Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tally ho!

14 July 2010

We had a bright and early morning spent with some nuns up off the main road. It was so special. The nuns are about 5 feet tall, have shaved heads, and were some of the most truly spiritual people I’ve ever seen or met. One of the girls, persistent with her studies was my age. It’s hard for me to even compare our two very different lives. Their nunnery involved an extensive search to find because it is not sanctioned or approved by the government, yet it is strong in attendance and spirituality. The sanctuary was really beautiful. All of the colorful, hand painted art on the dry mortar walls puts any stained glass I’ve seen to shame. Ironically, most of the nuns had cell phones with cameras so we had yet another photo shoot. On our way out, they adorned us with white scarves and offered us food, tea, anything.

stairs up to the nunnery in town
the nunnery
the nuns. yes i am that much taller than them

From there, we toured the Labrang Monastery. Saturated with tourists and what a different feel from the nunnery yesterday. 

clockwise from top left: Labrang monastery; monk ceremony; me and joel;
the streets; yak butter sculpture; monastery windows

Then back to the car for another car ride to Jimpa’s hometown to begin our hike. Over 5 hours, several potholes, sheep, yaks, cows, nomads, and police later we arrived. We unpacked and packed our necessities that we’d need for the next couple days until the mules and our packs would arrive. Jimpa is worried about bandits so he has this huge knife attached to his backpack. What a promising sign…


and we're off!
On our way up, we passed a couple of villagers with their herds of sheep, cows, horses, and donkeys. I can’t believe they hike all this way just to graze their livestock, only to return to the village each evening. They don’t have horses, dogs, or several people to help herd the animals. Just a slingshot and their own two feet.

We’re camped on top of a mountain with beautiful views in every direction (when the fog disperses enough to see). The fog is really thick and the air, wet. We are at about 3000m and the temperature has really dropped. The nearby stream/spring is completely dried up so we have no more water. Bread and honey for dinner.

mmm honey and white bread. really white, chalky bread

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