Snow Beer, Benny Hill, Lhasa 1995

In 1995 Tim Challen a 20 year old Briton wandered the world bound for Tibet. Chengdu, China was the airport of departure to Lhasa. Arranging visas et al he explored the Szechuan capitol arriving at a riverside cafe with two young female Dutch travelers for an afternoon tea. Surrounded by hibiscus flowers calm reigned along the Jin River, until loud moans broke from an older man receiving a shoulder massage from an even older Chinese woman.

“Bloody Yank,” he remarked to his companions. “Let’s go see the pandas.”

The next morning a minibus took his group to the airport. Tim boarded the plane and sat at a starboard window. The flight flew over the Himalayas and as the last passengers filled the plane, he became increasingly pleased with the prospect of his seating arrangement. Take-off was due and then the American from yesterday staggered down to aisle seeking his seat

“Please not here, please not here.”

The American stopped and looked at Tim.

“I think you’re in my seat ”

Tim got up and politely exchanged places. The American said nothing. A small blessing and fell asleep before takeoff.

An hour later he woke and looked out the window

“Damn, the Himalayas. Take a look ” The American rose from his seat and went to the restroom. Indeed damn. The mountain range to all horizons. After fifteen minutes, the American returned with two beers and sat by the window.

“I miss anything?” He asked handing Tim a can of Snow Beer.

“A hundred miles of Himalayas.”

“Plenty more to come.”

He turned on the in-flight TV.

“It’s Benny Hill. You like him?”

Tim did indeed and like that

Beer, Benny Hill, and soon Lhasa they became friends forever. Chai yo.

Tashi delek.
Foto – MIG surfing – Potala Palace, Lhasa, 1995

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