Out to the Pasture

Raining on and off. Cleaning up of the feast started in the afternoon. Loads of food to put away. Tibetan dress comes in handy as ready sacks. The tents were taken down, and tractors came to take stuff back to homes.

Daerji was among the last to leave. When he was finally ready to take me to his home, it was quite late in the afternoon. His father sat by the window on a piece of sheep skin. He couldn’t walk very well. The wooden house was shabby and dirty though a newer two-story brick house with ugly pink paint was under construction. While Daerji went out to load the tractor — one of my bags will go with the tractor, the other camera bag I would carry with me on motorcycle, the father turned on the TV to entertain me. Some singing competition was on. Tibetan women with modified traditional dress — very modern looking were on performing.

It was raining quite heavily when Daerji came back. I put everything in dry bags, had rain jacket on and out we went. There was a stretch of very bad road I would ride on the tractor and after that, Daerji would take me on his motorcycle. That was the plan.

Thinking back all the strange transportations I had ever been on. Whatever that was, a sense of adventure started when I boarded any one of them. This was no exception. One young man drove, the other one sat on the back, next to me. The tractor was loaded with bottles of soft drinks.

It was cold sitting there. My rain pants apparently had holes.

When we came near the bad, waterlogged section of the road, they put chains on tires. Daerji followed on moto. The water came to almost the height of the tires. The mud was sinking. The tractor struggled ahead, hit a rock, and stalled. Two motorcyclists came to help push, Daerji as well. But the tractor was damaged enough they decided it needed repair at Maqu, the next day.

So, with rain and night falling, I chose the option to go back when Daerji let me choose between keep going to the pasture, which must involve wading through this section in the cold rain, with no dry clothe to change into, or going back to the village.

Sun was out the next morning and I was fully prepared for wading. We took a different route, through the open grassland – or swampland rather, instead of the bad road. It was very pleasant actually, walking through the lumpy swamp. The water was clear and cold; the grass was soft to my bare feet. “This is your bath.” Daerji joked at me.

Before tractors and motorcycles, herders used male yaks to move. Yaks and horses would be better choices here.

After the path became ridable, it was a hot but not so long of a ride through many hillsides with deserts to Daerji’s pasture.

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