After Chengdu I headed up to Xining. Not planning on going to Tibet I figured that I'd spend time in parts of China that had Tibetan villages or roots. Previously I'd been on the backroads of Sichuan and now heading around Xining seemed like a perfect idea for this. Before the takeover and formation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region both Xining and the western part of Sichuan were both part of the country then known as Tibet. Seeing these areas was in someways seeing the real Tibet as there isn't any military regime in these parts.
After walking around the compound for a while we got in our cab and headed to the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama. There is apparently a golden stupa in the room he was born in, but unfortunately we weren't allowed to go inside. We never got the full reason why and heard a few different excuses. One was we were 5 minutes too late, another was foreigners aren't allowed in. Sort of a disappointment for the day but what are you going to do?