TIBET 1988 : I was there. And now, here it is, for you, steemians !

in travel •  10 months ago


  1. Lhassa. Remember? I was there.
    The newspapers then held headlines highlighting the political conflict in Tibet ... Sweetened though compared to reality. But this article is not to stir the past pains : Let them sleep within the coils of time.


Simply this detail which, even today, tints my feelings with dark colors: Having lived with the Tibetans in their community, fully and completely, as I always do in all my travels, and, of course, Tibetan's like dressed, the Chinese authorities had confiscated my passport in Lhassa. They thought it was a fake passport that would have allowed me to leave Tibet. The way I recovered it worth a novel's subject... May be one day I would have the patience to write it down...

your Tiloupsa
Here, I will only relate little anecdotes of this 7 month trip in Asia, including 4 months spent with the Tibetans from June to September 1988 ... By alleviating the text as much as possible, in order to leave space for the visual emotion of the pictures taken with a Canon camera, of course, manual.


The Potala: A little anecdote that still today, makes me smile ... The main entrance of the palace is divided right and left, surrounding it like a belt. I had noticed that Tibetan pilgrims never entered the palace directly, but followed this corridor three full turns round, rolling their prayer wheel.

Regarding the traditions and in the will of respect, I took the corridor and turned around the palace in a very serious silence ...
but all the pilgrims I met laughed at my sight! I reviewed my dress, passed the sleeve on my nose, just in case, but still, everyone kept on laughing when meeting me. Actually, coming out of the corridor, I realized that I CROSSED all the pilgrims in front of me but none were in the same direction of my way.
So I understood that I took the road by the wrong direction : Indeed, everyone knows except Captain Haddock and me, that it is on LEFT that the three rounds of greetings to monuments must be taken.


Samya Temple : The oldest temple built in Tibet, it is said.

Arriving in this medieval village without running water or electricity, I landed in the only existing hostel. Very very dirty and dismal, it only offered a single room used as a dormitory and dining room.
I put my things there and go for a walk in the village. At my return, all my belongings were gone, not even an empty bag left.
It was my food supply for the roundtrip Samya / Lhasa.
A little bit despaired, I came back to the village where it was food tickets distribution time. A long line of villagers was waiting for the distribution at the doors of the temple. Lost and hungry, I looked at the line, eyes empty ... when a woman of about sixty pulled my sleeve and showed me the line where to queue. I told her, half Chinese half Tibetan, that I had been stolen all my food and I did not have any ration ticket. Without thinking for more than three seconds, she gave me hers! I was too hungry to refuse... knowing, for living with Tibetan families, that at the time, beyond gold and stones, these tickets were treasures as they were very precious.
This gift shall be erased from my memory only at the time of my death... or may be beyond this life for it is printed so deep in my heart.

From Lhasa to Katmandu : The local bus in which I could hide myself among the Tibetans (the way I regained my passport worth the enmity of the Chinese authorities who forbade me the territorial exit for the moment) broke down three quarters of the trip, near Tingri. Furthermore, the mountain road was demolished by bad weather. I had to hire Sherpas and together we did the rest of the trip on foot. On the map, the red portion was made on foot, counting 200 km, with a crossing through the Himalayan Range.

Not equipped for such a "hike", I arrived in Kathmandu in a state close to repatriation sanitary, infected and feverish. Took me a week in bed to recover and continue my trip... I still have the scars of leeches bites from this adventure.
At Katmandu, I recovered my "human form" and ready to fly back to Bangkok.


But no more readings : Here are some photographies from this long ago trip... not forgotten though.

Your Tiloupsa, in the Samye's land

Nearer. I finally passed the night in this wild sand land, not willing to spend a night in the horrible hostel where I have been stolen my belongings

a Samye road







  • the pilgrims attach their legs so as to make reverences by lying on the ground: They thus make kilometers before arriving in Lhasa *


To Népal


Meeting with some Tibetan nomads


Prayers given to the wind


Samye sands



THANK YOU for travelling with me : Hope you enjoyed !

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What an adventure! And beautiful photos. Brings back memories of when I visited Tibet in January 1996. We had a few adventures too, but not so many traumas.


thank you natubat ! hope you will find the time to post your adventures in Tibet ! 1996, I was in Viet Nam : my first return to roots after 22 years left away.


I definitely will... eventually! (now, where did I put those old photos...)
I look forward to reading your stories about growing up in Vietnam too :)

Wow oke really incredibly interesting very talented really amazing


you are here ! Thank you !

Thank you for the great photos. Trying to figure out the Tibet in 1988 from the photos. There are way too many visitors in Tibet now.


yes, too many visitors everywhere easy to go... as usual. But when there are no possibility for "tourist bus" run, then there is nobody. The thing is to find those places eventhough there are no monument to visit : just people and the country's soul within them. This is for me, the most important in travelling.

Merci. Merci. Merci. Vos photos sont magnifiques et les experiences que vous avez vécus hors du commun!
1988 really? I wonder if it has changed much since then. Apart from more cell phones and satellite dishes, I am hoping it has remained much the same.

The photo of the lady pilgrims attaching their legs was particularly striking to me. When I lived a couple of months in Nepal, I often went to the temples to observe... the worshippers did walk, kneel, lay, stand and repeat clockwise around the stupa, but I never noticed the rope attached to any of them... I wonder if that tradition has been slowly fading away or if it is maybe only done in Tibet.

Really happy to have found you here thanks to my mom @ofildutemps, and looking forward to more of your life stories.


Thank yo SO much, Osmosis for your encouragement ! for the worshippers, anyway, with or without a rope, I guess it is a good yoga exercice ;-)
I have seen photo from Samye in this year and it seems to be more "suitable" for tourists :-( but anyway, everything changes but memories... so, I cherish those and share. I'm really happy you have enjoyed ! MERCI encore !


Thank you joythewanderer for your support ! I'll visit your blog : your name is inspiring to me ;-)

Chinese had no right to seize and occupy Tibet. "The past pains" are not in the past until it's still going on.


agree with you, dear Nameless berk... but my post is not intended to be a political argue, it would be too complicated and would lead to nowhere. Actions are be done when they supposed to be useful and I don't have any element here to be useful on this field. Thank you for your support, dear traveller... and yes, pains are still here, all around the earth, you know it, as, you are a world wanderer ;-)

I read your story in one breath. You are such an adventurer!
Instant upvote and subscribe.


THANK YOU Blastik ! I'm visiting your blog right away... As you seem to like adventures, here :

Encore un beau voyage, merci !!


Merci à toi, Caro, d'être passée !

Quelle aventure incroyable. C'était en quelle année?


en été 1988... eh oui, ça ne nous rajeunit pas tout ça, mon bon Monsieur... héhé


En effet ! Dis moi, je vois que tu écris tes articles en français ET que tu fais une traduction en anglais sur un autre article qui est en copier/coller/traduit. Je fais la même chose. T'en penses quoi? Je ne trouve pas ça génial mais je n'ai pas trouvé mieux...


coucou Marc : oui, je fais un copier coller traduit mais en fait, je relis mon texte entièrement et c'est systématique que je remanie certaines phrases de A à Z, la traduction étant parfois une aberration sémantique. Du coup, ça fait un peu de boulot passé sur le clavier mais bénéficie secondaire : je révise mon anglais ! ben oui, faut trouver un petit quelque chose de positif dans toute corvée sinon, on meurt le foie étouffé de frustration, hi!hi!

Hello, your post was nominated for an upvote by a fellow within the Sndbox incubator. Thanks for sharing @tiloupsa. Steem on :D


How can I ever THANK YOU ? You have made my day, I'm so grateful... and touched. I'll keep on ! again, thank you for your encouragement !

it was great to travel with you :-) i lke to see these 'travels' to places i will probably never visit


why not ? life is full of surprises, isn't it ? Thank you for passing by...