Mopping up some remaining temples and parks in Beijing. The Temple of Heaven is the most famous temple in the world, says the Chinese guide. If you didn’t know that, kindly consider yourself informed now. It’s very pretty and harmonious. For the ancient Chinese, the earth is square and heaven is round, so there are many round temples here, with blue glazed tiered roofs, built on white terraces. The emperor held ceremonies here requesting a good harvest, and they sacrificed animals. I stood on the Supreme Ultimate Stone in the middle of it, I suppose all the other stones in the world are either less supreme or less ultimate, or both.

My Tibet expedition is all set. I have my permits and will pick up the train ticket later. Tonight I’ll be on my way to Lhasa, riding the train for 48 hours over passes in the Himalayas more than 5000 meters high. Tibet travel is tightly regulated, more so than in recent years: all my stops had to be approved, and I’ll have a guide at all times. I’ll spend two nights on the train, three nights in Lhasa, and one each in Gyatse, Shigatse, Tigeri, and Zhambir (sp?) on an overland jeep trip to Kathmandu in Nepal. I had to join a tour group, it can’t be done any other way. I am the only member of my group. For money they’ll sell anything.

Not sure what the Internet situation is in Tibet, I’ll try to blog if I can. Otherwise see you all in Kathmandu!