Movie night

August 20, 2007

Asiemut DVD cover Last night my friends Gary, Lida and Dima came over to show us some movies they brought back from the Rhode Island Film Festival (where their film Happily Ever After won first place in the experimental category).

One of the movies they brought was Asiemut, a film by and about a Canadian couple riding their bikes 8,000 Kilometers from Mongolia to India. It was a great job for a first film and I enjoyed it enormously. It brought back many memories from our own trip and made me want to travel again. It also made me want to make a film. If you get a chance to see it an upcoming film festival, try and make it. Or you can buy their DVD online.

Tibet? You bet!

October 10, 2006

Mother and Child in Lhasa, Tibet in front of the Jokang templeWe have been in Lhasa, Tibet for a few days and I am having trouble sleeping. Perhaps it is the altitude, but I think it is because I just don’t want to close my eyes. Lhasa is a visual feast and I am gorging. We are staying just off the Barkhor, the main prayer circuit surrounding the Jokang temple, and every time I leave the hotel or look out the window I am captivated. The city is filled with pilgrims and nomads coming to visit the Potala Palace and the Jokang Temple. I am captivated by them. There are fantastic faces, and the clothing colorful and the backgrounds of prayer flags and ceremonial fires warm my heart.

I feel lucky to have seen Tibet now, because Tibet is in a time of transition. There is a new railway that connects Beijing to Lhasa and travel restrictions are easing. As a result, there are an enormous number of Han Chinese coming to visit Tibet. From the looks of the long lenses and trendy dress, today it is primarily the very affluent Chinese, but the trend is clear. Potala Palace, a generation ago the object of attempted destruction, is now overflowing with Chinese tourists.

We have befriended a Chinese born Canadian named Tina, that speaks fluent English and Mandarin. When we were at dinner last night I asked why she spoke to the waiter in English rather than Chinese, and she explained that his English, while somewhat limited, was better than his Chinese. The local language is Tibetan and the city’s second language had been English, not Chinese. That too is changing. At the Drepung Monastery we visited this morning the old signs are in Tibetan and English, while the new ones have added Chinese before the English.

Tomorrow Soyan, Tina and I are all headed on a six day overland trip through Tibet to see the more rural side of the region. We arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal on Oct 16th. I’ll likely be out of touch until then, but I have left you with some photos of Lhasa, Tibet.

I hope you enjoy them. It think it is my best work to date.