. All very interesting, but there's been a bit too much tour stuff over the last week and I was really itching by end of the two hours.
After the tour Nima (the guide) made arrangements to meet us at the hotel at six and the rest of us explored the roof of the temp. The view out over Barkhor Square, the old town, and to the Potala Palace was amazing. As the perfect cap to the atmosphere there was some kind of festival involving about fifty male and female dancers on one of the near by roofs. There was no music, only their singing and thumping sticks. Just perfect...
At six we all met up again at the hotel to pick up our plane tickets, arrange airport transport (at six am!), and say goodbye. After getting all the business done I left the group and went to use the internet, but I couldn't due to a power failure caused by street construction (so not likely to be fixed soon). Instead I went for diner and read. After I finished diner I went for a walk in the evening light (it doesn't get dark until well after eight). I found another internet cafe up the road from the hotel and got on the net for an hour. While on the net I realized that I had somehow lost all the digital photos I had taken before getting to Lhasa - I still had the thumbnails, but the large images were gone - and I have no way of restoring more than the two or three I specially saved - about 60 images from Tibet are gone! I walked back to hotel in the pouring rain - it wasn't cold out but the rain itself felt to be near freezing - it was very cold. Back in the room I packed, showered, and just generally prepared for tomorrows 5:15 wake up call.