Friday, 21 August 2009

TIBET - are these people really so poor and downtrodden?

We are living in surroundings where half-truths, omissions, or slight distortions of events have a fair chance to become the real thing. They might become fully confirmed facts and are thus supposed to make us salivate like well trained dogs seeing a bone............

Some months ago I saw a report on the telly regarding the fast disappearing Indian tiger. The animal was killed by poachers right in the Indian National Parks where it was supposed to live unmolested. But it remained unclear why and what happened to the furs.

Then the author of the report realized that the skins were smuggled to Tibet where they adorn wealthy Tibetans. And then I had the pleasure to look at those people wearing Indian Tiger skins. See for yourself, look at those photos in Belinda Wright's "The End of the Tiger trail"

Now that killed me. For years and years, whenever Tibet was mentioned, I saw those desperately poor, downtrodden people, living miserably at the feet of the cruel Chinese. Those photos just don't square with the general idea about that country. Each one of those skins fetch several thousand Euro (and a little more in US Dollars). Unlike those poor Tibetans I am unable to shell out that money for a weekend outfit and I don't know anybody around here who could and would do this and spend this amount.

A tent made up of 108 tiger skins

The poor downtrodden Tibetans: can't help thinking this to be another case were we are being force-fed another piece of crap and bullshit.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Beauty is unfortunately an exception. Most houses here - like nearly everywhere else - are simply ordinary and some are downright ugly. Nevertheless, I made those photos just by cycling around, meaning there are plenty of good looking ones. And there are not necessarily hundreds of years old either.

The really ugly ones, those created by architects, poorly brained and raised in steel, glass, concrete worship do not abound over here: maybe the region is too rural , too austere.

This one here above is modern, as far as I can judge built ten or fifteen years ago in the style of the region.

This one has the bad luck to stand on a very busy road. That must be the reason why it is so frequently for sale or for rent.

Here we are in a tiny hamlet, about two kilometers from the village. It is a farmers' house.

Another farmers' house with his barn in the foreground. Do you see those columns, looking like chimneys? They belong to a hundreds of years old ruin, its stones served to restore the village church.

In bygone times the living quarters and the stable were frequently under the same roof. The round door on the ground and the stairs on its left testify for that.

This house surely belongs to some wealthy Parisians. The gate and the high well groomed hedge all say the same: do not enter, don't even look at us! The hedge must be cut with the help of a ruler.

In the foreground the round, wooden door: "I am a converted stable". In fact they sell antiquities over there, the stabble of old might be the store room for all that expensive trash they hope to sell to the grockels (UK English for tourists).

Another old style barn in another hamlet.

This house is one of my favorites. It's a converted barn, standing at the outskirts of the village. The people who made this did a great job here.

Couldn't refrain from showing this. It's the sore spot of our village. I wonder what will happen now. Keep tuned.

Another specialty of the region is the material they put on the roof. Sure, mostly you will see conventional tiles, used everywhere. But many houses still feature "lauzes" as shown on the two following photos. These "lauzes" are stones, thick and very heavy. A normal wooden roof structure would not be able to support them. Sturdy beams, generally made of chestnut trees are a must and you need a thick wallet, too, to pay for it. But living under it, no storm will be able to bother you and your family. The cosy comforts of stone age.

Rejoice, this is the last picture:Last not least, this is the town hall, though it should be said a village is not a town and a house is not a hall. In this house, the mayor has an office and he is present three times per week.

If you enlarge the photo, you'll see something strange: the wall is partly made of bricks, partly of stones. Till now, I have been unable to find out the history of this house and what happened there in the past.