Tibet (Day 15) – From Drikung to Back to Lhasa 5 July 2009

Our poignant departure from the Drikung Valley once again featured the kata scarves, tsampa-and-beer, finger-flicking-and-drinking-ritual of our ‘formal’ arrival celebration, but with significantly more laughing and hugging and forehead touching (I don’t think I have mentioned that is also a traditional Tibetan greeting among friends). We have made life-long friends, and the originally shy young women were now relaxed and joking.

We will truly miss *every one* of these gracious and fun-loving family members, and will think of them in many ways as our own extended family. farewellKonchuk, who had set the standard for drinking the afternoon AND night before, was clearly suffering with a smiling face, and the young folks were merciless with him, insisting he finish off the beer bowl after it had done its rounds! (Poor fellow- he slept most of the way to Lhasa!)

In Lhasa, after being re-ensconced in our favorite Kyichu Hotel, Konchuk rallied to lead the five of us around the nearby Barkhor market to do some shopping, and we all were delighted to make some or all of the purchases we had anticipated. Alexandra’s insight from a dream was to acquire an authentic page of Buddhist scripture – hand-written Tibetan script (like Sanskrit) on waxed hand-made paper. I too could not resist, and cannot wait to get this beautiful piece of culture-art-history translated and framed.

We finished the evening with one last family dinner at Tsewang and Kesang’s beautiful home. Tsewang was *instrumental* all week in dealing with the authorities and smoothing our travel and entrance permits at the many places we visited. And as I have already mentioned, but worth mentioning again, Kesang is a superb chef, and we ate one last time like Tibetan royalty.