Well friends, tomorrow is the day! I take off on a train at Friday at 9:30 pm. Technically, tomorrow isn't really the most exciting day, since it will take about 50 hours to arrive in Tibet. Oh my God.
After 2 days of dirty hair and recycled air, we will arrive in pristine Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. Originally, we were going to travel to Qinghai and Gansu, provinces in Tibet, but we collectively decided that we wanted to spend our 10 day fieldwork trip in Lhasa. Because of all the political unrest in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region), our trip has to be quite structured. We must enter as "tourists" and are prohibited from doing any sort of research or fieldwork. We also must have a local tour-guide for the entirety of our stay. The one downside to going to Lhasa is we won't be allowed to do any home-stays. We will be staying in "hotels" for the 10 days we are there (based on our "hotel" the first weekend we arrived, I don't expect much!).
I'm sure that most of you are aware of the awful earthquake that hit Qinghai yesterday. It is quite lucky that we had decided to change our destination. A couple of us have spoken about trying to take a trip to Qinghai in a few weeks to help with the relief effort. Absolutely no planning has even been thought about, but it's definitely something we would like to look into. Since Minzu University hosts students from each of the 56 nationalities in China, there are many Tibetan students in the area, and I have many friends from the Qinghai provence. It's a horrible tragedy, so please keep Qinghai in your thoughts.
So, stay tuned for some incredible photos. At an altitude of almost 12,000 feet, my shots should be clear of that Beijing smog ;)