In the middle of the night I am woken up by an SMS from Peter Wang, the dude I met in Guilin and took me out in his hometown Xi’an. We were supposed to meet up on the road to Manigango but he says that he’s sorry that he won’t be able to join me as he can no longer continue this lifestyle and must look for a job. Definitely a bit of a let down for me cause I was really looking forward to catching up with him again.
I don’t know if I’ve always mentioned this before but one of the lessons I have learnt over and over whilst travelling is that when an opportunity comes, you must seize it. One of the Chinese sayings I learnt in January when I was in Suzhou was, ”once you past Suzhou, there are no more boats to get on”. Basically because Suzhou has water canals and I think towns after Suzhou don’t have water where boats can go on … or something like that. During my travels, I am constantly reminded of this and I hope by the time I go back home, it’s drilled into my head. There are many times when I see something and think … I’ll buy it later, they must have plenty of them in such and such … But no, I never come across it again. Or times where I see the amazing sunset and think, ceebs going back to the hostel to get my camera, I’ll do it tomorrow…When tomorrow comes, the sky is dull and there’s no sunset. Things like that really emphasize the message and I’d rather try and fail, than not trying at all and forever wondering ”what if”.
So I headed out for breakfast for some buns and Tibetan bread. I went back to the hostel to pack and get ready for the overnight stay. I then get a call from Ba Ding to come over for breakfast, unfortunately I had to refuse as I was about to leave.
So I headed out following Angela’s pirate map. I took about 2 hrs all up and about another hour looking for Soko, Angela’s brother-in-law’s wife. We found the house and was greeted by an old man, a woman and a whole bunch of kids. The woman left shortly after and the old dude welcomed us into his house.
The fellow sat me down, gave me a bowl with barley flour, yak butter and yak cheese. He then added hot water to the bowl and showed us how to mix it. It was like making dough, finding the right balance of moisture to end up with a clean bowl. Mine didn’t stick very well cause I had too much flour but nevertheless it tasted rather bland. I mean it wasn’t bad, quite fragrant but then the more I ate, the drier it tasted. So that was my first tzamba experience.
Next he poured us some milk tea, followed by some Tibetan yoghurt topped with sugar which was mixed and eaten using our fingers. It tasted quite good actually although I wasn’t a big fan of the yak cheese … It just has this funkiness that’s just weird. Tibetans tend to like eating with their hands, not just fingertips, I’m talking full palmage.
It started snowing and he left us to attend some errands so we were left to babysit the kids aged 4 and 6 for an hour or so. The sound of a tractor approached and I went outside to sus it out. A lady greeted us and she said she was Soko, the lady we were looking for. She knew an insy bit of Chinese and a bit of English so using a combination of Chinese, English and sign language, we managed to communicate.
I helped her unload various things from the tractor including a fridge pre-stocked with food, barley flour as well as cooking gear. I found out lady that she was in the middle of moving house from her summer place up in the hills to this place here, the winter home. I struggled lifting some of the stuff and I consider myself half decent, I mean I haven’t exercised for 2 months but surely there’s still some muscle left right. No … she out lifted me. She’s such a strong lady physically and mentally. Being 28, having 3 kids, working the land, milking yaks every morning, herding them out, herding them in, making 4 meals a day, making yak chees and yak butter, its hard to imagine how she copes. I know I couldn’t. Being so busy, its understandable how they are lacking in the hygiene department, I’ve never seen them wash their hands, their clothes are dirty, kids have snot running down their faces, the bowls are just rinsed before being used .. You get the idea. They don’t even try and avoid spilling stuff on the ground, its fine to drop stuff on the ground, I mean she even throws stuff on the ground. I reckon its great, stuff cleaning the floor all the time, its just so much more convenient.
Tibetan typically have a dark complexion with weathered skin and rosey red cheeks, particular those living at high altitudes. There’s something about them, maybe their eyes and their nose that don’t make them look anywhat like Han Chinese. The men look so manly and the women are very hardworking.
We chilled out after whilst she made us our second lunch. She said Tibetan people have four meals and I understood why later on after seeing how hard they work.
She made some bread and steamed it on the stove and then it was served with yak butter and yak cheese.
Not long after, she told us to follow her to herf the yaks back in. Cowbow Zhang kicked in and boy was it fun. Despite getting my shoes completely soaked, I had a great time whistling and throwing stones at yaks which if you didn’t know, looked like bulls with full grown horns. Once we rounded them all up, the babies were taken into a tent for the night. It was such an amazing moment because we had the yaks coming in, Soko, her sister, the old fella as well as Soko’s kids were all helping out, everyone was laughing and having fun chasing the baby yaks and in the distance, an amazing red sunset with Mt. Yala glowing bright red. Amazing.
We headed back to Soko’s home and watched her make us dinner. She made Tibetan noodles with potato strips, it was so yummy! It tasted like some thick homemade pasta, so delicious I had thirds =D
The Tibetan nomads have an amazing way of life. They are so sustainable. Milking yaks, making cheese and butter, yak meat and using yak poo to fire their stoves. Nothing is wasted and everything is reused or recycled. Despite working so hard, they seem so happy even though they don’t seem to have much. They are always laughing and have strong relations with their family. It really makes me think and appreciate the things I have a home. I have a proper toilet, central heating, a car, a computer, the internet, a TV, a four burner stove, snacks in the pantry, all these things that makes me happy yet they have a stone house, a stove and heaps of yaks and that seems to be enough to make them happy. It also emphasizes the fact that maybe we don’t need all these gizmos and gadgets to make us happy, I think at the end of the day nothing else can make you more happy than family.
Staying with Soko also showed me that I could definitely rough it so much more when I’m out camping and still manage to have a great time and be in the same place doing the same amazing things.
The landscape here is amazing, there are yak and horses wondering around and in the distance, the sun is slowly setting behind Mt. Yala making it glow bright red. So beautful. Living in such amazing surroundings, I can understand why people are so happy and carefree. They don’t suffer economic pressure like us city dwellers do because they can survive and are content living off the land. This is why I came to Tagong and I’m definitely going to remember this place.
Posted by Wordmobi