Late breakfast with the shepherd
April 7 GPS-pos: N29°13' | E088°55' | Alt: 3840 M
Last night, just as I had decided to stop, the pain reappeared. Luckily I was already looking for a place to set up camp so I didn't walk enough to worsen it.
Today, slow paced once more, I listened to my achy leg making sure that I wouldn't overdo it.
The feeling of peace, calm and strength while walking by the Mighty Tsangpo cannot be described. At least not by my lack of vocabulary; but what I can describe is the feeling of hunger, thirst and dehydrating heat that I felt while walking under the painfully hot sun.
Having been unable to refill my water supply since I walked out of Tashipu and with the sun getting hotter every hour, my skin began to wrinkle a I had no water left to sweat.
"Why didn't you drink water from the Tsangpo?" you may ask
Being this one of my first questions to the locals I was answered with an "Are you out of your mind" expression as the words spoke "No one here drinks its water!" Although later on I found out that Sichuan (a province of mainland Chine) fishermen have moved to the area and sell Tsangpo fish to restaurants in Shigatse.
Moved by the urge of finding someone to get water from I eventually came across a shepherd accompanied by his two daughters.
"Yes of course I have" he replied to the thirsty query; "Come" he said.
He sat on the sloppy side of a earth dune and sent his daughters to get the water which laid at the shade produced by a tree 250 meters away.
"Sit here" he said pointing at a spot next to his. I debated as to whether I would spend more energy taking my pack off and climbing down the slope or by remaining packed and on my feet waiting for that never-arriving water to fill up my wrinkles.
At the shepherd's insistence I gave in and slid down on my sorry butt to a spot just above him. The girls arrived, and seeing a bag in the eldest's hands I could already feel my thirst being quenched. The bag was handed to the father. The father opened the bag. A plastic container was pulled out of the bag. Water was not contained in the container that had just been pulled out of the bag. It was chang
In normal circumstances I would have politely declined the offer; but these were circumstances exceedingly far from normal and I did need liquid. I needed liquid right that very second. And I needed lots of it.
From the bag he pulled four pieces of manto (steamed buns) and I was given one. Perfect combination for these abnormal circumstances.
When I left, I had drunk so much of his chang that, although it is not used to pay for food or water (especially not for chang) I felt the need to offer them money. After all, they had appeared at the right time and I had left them with little or almost no chang at all.
Happy, thankful and smiling he gave the money to the eldest daughter and told them both to come up the slope and help the poor (tipsy in fact) foreigner get his pack on his shoulders.
Smiling again, rather to the effect of the alcohol I had just ingested, I returned by the Tsangpo who was soothingly smiling back at me.