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Friday, March 16, 2012

TIBET: Culture at the Edge Devotion, Development & Climate Change by Phil Borges, March 16, 2012


TIBET: Culture at the Edge Devotion, Development & Climate Change

TIBET: Culture at the Edge Devotion, Development & Climate Change

Itook my first trip to Tibet in 1994 to collect interviews and portraits for my book Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion. When I returned in 2009, I could barely believe the amount of development that had happened. When I flew to Lhasa fifteen years before, my 737 from Katmandu was nearly empty. This time I arrived from Beijing on an Airbus 330 with every seat filled! The road from Lhasa’s new modern airport was now paved and went through a new tunnel and set of bridges that cut 45-minutes off the trip. As I approached Lhasa, the highway divided. What I remembered as a rough two-lane road, which ran through town and hosted an occasional vehicle, was now a six-lane highway full of taxis, SUVs, trucks and buses. Other than the Potala Palace that loomed above the town, I hardly recognized any of the buildings.