Gyantse: A town in Tibet.

Essay by Keir October 2005

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This essay is about a veritable City of Flies. After having taken 16 hours to reach this place from Lhasa through the highest and most dangerous road I've ever encountered (at one point the bus had to drive through a road washed away by a flash flood, with us almost with it), we arrived to find that every road in town had been dug up leaving the road nothing more than a river of sewage. If there was any concept of public accountability here as there is in all developed countries (except maybe Italy) the mayor would have been thrown out. Just in time for our arrival and those of any visitors foolish or hardy enough to make the trip for the centenary of the British invasion. Without a single street lamp, the town was pitch-black making the trip back to the hotel at 2am a veritable death trap, with the barking of roaming dogs a particularly menacing feature.

Indeed, the pavements could only be walked down by jumping over deep trenches leaving shops stranded from potential customers, not that there was any shop that sold anything different from the other unless one considers the innumerable holes in the wall offering sex- there were 10 of these alone on the road my hotel was on, not counting the suspect barber shop. All of them seemed to compete with each other in blaring out as much noise as possible from their tinny speakers.

Outside such businesses the men played pool while the youths spent the day (and the money they somehow managed to have) in the only internet cafe playing 'Counter Strike' or infecting the computers with porn viruses. Due to the Olympic-sized construction work, the town at times was without power or running water during the day, hotels were...