I woke up to Soko’s footsteps at around 7 in the morning. She had already started going outside running errands.
I went outside to look for her and she was in the distance herding the yaks back in as they tend to wonder around during the night. Her sister was in the process of milking a yak. What happens is she lets one of the baby yaks out of the tent to find its mother, it’ll then suckle its mother for a couple of minutes before Soko’s sister pulls the baby away, ties the mother’s front legs together and starts milking her. I even got a shot milking the yak.
On the first go, I pulled the teet and there was no effect … I watched her for a bit and then tried again … After the 3rd or 4th attempt, I got the idea. You don’t just hold onto the teet and yank it, imagine you’re squeezing out a zooper dooper, you work it from the end and drag the contents out of the opening. So you grab the teet near the base, hold it and drag it down forcing the milk through the nipple. You release (which I initially didn’t), grab the base and repeat.
Soko went back to the house with a bucket full of yak dung to fuel the stove for breakfast. She put barley flour, sugar and yak butter into our bowls and she told us to mix the butter in with our fingers. Then she poured hot milk tea and we stirred it into a thick pastey consistency and spooned it with our fingers.
Soko left shortly after to help her sister so that was my cue to pack my gear up and head out. I thanked her and her sister for he amazing time. On route, I filled my bottle with water from the river for the walk back to Tagong.
Despite taking the easy way back, the 90 min walk was still exhausting. I dropped my stuff off and immediately went out for a second lunch. Again I had Tibetan noodles but this time, proper ones with mince, tomato, capsicum, potato strips and spring onions.
The weather was perfect so I did some washing and spent the rest of the arvo chilling in the yard of Jya Drolma’s guesthouse reading my Lonely Planet and sussing out places I could visit.
After a shower, I returned to my dorm and Jya Drolma brings two guys from Australia to check out the dorm, the two Asian dudes were also from Melbourne and we clicked straight away. It was great to speak to people from Melbourne =D I told them about what to do around Tagong and even drew them a pirate map to Soko.
I went downstairs and had a chat to Jya Drolma. She’s such a nice lady. She says during the National Holiday, she had dorms for Chinese tourist for 100 yuan but she only charged 60 yuan for foreigners. Her reason is that Chinese tourists that come are loaded with money and want to spend, they have money driving their own cars therefore 100 yuan is nothing to them whereas foreigners come from a long way and travel to many places in China therefore money means alot. She can’t speak English so obviously she has no way of expressing this but she says it doesn’t matter if noone knows, it makes her happy knowing she has done something nice for others. She also gives a discount for students because she knows how tough it can be as she has kids of her own. When she was booked out during the National Holidays, she didn’t tell people she was full, she tried to help them by asking friends if they have room at their guesthouses and asked them to give them a discounted rate. If their guesthouses don’t have showers, Jya Drolma offers to let travellers use hers.
Obviously as a traveller, we are paranoid and vigilant. In our mind we always think that they are in it for the money and since they can’t make money one way, they’ll drag us to their friend so they can make money some other way. So once again there’s no way for Jya Drolma to show that she is actually trying to help, only sometimes once people ask around for prices do they know Jya Drolma has done them a big favour.
She said she can choose not to help people ad is actually much easier to just send people away to the road and look for transport themselves etc., that way when something doesn’t go right, she doesn’t get blamed. But she still insists on helping people as she feels its the right thing to do.
As I am writing this she just came rushing to my dorm to bring me good news. I am leaving tomorrow for Litang by catching a minivan to Xinduqiao, 20 yuan and then waiting around for another minivan to Litang for 100 yuan. She said she just spoke to the driver and instead of leaving at 8:30AM, we leave at 8AM and that way, we’ll be able to make the coach at Xinduqiao. Not only will it be 89 yuan, a saving of 11 yuan, it will be much more comfortable and safer.
She’s an amazing lady and I’ll always remember her and her husband for their hospitality and making me feel like I’m home. So if you are ever visiting Tagong, you don’t even need to think twice before putting your bags down at Jya Drolma’s Guesthouse cause you know you’ve made the right choice.
One last plug for Tagong, on the river side of the main street, about a block away from Jya Drolmas, on the left of the lady BBQing skewers is a small kitchen that does the best bao zi in all of Tagong. It is run by two Zang ladies and the buns are juicy and tasty.
Posted by Wordmobi