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Himalaya

Day 80: Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake 
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The courtyard at Namuís family home, where her uncle and aunt now live.
Michael Palin - HimalayaWhen we start filming, a black cat nestles down beside me, looking very sweet but tormenting our sound recordist with loud meows at unscheduled times.

Our talk turns to Namu's relationship with her mother, which is clearly at the heart of everything that's happened to her.

Not only was she not the boy her mother wanted, she was also what she calls 'a crying baby', to such an extent that her mother was driven to give her away and she was sent to live with an aunt. At the age of eight she was sent away again, this time to stay with an uncle who had lost his loved one in an accident and lived alone with his yaks up in the mountains.

Namu speaks of this with a nice touch of understatement.

'That was a very interesting time, and very hard. My uncle never speaks and the yak never speaks, so...' she gives a short, piercing laugh, '...so I had a really interesting childhood in the mountains.'

At 13 she went through the Mosuo woman's rite of passage, the traditional skirt ceremony.

'The lamas help you choose the day,' she recalls. 'And then in the morning, very early, mamma prepared the skirt, beautiful, long, long skirt, and beautiful jacket and hair things and flowers and the key. The key that is the power for you to continue to take care of this matriarchal family.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 80: Lugu Lake
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Lugu Lake
  • Book page no: 186

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RELATED LINKS

  • China
  • Day 43 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 53 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 44 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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