A SMOOTH ARRIVAL IN TIBET
Translate: Sae | Edit: Jowly
“How about this car model?” Gu Hai asked.
A luxurious SUV was displayed in front of Bai Luo Yin. It was the Land Rover Discovery 3 model that had just come out not too long ago.
Bai Luo Yin responded to the question with one of his own. “Why did you rent such an expensive car?”
“What do you mean rent?” Gu Hai leaned against the car door as his healthy and bright face concealed a small cunning smile. “This is brand new. I bought it.”
These words caused Bai Luo Yin to narrow his eyes slightly at Gu Hai. He examined the lines of his face in search of any sign of mischievous deeds. “Bought it? Where did you get the money for it?”
The unspoken implication behind his words was, ‘I thought you fucking handed over all your money to me already? How did you manage to hide away a stash of it? Tell me the truth now!’
“Do you still remember that red diamond necklace? I sold it.” An air of satisfaction shrouded the atmosphere around them as Gu Hai proudly looked at Bai Luo Yin as if what he had done was something phenomenal.
“When did you sell it? How come I didn’t know anything about it?” As Gu Hai’s gaze remained on him, Bai Luo Yin realized that the person in front of him had become even more deceitful.
“When we were still in Beijing, that person contacted me, he was interested in buying it. At that time, I just dismissed the idea, but two days ago, he called me again. And when he did, I thought there was a chance we might need an SUV, and it was better to just hand over the necklace to him. In any case, it’s useless in my hands and honestly, what if I lose it one day? The money would’ve blindly been lost too!”
Thick beads of sweat formed chaotically around Bai Luo Yin’s forehead the moment he heard those words, “Fortunately we didn’t bring the property deed with us!”
“Doesn’t it also cost a lot of money to rent a car? Since we’re not using it just this one time, it’s better to just buy one. After our university entrance exams are over, what are we going to do with all our time, huh? There are still many places we can travel too!”
At those words, an insincere smile flattened still on Bai Luo Yin’s lips, “If we keep on spending our days like this, will there still be any exams left for us to take?”
“Why are you thinking so far ahead? There are still three more months to go. Come on, let’s go, go, go! Get in the car first. We have to leave now, otherwise, it’ll be dark by the time we’re out of this province.”
Bai Luo Yin did not move. Instead, he stared at Gu Hai with a set of calm and expressionless eyes
The corner of Gu Hai’s lips pulled back. His whole body stiffened for a moment, then as if struck by some unknown force, he loosened up. His head dropped slowly as his hand slithered down the side-pockets of his pants. He felt around until his fingers made contact with the slightly cold surface of a metallic card. As if part of a picturesque slow-motion scene in a film, he reluctantly passed it over to Bai Luo Yin.
“The rest of the money from selling the necklace are all in there.”
This time, the corner of Bai Luo Yin’s lips hooked into a curve instead, “Get in the car!”
With that, the palms of their hands rose into the air and smack roughly against each other. HIGH FIVE!!!
The new car is ready to get a taste of the road on this journey.
There are two routes that one can choose from to get to Tibet from Qingdao: the Sichuan-Tibet and the Qinghai-Tibet. After careful consideration, Gu Hai and Bai Luo Yin decided to take the Sichuan-Tibet route on their way there, and the Qinghai-Tibet route on their way back. That way, they would be able to see more sceneries along their journey.
The SUV was completely packed with every possible thing they could need. Prior to this trip, Gu Hai had researched diligently about all the things that could happen to them and comprised a thorough list of items to bring along. Since he was responsible for the preparation, it was only natural that Bai Luo Yin was responsible for the inspection. The two had vigilantly considered all the sudden emergencies that can possibly occur as well as the methods to combat each.
Three days after they left Qingdao, the two arrived in Chéngdū. Due to their extreme happiness and unwavering curiosity towards this city, Bai Luo Yin suggested that they stay and explore it for at least two days. After two days of playtime, as promised, they continued their journey.
The two encountered countless problems while on the road. From their car breaking down and road constructions to abnormal weather changes, and even robbery, they’ve more or less faced all the mishaps any traveler could experience on the way to Tibet. But thanks to their courage, intelligence, and foresight, they were able to overcome all these without much worry. The only thing was, they arrived at their destination four days later than planned. By the time they reached Tibet, it was already April.
As the car continued to smoothly cruise on the appointed route, the road gradually and quietly elevated nearly 3,000 meters  above sea level without them even realizing it. The further they proceeded, the sky became more and more crystal clear. One by one, snowy mountain peaks wrapped with streaks of clouds and nearly transparent mist, started to appear before their line of sight, promptly eliciting their weary minds back to soberness.
Bai Luo Yin’s bright eyes immediately swept towards the window for a better look. It didn’t take long for his fingers and toes to tingle with excitement while flashes of light drew across his face, bringing forth a beautifully evocative smile.
Brimming with happiness, he pulled Gu Hai’s arm, “Quickly look over there, it’s a Tibetan antelope!” 
Gu Hai slowed the car down just enough to keep it rolling. A reddish-brown Tibetan antelope stood at a distance not too far from them. Its strong and muscular body revealed the endurance required to live and survive in this high altitude and bitterly cold atmosphere. The moment he saw them, the antelope quickly sprinted north in a graceful posture as if soaring off the ground, parading the vivid colors of life.
“Are you having any difficulty breathing?” Gu Hai asked while taking in Bai Luo Yin’s features.
Bai Luo Yin’s train of thoughts was drawn back from the sight ahead. He touched his chest. He has not felt anything strange yet, but it was possible that the excitement suppressed everything.
Gu Hai stopped the car and passed him a liquid capsule medicine.
This type of capsule is taken in advance to guard against altitude sickness.  For the past few days, the two had been properly taking it without fail. Unsurprisingly though, Bai Luo Yin did not like the taste of this medicine. And his dislike is made even more evident by how he would always waste time before actually ingesting it. But today is different. Today, he obediently took the capsule before Gu Hai could force him to. This is probably because of the breathtaking scenery unfolding before his eyes. It’s so beautiful that it’s only normal to ignore this small annoyance.
“If you feel any discomfort, you have to tell me right away, OK?” Gu Hai kept telling him repeatedly.
Bai Luo Yin would always respond by nodding his head. “Don’t worry, I’m fine. Focus on the road.”
Finally, the two arrived in Lhasa, Tibet around noon without any further hitch.
After the car stopped, Bai Luo Yin immediately and happily pushed the door open to get out. To this, Gu Hai responded by immediately pulling him back. He then proceeded to prep him for their outdoor adventure. Sunblock, sunglasses, and even a cap…one by one, he put them all on Bai Luo Yin. And he just won’t allow him to go without all of these.
At first, Bai Luo Yin thought that Gu Hai was overacting by making such a big fuss over a minor issue. A few steps out in the sun, however, his mind completely changed. He realized that this guy was quite wise instead.
The sunlight here was unusually powerful, to the point that, exposing one’s skin directly beneath it leaves a burning sensation that seems to tear the flesh apart. No wonder Tibetans had suntanned skin and looked rough and valiant.
Originally, the two had planned to rest once they arrive in Tibet, but they could no longer wait as excitement rushed through their veins. They quickly grabbed something small to eat before heading out to Jokhang Temple.  The rest of the afternoon was spent basking beneath the scorching sun, watching worshippers prostrating, chanting the Buddhist scriptures, and praying at the front gate with crystal clear eyes and sincere expressions. The sight deeply moved Bai Luo Yin, who thought that it was terrible not to believe in any faith.
As he sat there, watching the bustling scene ahead, an undefinable twisted sense circled his chest.
“I should also pray.” Gu Hai’s words suddenly took hold of Bai Luo Yin’s attention.
Bai Luo Yin shot him a glance from the corner of his eyes, “They’re praying for their next lives. What you are praying for?”
“I’m not praying for the next life. My only wish is to stay beside you for the rest of my life.”
Bai Luo Yin was unable to conceal neither the warmth that beamed from his eyes nor the smile that kissed his lips. He jested, “On behalf of Buddha, I’m here to help your soul find peace in the next life!”
On their way back from Jokhang Temple, the two went to a famous local Tibetan restaurant. There, they drank genuine Tibetan highland barley wine , tasted the unique flavor of butter tea  and ate authentic pulled lamb meat. Unfortunately, since the two were still not accustomed to Tibetan food, these did not satisfy them. They immediately expressed their continuous hunger after finishing their meal.
In order to satisfy themselves, the two went to a small noodle restaurant they saw and ordered two big bowls of noodles each.
By the time they checked in at the hotel, the sky was already dark. The temperature between day and night in Tibet was completely different so the moment Bai Luo Yin stepped out of the car, he was ravaged by unspeakable shivers that ran up his spine. Quick to notice this, Gu Hai placed one of his arms around him. With this, the two entered the hotel side by side.
Once they were finally able to take a bath, Gu Hai and Bai Luo Yin discovered that, to their dismay, they had been exposed to too much sunlight. Even though they had taken proper measures to protect themselves, the back of their necks were still sunburned to the point that their skin peeled. This was nothing. What made it even more miserable looking was that the area covered by the sunglasses and the areas that were not covered simply looked like two completely different shades. Just one glance at the mirror and it was clear to both lads that their ‘beauty’ had been destroyed.
As Gu Hai gently applied the ointment for Bai Luo Yin, he felt especially sorry. “Look, your skin is so burnt even the soft flesh is exposed. Does it hurt?”
“A little bit,” said Bai Luo Yin as he inhaled deeply.
When it was Bai Luo Yin’s turn to apply the ointment for Gu Hai, he noticed that there were no distinctly burnt areas on his skin. But instead, it was only somewhat red and numb to the touch. As he continued, he couldn’t help but sigh, “Your skin was so nice before. Now that it’s been burnt like this, I wonder when it will become normal again?”
Gu Hai’s eyes suddenly lit up. “My skin was really nice?!”
Bai Luo Yin was embarrassed to say it, but although Gu Hai’s hands were a little rough, the skin on the rest of his body is rather smooth and beautiful to look at. Especially since it wrapped his toned muscles so nicely. So, whenever he traced his hands along those smoothly sculpted muscles, it felt extremely nice to the touch. Incidentally, this was also one of his features that turned Bai Luo Yin on.
“It’s not bad.”
Upon hearing this, Gu Hai’s eyes were struck with astonishment. “How come you’ve never mentioned this before?”
“Why would I say it out of the blue?” Bai Luo Yin paid no attention to it.
Gu Hai, on the other hand, felt a bit unsettled. “Why can’t you say it? Whenever we do it, I always praise you by saying your lips are sweet, your legs long and straight, your butt round and plump, and how flirtatious and tempting your little hole is as it sucks me in. Think about it, what have you praised me for before? That day, you only praised that I have a big cock after being fucked until you climaxed with pleasure so many times……and you only said it after I forced you to.”
Bai Luo Yin only stared at Gu Hai. He wanted to immediately shove Gu Hai onto the bed frame.
Before bed, Bai Luo Yin watched as Gu Hai fiddled with a piece of cotton cloth. He used a pair of scissors to cut a hole in the center of it before roughly measuring the size of his face with his own hands. When he felt that the size of the cloth did not fit his face, he would continue to cut it down some more.
Alas, he ruined it by cutting too much!
Realizing this, he got another piece of cloth and started cutting again until it came out perfectly.
Finally unable to hold it any longer, Bai Luo Yin asked, “What are you doing?” He simply couldn’t comprehend what Gu Hai was doing.
Without raising his head from the task at hand, Gu Hai merely replied, “I’m making a mask.”
“A mask?” Bai Luo Yin asked. He was more puzzled than before. “Why are you making a mask?”
“So I can wear it on my face when we go out tomorrow. I think, by the time we get back, the sunburn on my face will finally even out.”
With questioning eyes, Bai Luo Yin grabbed Gu Hai’s creative invention and used it to cover his own face. After doing so, he immediately noticed that the mask only exposed his eyes. This made him fully understand what Gu Hai wanted to happen, and couldn’t help but admire his imagination.
“Do you want me to make one for you?” Gu Hai asked. It was obvious from his tone that he was brimming with happiness.
Bai Luo Yin slowly shook his head, “Save it for yourself. When you wear it out tomorrow, stay as far away from me as possible, and don’t tell anyone that we know each other.”
Gu Hai smirked. “You really don’t know what’s good!”
Giving Gu Hai a quick glance, Bai Luo Yin snorted then laughed. “If I really don’t know what’s good, then how could I have fallen for you?”
Gu Hai’s warm eyes immediately shot up as he attempted to pounce on Bai Luo Yin. He was trying to tidy up the bed by rolling over the pieces of cloth and threads when Bai Luo Yin kicked him out of annoyance. Without any better option, Gu Hai decided to properly clean and tidy the bed first before lying down.
First, Master Bai praised him and said that he had nice skin. Then, without any warning at all, he told him that he has fallen for him. With these thoughts circling his mind, he was whisked away in a world of self-satisfaction for nearly ten minutes.
Gu Hai started to brazenly touch himself and moan in an attempt to seduce Bai Luo Yin. That is, until he suffered another one of Bai Luo Yin’s ferocious kicks.
Soon, the lights in the room were turned off…except for one. From one corner, there illuminated a flicker of light which was accompanied by a natural buttery fragrance that pervaded the entire room.
As Gu Hai looked for the source of the light, he discovered that it actually came from a small lamp that Bai Luo Yin was clasping in his hands.
Bai Luo Yin’s crystal-clear eyes followed the movement of the light that slowly swayed back and forth against his face. Within seconds, the seriousness that silhouetted the side of his face quietly softened and smoothed.
When Bai Luo Yin sensed that Gu Hai was watching him, he turned to face him. A warm smile painted his face. He softly said, “Look! It’s a butter lamp!”
In Gu Hai’s eyes, that smile–that breathtakingly beautiful smile illuminated by the lamp–was very pure and warm. It was a treasure that he would not trade for anything in this world. He reveled at its unassuming glory, taking in the magic of this simple moment.
As their gazes lock, Gu Hai couldn’t help but encircle his arms around Bai Luo Yin’s shoulder and glue his face gently against his.
This action made Bai Luo Yin smile. He carefully placed the butter lamp back to its original spot and was leaning back, preparing to go to sleep, when Gu Hai’s hand suddenly reached out to touch his forehead.
“You have a low-grade fever.” Gu Hai sternly said.
“Really? I don’t feel uncomfortable or anything.” Bai Luo Yin casually replied.
Gu Hai quickly turned on the bedside lamp and leaped out of the bed. Before Bai Luo Yin could even ask him what he was doing, Gu Hai was already out the door. A short while later, Gu Hai returned to the room accompanied by a doctor who measured the temperature under one of his armpits. Indeed, it was a low-grade fever, but it was severe.
Bai Luo Yin should be fine after taking some antipyretic medicines.
Although the doctor reassured them several times that Bai Luo Yin will be fine, Gu Hai nonetheless still felt uneasy. For the whole night, he did not sleep. He simply hugged Bai Luo Yin tightly. In his heart, he feared that something unexpected might happen if he blinked or shifted his eyes away from him just the slightest. He has heard many rumors that catching a cold on the high plateau is a big deal that no one should ever neglect. In some cases, a simple fever can significantly worsen in just one day, leading to high-altitude pulmonary edema , a potentially deadly disease.
Bai Luo Yin’s fever was completely gone by early morning the next day. With that, the two set out on a journey to Lake Namtso. 
This lake that sat on the highest plateau and was one of God’s most beautiful masterpieces. It would be impossible for anyone to define the kind of majesty and boundless beauty it possessed. Nor would it be possible to sense the serenity that it held without physically being there to immerse in it. The lake’s azure water was like a sparkling translucent drop of tear at the foot of a snowy mountain. The mist that stepped lightly on the surface of the water stretched out into the boundless horizon, letting sunlight shoot through. The same mist painted the edges of the lake, making it look like a paradise.
Standing on the lakeside makes one feel like he has long been removed from this world, and that his whole spirit seems to have been washed clean by the water that flowed gently into the lake.
Walking on the vast and magnificent grassland, looking at groundhogs, wild hares, and gazelles while listening to the wonderful sound of melting icy layers, all the sufferings the two have endured before suddenly became tiny and insignificant in comparison to all the beauty that was in front of them.
Chengdu is located on the edge of the fertile plains of the Red Basin in China’s Sichuan Province. Due to its agricultural wealth, Chengdu is sometimes called the “Land of Milk and Honey”. The Funan river bisects the city, although boat traffic, common until the 1960s, has all but vanished.
The greater city area is now divided into 5 urban districts, 4 suburban districts, and 9 counties, altogether home to more than 14 million people. Chengdu has a reputation as a very “laid-back” city that emphasizes culture and relaxation and as a result of this and much green space is ranked one of the most liveable mega-cities in China. It is credited with a good nightlife scene and contains many new western style buildings in the large city center.
Not counting the diminishing forests where they originate, Chengdu is China’s “Panda Central”. Just on the outskirts of town in the parks and gardens of the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, scientists study and breed both the popular black and white giant pandas and their raccoon-like red cousins.
Summer weather is hot and humid, as the city is surrounded by small mountains to the east and sits in the Red Basin. Furthermore, an hour to the west lie the foothills of the mighty Tibetan Plateau and the fabulously scenic mountains of west Sichuan.
The city is famous for its lack of sun, so don’t come expecting to get a suntan.
 Altitude sickness – also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to the low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude.
 Jokhang Temple – (“House of the Lord”) in Lhasa is the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism, attracting crowds of prostrating Tibetan pilgrims and curious foreign tourists every year. It hosts the annual Great Prayer Festival, as well as all ceremonies of initiation for the Dalai Lama and Panchen Llamas. Follow the link to learn about Jokhang Temple: History of Jokhang Temple
 Tibetan Highland Barley – also called “Qiang” in the Tibetan language, is made from the main grain in Tibet – highland barley.
According to history record, in Tang Dynasty, about 7 centuries, Wencheng Prince married Srongtsen Gampo, and also brought the brewing technology of Han people to Tibet. 1300 years have passed by, Tibetan Barley wine representing wine culture in Tibet enjoys a reputation from home and abroad. Click the link for further information: Tibet Highland Barley
 Butter Tea – known as Po cha in Tibet, is made from churning tea, salt, and yak butter. The tea used is a particularly potent, smoky type of brick tea from Pemagul, Tibet. A portion of this brick tea is crumbled into water and boiled for hours to produce a smoky, bitter brew called chaku. This is then stored until used to make butter tea. To make a serving of Po cha, some of the chaku is poured in a wooden cylindrical churn called a chandong, along with a hunk of yak butter and salt and churned for a couple of minutes before serving. Click the link for further information: Tibetan Butter Tea
 Butter lamp – The light from the flame of the Butter Lamp symbolizes the wisdom of the awakened mind, dispelling the darkness of delusion and mental obscurations. Butter Lamps are used in nearly every Tibetan temple, household, and altar. They are traditionally burned with ghee butter. Butter Lamps are normally made of silver, brass, copper or white metal.
Butter Lamp Offerings
“Of all the methods for accumulating merit through generosity, offering butter lamps is second only to the practice of tsok.”
“What is the meaning of butter lamp offerings? We do not offer the lamps because enlightened beings need to see them. Rather, the offering of light is a means of dispelling the darkness of our own ignorance, giving rise to clarity and wisdom. We offer them with the wish that their light will illuminate the lower realms and the bardo, assuaging the torment of beings who suffer in darkness. We also aspire that all beings will develop greater mental clarity in order to discover the causes of long-lasting happiness in virtuous actions of body, speech, and mind. Finally, we offer them so that the inner light of great knowing will arise in all beings’ minds and remove the darkness of ignorance and intellectual obscurations.”
— H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
 High-altitude pulmonary edema – Severe AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) can also take the form of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE.) This is where excess fluid develops in the lungs, either in the lung tissue itself or in the space normally used for gas exchange. This means individuals are unable to perform gas exchange properly, and so a person cannot get enough oxygen to function normally. It is caused, again, by poor acclimatization and is often more common in males, although it is not clear whether this is behavior related or due to genetic susceptibility. HAPE can occur without the traditional signs of AMS.
 Lake Namtso – Namtso, Tibetan for ‘Heavenly Lake’, is often described as being next to heaven because of its lofty altitude, stunning beauty, pure blue water, and spiritual associations.
It is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Snow-capped mountains and open grassland, dotted with yak herds and local nomads, surround the crystal clear water of Lake Nam, making it one of the most beautiful places in Tibet. Click the link for further information: Lake Namtso