Updated by Linda McMillan
Saturday, April 8,
In the morning Nawang Sherpa, Nima Gombu Sherpa, and Ang Dawa Sherpa arrived at our hotel. We loaded their gear on the problematic flatbed truck and paused in the town of Tingri to do some more last-minute shopping.
We bought some thick blankets to line our tents, some thermoses, and other items we would need. While in the local, self-proclaimed "supermarket" on the main street, we were stunned to see in this very Tibetan village a young lad who wheeled into the shop on a homemade skateboard! This was especially unexpected as there are virtually no paved streets in Tingri. Amazing. We finished our shopping that afternoon at the local clinic to pick up some Tibetan sinus cold remedies for George.
We noticed that Tingri has three very distinct aspects which are reflected in its residents and visitors:
1. For "modern day" folks, it's a lonely outpost on a lonely stretch of highway. It's a rather shabby place where one can eat, sleep, and possibly repair vehicles along the busy route to or from the Nepali border, several hours south. Parking even the largest vehicles or groups of vehicles (such as excavators, Army convoys, highway construction equipment, etc.) is simply not a problem. Just park them fully in the street and walk away. Everything eventually finds a way to go around your unattended vehicle(s) or convoys.
2. For the more traditional Tibetans, its an exciting place where locals and nomads can pull up to the front of any shop or restaurant with their tiny horses and wagons and hang out with friends, be cool playin' pool on the outdoor pool tables, drink endless stout rounds of butter tea, show off or comment upon one's elaborate headdress or sword, and get supplies to sustain them on the bleak Tibetan plateau. Quite a convenient, lively place. And the patient little horses almost never run away, even when left untethered for hours. They seem equally content to be in town--why would they run away from something that is this exciting to watch?
But wait, there's more! After dark the first night in Tingri we discovered the dramatic, quite unexpected, and certainly unforgettable, third aspect of Tingri:
3. For dogs, Tingri is a place where you can spend 12 hours a night barking long and hard at each other, non-stop, every night, regardless of the phase of the moon. No one will make you stop barking, since no dog really belongs to anyone there. As a dog you are king of the exciting street scene, on your own, able to enjoy any scrap of food that might be tossed out some door or window, as long as you are faster than the other dogs, cows, goats, and a very few cats (who are also gunning for scraps). Tingri is in effect a Shaggy/Scrappy/Homeless/Mongrel Dog Nirvana.
But not so for the humans. We noticed on the bulletin board of the Everest View Lodge more than one advisory posted by a passing expedition group warning that some of the dogs in town were actually dangerous. Several people had reported getting bitten or harassed by individual dogs or groups of them. The strong advice was to always carry a stick or trekking pole whenever venturing out in Tingri, just in case.
As much as we enjoyed learning about Tingri, we were even more excited to leave it when we headed out to Cho Oyu.
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