August 7th: Baiyu (白玉) to Dege (德格).

We left Baiyu in the early morning and chose to head for Dege. In the car with us was a Miao lady, who was very demanding, and two women with a baby who had come to us the night before begging for money during our dinner. The little bit of scenery I did see on this leg of the trip was gorgeous. We were driving down the highway when a small village popped up on the left, we were heading north, and carved into the side of a giant rock was the words “Tibet” (西藏) in Chinese. We stopped and took some pictures seeing as this might be the closet I’ll ever get to Tibet, I could have swim across the river and been there. At the time of writing the area known as Tibet was open to foreigners IF you first got an entry permit, this is different than the PRC visa, and had a government approved tour guide, these tours usually result in temple temple temple lake temple shops…lots of shops which I don’t want to pay for. We did get stopped at a checkpoint on this leg and had to get out and give them our information, this really is a very small inconvenience. We arrived in Dege and I gave the driver 150 yuan, it was 120 yuan, and he tried to hand me only ten back and I told him that this was wrong, we argued about this for about two minutes until he stopped and did the math… We checked into a hotel on the way out of town and dropped off our bags. Dege is famous for its print house. The print house really is a must see when in Dege if you can catch them printing the sutras. They are printed by using a paddle that has the sutra carved into it and is wiped down with ink, paper placed on the paddle, and a roller rolled over the paper to press it against the paddle all by hand. They are able to make copies with the speed of a well-oiled machine. I started to think today that I might be able to say “Welcome” in Tibetan since we are hearing it from everyone; Tibetans are a very friendly people.

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