We got to Lhasa yesterday around 1:30pm. A graduate of YUST met us at the airport, which was really nice. Everything has been a lot easier because of her. We took the 1.5 hour bus trip into town (Lhasa airport is supposed to be the furthest municipal airport from its city.) Our friend had reserved us a hotel. We checked in and went up to the third floor. That's when we first really felt the effect of low oxygen at high altitude. After three flights with my luggage, I was dizzy. It only seemed to really affect me, though, when I climbed stairs. It's also quite dry here, so we've been going through a lot of water.
One of our group decided to rest for the afternoon and adjust to the altitude. Two of us and our friend decided to go out for something to eat and to get a feel for the city. I can't post pictures because this computer doesn't have a hookup for my camera, but I will post a lot when I get back. The city has so much character, even though a lot of Chinese influence has come in, there is a lot of Tibet still here. The markets are amazing. Endless alleys full of prayer flags, beautiful clothes imported from India and Nepal, jewelry, monk attire, incense, yak butter.... There are a lot of tourists, but no lack of interesting locals walking the Barkhor prayer circuit around the temple, fingering prayer beads or swinging their round prayer containers (not sure what you call them).
We are headed out in two days to go to the Mount Everest base camp and other sites along the way. Very exciting!