Tea Horse Chronicles - The Hostess, The Keeper
A nomadic hostess (nemo) offers up a smile to our sun and grime battered crew near Ala Jagung, Tibet. The smile that comes from living so vitally and so close to Mother Nature's moods never fails to move the blood. Such hosts and hostesses could ensure that they were shown preference by muleteers along the Tea Horse Road, through their generosity and care-taking abilities. Tea was an offering beyond a simple beverage. It was an adhesive and tribute to a journeyer; it was a promise that with its offering, all was well (at least temporarily). For us, this woman offered up butter tea, disks of homemade barley bread, a happy rant about the weather at close to 5000 metres, and her home. The mountain mantra is and always has been, 'Cooperate or Perish', and this was demonstrated time and time again across the expanse of our journey across the Himalayas. Her tent, tea, and smiles would embed themselves in our team’s bones for much of the rest of our journey, even though we would only remain with her for a couple of hours. Her spirit (and tea) raised us, and that smile and energy still rate as some of the better fuel I’ve fed on - ever. It was a brief but intense bit of restoration on our journey.