Day 2 – Evening (Carrot Swan)

August 3rd, 2007 § 5

Paul and I completely forgot to eat today. It was nearly 9pm before we realized we’d only had one bowl of plain rice each! It’s not so easy to eat vegetarian in this town. We ordered spicy beans at lunch and we got spicy beans…with pork. We ordered eggplant tonight at dinner and we got eggplant…with pork (should’ve seen that coming). But in the end it was all redeemed by this lovely, artful carrot swan that graced our plate of mixed vegetables…and only mixed vegetables.

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In all seriousness though, the last two days have been so intense we’ve both been running on pure adrenaline. It’s such a strange thing to be here in this place that appears so free and normal on the surface and yet to be so freaked out and paranoid about these seemingly harmless things we’re doing like sightseeing, taking photos and expressing our opinions. We keep slipping up and saying “Tibet” or “Tibetan” in public. When one of us does this, we usually freeze and look around without moving or try to pretend it’s no big deal and keep gabbing on and on with neither of us really listening.

Tonight we thought it was all over when we returned to the train station to get our luggage and saw two policemen standing next to the counter.

“They weren’t here in the morning, right? Why else would they be here now? And look at all these shifty men in plain clothes smoking and staring at us. For sure this is it for us.” So we stopped, collected ourselves and then walked straight up to them together. “Wrong bag check,” said the woman behind the counter when we handed her our tags. She pointed down the platform to the right one.

Those cops weren’t there for us at all. Whew. We felt relieved for a minute but then I thought “they’ll probably be waiting for us when we get back to the hotel.” I hope not…

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