Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hiking in the TAR

This morning, I woke up and did a lesson of math, before today’s big hike.  We left the clinic armed with cameras, sunscreen, lunch, and water bottles.  Initially, we hitchhiked about a mile down our valley to a village where we crossed into the TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) and began our hike up another river valley.  

Bon Monastery at Start of Hike

Along our path, we saw many shaggy yaks and horses.  I noticed an interesting horse behavior; it was almost like the horses were kissing. 

Halfway along our hike, one of Dad’s patients came out of his house and invited us in for hot water and noodles.  Inside the home, big red beams painted with traditional Tibetan patterns supported the ceiling.  The room had a brick floor, and we sat on carpets with dragons, and Tibetan symbols.  It was cool that we were able to communicate with the family with only a few phrases of Tibetan.  As we watched the man’s wife put yak dung in the stove with the same hand she later used to wipe out our soup bowls.  We looked at each other and shrugged.  Dad said, “That’s why we brought the Cipro.” 

Inside of Family's Colorful House

In another room, the family had a large stack of yak skins.  I was not quite sure of the use of all these skins.  It did not look like the family had anything for turning yak skins into coats.  It just looked like they had 100 yak skins mothballed.  If that were the case, it was sad that they killed all those yaks for no reason. 

View into Room with Yak Skins

Dad with Father of the Family
Mom of the Family with Son

Monk at the Family's House
After we left the Tibetan house, we stopped to have our packed lunch (of course we are always hungry.)  We ate on a boulder by the river.  While we were eating, three local kids ran up to us and showed us a wild berry that was good to eat.  It tasted sour at first, but then we got used to it.   We continued walking along the exotic trail by the river.  All around us we saw colorful Tibetan houses, carved scriptures on rocks, stupas, prayer flags, and extremely friendly people.  We soon found a good swimming spot.  We jumped in the river and felt the cool water on our overheated skin.  Durning our swim, two Tibetan kids watched us closely.  We seemed to have been a form of entertainment for them. 

Later on our walk, we came upon a rather plain looking stupa and monastery.  The Stupa looked old and crumbling. The monastery also looked very old.  It didn’t have the typical colorful Tibetan decorations.   At the old Stupa and Monastery, we turned around, and headed back to our valley.  From there, we hitched a ride with a Chinese construction truck back to the clinic.

Old Stupa with Monastery Above

We are now in our peaceful clinic watching the sun go down.  Here in Surmang, it gets dark quickly, and we have to be efficient with all of our evening work.  For dinner we had home made noodles.  If you have not already noticed, noodles are part of our regular food agenda. 

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!                    


  1. Wow... sounds like a fun day! Home made noodles are always good... even with yak dung in them. Have fun!

  2. Funny comment about the cipro. BTW, have any of you gotten sick during your trip? I don't remember any stories about that in the blog so far.

  3. Noodles - delicious! Of course, nothing beats a good YLT. Warm bread (smelling suspiciously like the heat source), a good cut of Yak, with some local green and a make-believe tomato.

    Cipro, Cipro, Cipro, Timmy's got some Cipro, just in case you eat something bad!

    I'm in the Land of the Morning Calm waiting to fly to the Rodina. Not sure what internet access I'll have, so I may not see your post for a week or so... :-(