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Himalaya

Day 59: Xangmu to Tingri

Michael Palin - HimalayaWe stop and walk a little way from the car, every step feeling like 20 at this altitude.

But that doesn't dampen the exhilaration.

It's dark when we reach the town of Tingri and, after some initial confusion, find our way off the highway and into a capacious courtyard, which looks like that of a monastery, but in fact belongs to the Snow Leopard Hotel. Life centres around a big, low, woody room with painted beams and a brick parqueted floor, largely lit by the glow from a stove of burning yak dung in the centre of the room. This is what was lacking in those inhospitable Annapurna cabins: a fire, so simple and so intensely welcoming. We cluster round it and a lady with braided hair and rubicund, muddied face offers us yak butter tea. Nigel describes the taste as 'liquid gorgonzola', which is absolutely spot on. The rancid smell of the tea and the sharp aroma of yak dung smoke is not as horrible as it sounds. I find it odd, yes, but interestingly strange and unfamiliar, quintessentially Tibetan and proof that north of the Himalaya everything is very different.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 59: Xangmu to Tingri
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Tingri
  • Book page no: 140

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