I was going to cover up that I'm talking about Tibet in this post, but then I realized that China is already blocking my blog. What do I care if their computer robots see the word Tibet? I still liked the sound of "Tiblet", though, so I kept it in the title.
A few days ago we decided to go to a Tibetan place for dinner. I think that says a lot about the current state of things here. Sure, there are cops cars with their lights flashing that just sit along Tibetan street outside of school, and they didn't use to be there, but that's the only change and it's just to be an impressive display. I haven't even seen official-looking people in or around the cop cars. Although I do have to say, now that I'm in a place where I'm above the average in terms of size, seeing Chinese policeman without even guns (policemen don't carry guns here) makes me much less intimidated than if they were the size of the guys on UF's football team. I'm not going around being rebellious just because I'm taller than the policemen, but it is kind of fun to observe.
Well, we decided to go to a Tibetan restaurant because it was Collin's birthday and the birthday person always decides. We didn't make up our minds until about 8:00, though, so after casually disregarding the idea that the restaurants might already be closed, we made our way to school.
When we got there, we happened to run into two people we knew who were hanging out with a Tibetan. Since none of us knew where to go (I'd been to a Tibetan place, but I didn't remember how to get there) we asked them for directions to a good restaurant. Somehow the person leading our group heard that we were supposed to turn right at a certain intersection instead of left, though, and we wandered about fifteen minutes the wrong way.
When we finally found the place we had been told about, it was closed. We wanted to give up, but that wouldn't leave us any less hungry, so we kept walking and happened to find a different Tibetan place that was open.
There were a few Tibetans eating when we came in, so they led us upstairs to the table or two they had there. After we ordered, Collin set in on his birthday beer and the other five of us drank whatever we had asked for. I didn't know that Sprite had been ordered for the table, so I submitted my small glass to something alcoholic, which I was forced to finish before I could have some Sprite.
After waiting for a while, we noticed the TV set in the corner playing Tibetan music videos. There were lyrics in a slanted Tibetan script and laments over lost Tibetan lovers—or at least that's what it looked like.
The longer we watched, though, the more of a difference we noticed between American music videos. There are all kinds of music videos out there, but the ones we saw took the cake: as the Tibetan pop star faded out, you could see them slaughtering yak. Each scene was a different animal. One woman grabbed a little furry cat-like animal by the tail, swung it around to get some momentum while it tried to resist, and then whacked its head on the ground. During all this peaceful Tibetan songs were being sung.
The food itself was amazing. Everything you order at a Tibetan place has yak in it, but they cook it a different way. The yak slivers they had was seasoned particularly well, and we all really liked it. And then we left, and that was our experience with Tibetans recently.
Tonight Alex and I fly to Guiyang, and I don't know if we'll be able to find hotels with hot water on our trip, let alone places where I can get online, so count yourself lucky if there are any posts before Sunday.