The top picture is of the monastery. The lower picture was taken when we
were having tea with the farmer and his family.
A piece of important advice: One of my climbing mates contracted
tuberculosis in Tibet. The cause was almost certainly yak’s milk, which went
straight from the yak into the milk jug without any processing. If you are
offered tea in a remote area of China insist on having it without milk and be
careful not to consume any other dairy products.
A pedantic point: My friend Kangri insists that the “yak” is the male of the
species so it wasn’t “yak’s milk”. The female is called something that sounds
like “gyug”. So we should be talking about gyug’s milk. Kangri said he’d
given up trying to get the point across to tourists.
I've met a few memorable people in my life and one was the Tibetan guy
who organised the logistics for our climbing trip in the Himalayas . I
injured my foot early in the proceedings and spent a lot of time with him
while the rest of my party was away in the mountains. We knew him as
Kangri. His parents called him by a different sounding name.
Kangri's family lived a nomadic life, grazing yaks in the highland pastures
of northern Yunnan, near the Tibetan border. It's a tough way to make a living
and he had some remarkable stories about his childhood.
One was a horrendous incident when he was at toddler. A lion dog took his
head into its mouth. His scalp was ripped open. His mother fainted and his
uncle stitched him back together again. Kangri pulled back his hair as he told
the story and showed us the ugly scar that remained fro m the ordeal.
The Tibetan lion dogs get their name from the main of long hair on their
huge heads. His family kept them to guard their herds from wolves . They lost
calves to the wolves and had to be on guard for the wolf packs that followed
them around. As a teenager, Kangri spent long hours with his father, lying in
ambush, waiting for the packs to come within range. They had telescopic
sights on their rifles but the wolves were cunning and very difficult to shoot.
When he was thirteen, Kangri went to a boarding school run by Buddhist
monks. There, he learnt about strange people who lived in the West. They
had yellow hair and blue eyes and didn't like the Chinese. The blue-eyed
people spoke English and Kangri decided he was going to learn English.