Sunday, September 12, 2010

Marpha Part I - How Red

Marpha, Oh Sweet Marpha! From Kagbeni, Tony and I made it to Marpha. The next morning, with our packs on and boots strapped, we were heading out of Marpha to the next village. There was the local school up ahead. I stopped by and asked the head master if it was possible to volunteer as an English teacher for 3 or 4 weeks. He hesitated, then asked if I wanted compensation or a place to stay. I laughed and said no, and that was all taken care of. He then stuck his hand out to welcome me aboard. I slowly walked out of the school to where Tony had been waiting for me. I told him it was nice meeting him and hiking with him for the first 2 plus weeks. He alone proceeded to the next village. I went back to the guest house we stayed in the previous night to rest the remainder of the day before my first day of class began.This is Kamala; she is the owner of the guest house I stayed at in Marpha. She is an amazing cook, known for her Nepali Enchilada, which I am holding, and soon thereafter devoured. Equal Delicious!Marpha is known as the Apple Capital, but here I am picking locally grown appricots - and my god are they so so sweet. They have apple and apricot trees all over Marpha. I would walk down the street and pick a new kind of apple or apricot. My stomach was surely satisfied here!My extended stay at the guest house granted me kitchen privileges. I would often cook my own food, and sometimes cook food for the other guests as well. Maybe this picture is Chow Mien or Fried Rice.3 am hike to Yak Karaka. To say the very least, this day was quite an experience. Where do I even begin. 3 am walking up in the dark coated by clouds making it near impossible to see the narrow and rocky path, but we (myself, two Germans, and a woman from France) made it. We hiked to Yak Karaka to see some Yaks, but not only to see the yaks. Well, one nice thing about this hike was the sun rise view of Mt. Nilgiri at 22,796 feet. And of course, the famous and mystical Yak. What a creature.I even got to pet a baby Yak, so cute!And, oh ya, the locals believe that drinking Yak blood is good for digestion, so, many locals come to Yak Karaka once a year for two weeks, camp out each night, and wake up to cut the jugular vein of the yak, which makes way for the blood to shoot out and land in cups. One jugular vein cut will fill up nearly 20 cuts of blood for the people. And how red the blood is - pure blood.A local during imbibing the medicine.And her colorful smile immediately following. Happy People.But not so happy Yak. They do live, however, if that is what your wondering. Well, at least the ones used for just the blood and not for their meat. One of my favorite pictures. The eye of "get your hands and cups out of my neck and leave me alone to roam the hills, Dammit!"

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