Thursday, September 22, 2016

Meeting an Old Friend July 2016

We said our goodbyes, gave hugs, then Tseyang's father walked us to the main road to flag down a van, and we set of for Shigatse city.
I had been hoping to connect to another former student from my Shigatse summers, but I only had his email address, and he doesn't seem to use it! However when one of the Teacher College teachers came to visit, she recognized our former interpreter/site director Jumbah and found his phone number. I texted him and he arranged to meet me before we boarded the train back to Lhasa. We reminisced over Tibetan sweet tea, then walked through the town evoking hundreds of fond memories.


You can see the golden roofs of the Tashilampo monastery behind the new public housing. In 202/04 we walked around the monastery many times, looking over Shigatse.
The newly restored Shigatse Dzong (fort) can be seen from most downtown streets.
After an interesting train trip back (sharing our seats with a tour group from inland China), we arrived at the Lhasa train station on a rainy night. We had to wait 3/4 hour as the guard found a superior who would permit me to enter Lhasa even with my residency permit - they see so few foreigners without a tourist's invitation letter that they didn't know what to do with me! Again, I felt blessed to be one of so few ex-pats living in Lhasa.                 
While waiting in the rain for Tseyang's husband, we took shelter in the corner police station. They kindly offered tea. Hmmm... I've never been offered tea by someone carrying an AK-40 machine gun!

A Visit to a Shigatse Farm July, 2016

  I taught in Shigatse, a smaller city 4 hours from Lhasa, the summers of 2002 and 2004, so when Tseyang invited me to visit her village near Shigatse, I was ecstatic. Fortunately our school gave permission (after visiting Tseyang to make sure she was credible), and I was able to return from Beijing (for my rabies shot) in time. We met at 6 am and taxied to the huge new train station built in traditional Tibet style with large stones and slanted walls.

 After 3 1/2 hours of winding rivers and wide valleys we disembarked and found a van to take us to the road to her village. I wish I could have had a head cam to photograph those sweet traditional farmers! After another hour past colourful fields of wheat, barley, rice and canola, Tseyang's father and nephew met us and carried our bags the 2 km to their home.

This is Tseyang's family home, a farmhouse in the village, with a small field across the lane and more fields down a long road.  The house is quite large; they store grains and animals on the first floor and live upstairs, with rooms radiating from a glass-in centre section where everyone hangs out.

A large 'familyroom' (below) on one side has a wood stove for heat. The large pots along the cabinets store various types of roated barley (called sampa). Do you see the ornate butter churn? In another room an electric yogurt maker is filled by the milk from their 4 cows.

Tseyang's mother is a good cook! Everything is made from scratch, mainly from her garden. Pork dumplings, pork and veggie soup, rice and seet tea.

Tseyang's sister weaves colourful lengths of fabric from wool that her mothers has spun, dyed, and wound on spindles. The lengths are sewn together to make traditional Tibetan aprons. 
 This is another livingroom where we slept on narrow beds under quilts.

They have one hose that brings water to the second floor balcony for washing and to fill kettles. 

This is the latrine, and in one corner a ladder leads to the roof.

And at the top of the ladder is the roof..
The roof of the whole house, showing the glass roof for the centre area downstairs. 
Tseyang's father picks veggies from his field and feeds the cows.
Tseyang's mother milks the cows as her nephew gives them extra feed.

Local women hang out - no Starbucks here!

Teens practising traditional dance for weekend festival
and the children wanted to show off too.