The train from Chengdu to Tibet is 40 hours, and is fairly boring until it gets to Xining. So to save endless hours in a small space, we flew to Xining and caught the train from there. Which made it only 24 hours on the train. Had a day in Xining to kill so we went to Kumbum Monastery. Very cool experience. Is about 30kms from town, jumped a taxi and turned up at this monastery. Nice buildings, lots of monks… you know the story. However, we came across some chanting at one end of the grounds on a hill. Decided to get nosey. Found a school of young monks chanting. Watched for a couple of hours.
The chanting was hypnotic, and I nearly went to sleep. They would chant for about an hour and the teachers would wander around. Then they would breakout of the room and do some chanting outside, then back in. These guys were just kids, normal playing and laughing kids with short haircuts and purple clothes.
In China in some places you are a novelty simply by being a foreigner. Xining, Liz and I were very much an object of fascination.