Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Miracle on the rooftop of the world…

Miracles have been happening everyday, but more specifically, they have been happening to our film project. After two days of shooting at all the monasteries, we finally bade our tour-guide farewell. We felt we needed to put ourselves in a better situation to meet our film subjects. At the same time, we were longing for the comforts of home.

Foot massage is an inherently Chinese tradition and it is popular throughout China, but it's a relatively new phenomenon in Tibet. Therefore, we forced ourselves to go to the nearest foot massage parlor to do some “hard research”. Life had been hard, so we really felt the need to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of “film” and “art”.

As we made ourselves comfortable in the massage room, four masseuses - 3 girls dressed in black and pink sporty jumpsuits and one boy in a waitors' uniform walked into the room with steaming buckets of Chinese medicinal water.

Masseuse #108 stopped in front of me and gestured for me to put my naked feet into the hot bath. Of course, I didn’t hesitate.

After the brief head massage, we decided it was time to initiate conversation with all of them. We found out where everyone was from and after some back and forth, it was clear who wanted to share their life story.

#108, who was massaging my feet, is an 18 year old foot masseuse from Hunan province. Jia Jing is not your typical migrant worker, she’s an enlightened soul who transplanted herself to Tibet as a foot masseuse to “check things out” and perhaps meet a Tibetan boyfriend. It was refreshing to meet someone who moved for the sake of adventure. There was no desperation, only a positive view towards living life. I am moved by her perspective on life…

Even though Jia Jing is alone in Tibet, she rooms and spends most of her time with Zhang Ting. They do almost everything together. Get haircuts, go to the internet café, look for boys….like any teenage girls.

We can't wait to come back next year to see what's happened during their time in Lhasa!

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