For sustained terror that goes on long enough to dull the mind to the notion of certain death, there's nothing like the excursion from Lhasa to Shigatse and Gyantse. Rattling along in an ancient bus along a .75-lane "road" barely cut into the side of the Himalayas, the tires so close to the edge that you can't see it when you look down out the window . . . holding on desperately as the bus climbs over rockslides . . . zooming past heavily-armed Chinese soldiers . . . playing chicken with army convoys . . . yes, there's nothing like a blind curve at 30,000 feet above sea level! (and at least a mile above the valley below, or so it seemed)

I have seen the elephant.

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