“The tea caravans would come from the north and they would come in Spring and even winter. The Khampas who accompanied the caravans could frighten and impress us. They were unpredictable and without fear. Their journeys made them indestructible”.
Words during an interview near the Bhutan-Tibet border with an elder who served our team a variation of butter tea. He was speaking of the Khampa (‘people of the east’ of the Tibetan lands) who inspired this reverence and fear throughout their long journeys.
This variation of butter tea being served while chatting in a rumbling wind was ‘enhanced’ with the addition of rancid goat milk, which was used instead of yak milk.. The resultant tea wasn’t pleasant. “Watch out for this one”, fellow journeyer Yeshi told me of the offending tea in warning. It was an impossible beverage to enjoy but the moments with this ancient gem were memorable because they reminded of the importance of people of the leaf, who ushered the stimulant green commodity to all points of the compass along the Tea Horse Road.
Another of the amazingly lucid witnesses to days when the Tea Horse Road enjoyed activity.