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Himalaya

Day 68: Lhasa

Michael Palin - HimalayaFrom the sublime to the ridiculous. We end our last night in Lhasa at 'JJ's' nightclub, whose red neon strip lighting pierces the night air, down on the square in the shadow of the Potala Palace. Conspicuous consumption is evident. Cars, some substantial, are drawn up at the door, while inside beers are ordered in 12-pack slabs and delivered by pretty hostesses to tables filled with anyone from Tibetan girls on a hen-night and Chinese businessmen entertaining clients to shifty groups of underworld heavies. It's a big place, dominated at one end by a deep stage on which, to the accompaniment of a bellowing, distorted soundtrack, a show erupts. Strobe lights, pulsating disco music and John Travolta lookalikes alternate with Tibetan folklorique in a raucous mish-mash of old and new. I suppose it represents what's happening in Lhasa now.

The power, the technology and the marketing is all Chinese, the past that is thrown into this mix is Tibetan.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 68: Lhasa
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Lhasa
  • Book page no: 164

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