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One Night by Karakul

Zài zhè'er!

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Karakul, August 21st 2012

I have no idea what time it was already when my growling hungry stomach, at last, arrived back by the side of Karakul. According to the exif data on the last photo I took, it was 10:00 PM Beijing time. That was about half an hour away from Karakul where I spent the night. I have no idea either how much the temperature was. For sure it wasn't as cold as where my driver had stopped for a prayer (he said so), where there were many yaks. The biggest difference was that it wasn't windy which is the most unbearable thing for me.

This is the picture from this morning, just to give you the idea about the place where I slept. It was sort of a stone house.

And these are photos I took the next morning before everyone, except my driver, woke up. I regret it now that I didn't take any picture of dinner at that night. My stomach was complaining hard and I myself was worried I would get sick and thus not be able to continue my journey which was not yet even half done.

So this was the interior. On the left is the door. Before everyone slept, this area served as living room, dinner room, sort of the traditional Japanese house. When everyone was about to sleep, the host made our bedding by arranging them like this. This place where we slept on was like a stage. Thus, we didn't sit or sleep with our body in contact directly to the ground. If you take a look closely, you can see that stage at the left side near the door entrance.

We all sat on this stage for dinner. Previously my driver had asked me whether I preferred rice or noodle. I answered, rice. I got rice noodle. But the thing actually not so good was that there was a lot of cabbage in my rice noodle soup. Normally, I don't eat cabbage, because I don't like it. I also read that cabbage doesn't should an A blood type person. Worse than that, my stomach had been empty several hours longer than normal time. Eating cabbage would increase the gas production inside my stomach. Kacau dot com, my country fellow would say.

The other choice of menu was bread and yak milk tea. The first time I heard about yak milk tea was in Michael Palin's film. I was curious ever since. And now it's here in front of me. I thought I would have to travel to Tibet like Michael Palin in order to taste yak milk tea. If it weren't for that yak milk tea, my dinner that night would have been a big zero.

My driver who sat next to me, broke the bread into pieces and gave me some. You know what, the moment he did that, my heart stopped. "... He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..." from Luke 22:19 echoed in my mind. So, it was like this! Since I was a kid I had always imagine that the bread was like the plain bread (roti tawar, we say) my family use to have for breakfast. Breaking the bread, didn't really make sense, until this moment.

Next, my driver dipped his piece of bread into his bowl of yak milk tea. Oh! So that's how you are supposed to eat these hard breads. It's not the way I've always thought bread should be eaten which is by putting it directly into my mouth.

Meanwhile I felt the urge to pee becoming stronger. I thought I'd better do it and then go back to my yak milk tea with bread so that I can enjoy it to the full.

"Where are you going?" Tujadim asked.

"I need to go to the toilet," I answered.

"Do you know where it is?"

"The one inside the hut, isn't it? I saw it this morning."

"Yes, but if you want to go there, you need a flashlight. Otherwise, we go over there." Tujadim pointed to his right.

"I have a flashlight," I said to him.

"All right."

I pushed the wooden door opened. And... wow... it was totally completely perfect dark. No wonder Tujadim said I needed a flashlight. I pointed my flashlight left and right and left. Now, to which direction was that wooden hut I saw this morning?? This is just a lake side on the mountain feet. There are no alleys to remember where to turn right or turn left. There are small hills up and down instead.

Suddenly I heard the wooden door behind me creaked. Before I noticed, our host, an elderly woman, was already next to me holding my right hand. "Come with me!"

"Great," I thought.

As I walked, I felt my feet were walking on asphalt. Is this the highway? Oh yes, we are crossing the highway. A few steps after crossing, she pointed on the ground with her flashlight.

What does she mean? Where's the toilet? "Where?"

"Zài zhè'er!Here!"

What??! Here??!

I rolled down my pants and squatted. From the light behind me, I noticed my host lady moved back a few steps. So there, I did it, on the land of my ancestors. Zài zhè'er!

My host lady held my hand again, and led me back to our stone house. Sadly, my yak milk tea and bread had been cleared up.

Posted by automidori 18:12 Archived in China Tagged china xinjiang karakul

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