Adrienne had always wanted to go to Tibet. Ever since childhood, when she had read books about the Dali Lama and the monasteries and temples, and the mountains, she had a powerful yearning to visit. And the opportunity arose! Her husband surprised her on her fiftieth birthday with a return ticket to Tibet with a tourist party.
They arrived at Lhasa and the plane circled the airport for an hour because the military were holding some sort of exercise. But when they eventually stepped off the plane, goodness! No air! No oxygen! How do people breathe up here? Adrienne was immediately struck down with altitude sickness.
For the first three days she mainly lay on her bed gasping for air. She phoned her husband back home. On the fourth and final day Adrienne decided she had to see something. She walked down the street. It was very third world. The military were everywhere. Adrienne took a photo with her phone. Two men appeared. The phone was confiscated.
Adrienne was never so relieved to step on a plane. She had fulfilled her lifetime ambition. Why the Chinese wanted to keep this hellhole was anyone’s guess.