Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 18 - Tashigaon to Seduwa

I was up around 6am.

The views towards Khongma were amazing as the sun was rising.

The young porters from the Danish group were also up early and were washing their clothes.

It was good to see that the guide of the group was instructing them to stay clean.

Longman go the job of preparing breakfast on this day.

We had fried rice but I think he may have forgotten to light the fire under the fry pan.

The rice also contained some root vegetable. At first we thought it was potato but it tasted more like a fruit.

As we ate breakfast strongman was out giving advice to the young group of porters.

Seems like this was the first trip for these guys and they were a little nervous about the climb up to Khongma.

Before we left they laid out a tarp to dry millet.

This is the first step in making tongba - I guess we may have depleted their reserves a bit the previous evening.

This is how the millet looks as it grows.

I'm not sure if the grain is only used for alcohol or also for food but there were certainly many fields of millet all around the foothills.

As we left Tashigaon we saw this guy ploughing the hillside.

They were small rice terraces that hardly looked worth the effort required to plant them.

A little below Tashigaon we came across this guy out working in the fields with his three sons.

They were harvesting cardamom.

One of the kids pulled out a cellphone to take pictures of the strange pale people walking through their area.

It really is amazing how cell phones have spread throughout the world.

This is how the cardamom looks as they harvest it.

I think it is the root of the plant and needs to be dug from the ground.

The cardamom was dried (or smoked) over large fire pits.

The walk from Tashigaon to Seduwa was short.

We would have carried on to Num but we wanted to spend another night with strongman's family.

We stopped for a quick beer as we arrived in Seduwa.

Strongman disappeared into a backroom and we found him grazing on Dal Bhat.

To get from the village down to strongman's house you pass through the local school.

It was the middle of the day but not many of the kids were actually in their classes.

It seems that many of the teachers had not bothered to return yet from their Dashain trips.

We got back to strongman's house which is just below the village of Seduwa.

Strongman's son was happy with all the activity at the house.

We went back into Seduwa to buy goat meat for dinner.'Strongman had been talking all trip about killing one of his goats for us but we couldn't allow that.

I asked him to find a raksi still for us to see how it's made.

He searched the village for somebody making that day.

We didn't find anybody distilling but some folks did show us the still and explain how it works.

There are three main pots.

The bottom pot holds the millet alcohol (chaang I guess) that is to be distilled.

It is boiled on the fire and evaporates.

The middle pot has holes to let the vapour rise to that level.

A bucket is placed in the centre of that pot.

The top pot is filled with cold water.

When the vapour hist the base of that top pot it condenses and collects in the bucket.

It is about as simple a still as you could make.

As we waited for the butchers who were slaughtering a goat we stopped into one of the local shops for a beer.

These ladies were sitting opposite the shop and when they saw my camera they were keen to pose for photos.

They ended up grabbing kids and asking me to take more pictures.

A while back I mailed a big batch of photos to the village.
Haven't heard if they actually received them but hopefully so.

This is the butchers shop in the village.

It seems they slaughter a goat quite regularly and then just chop it into random bits.

They create equal sized piles with all parts of the animal in each pile.

I think it was about 1,000 rs for the pile of meat.

As we made our way back to strongman's we came across a house where they were flattening bamboo with stones.

They weave the bamboo into sheets.

These are then used as roofs or walls in their houses.

I guess it would be quite a drippy roof until they get enough creosote buildup.

When we got back to strongman's they served us a plate of root vegetables.

One was potatoes but I'm not sure what the other vegetable is.

We thought this was a sampler for what would be served with the goat later in the day.

Strongman went to work on the bag of goat bits.

As we sat chilling on the porch he brought us a bowl of goat.

It was good having Mark there to take care of the more scary looking parts.

The entire time we were at the house there were various kids from surrounding houses coming and going.

It was obvious that there was not a lot of money in this village but there was a very strong community.

Strongman's father arrived home from his job of caring for buffalo.

He was a real character.

When dinner was served it was random goat bits with pancakes, bananas and honey.

We were expecting potatoes which would have worked a lot better.

Seems Strongman noticed how much we enjoyed pancakes with honey first time we stayed and was trying to give us what we liked.

Didn't figure that the combination wouldn't work so well..

Weather:   One hat day. We were back to about 5,000ft and even though we were into November it was still very warm.

Accommodation: 3 out of 3. We could have passed through Seduwa on this day but really wanted  to spend another day experiencing how people really lived.

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