We set out promptly at 7. We walk through workers harvesting both golden wheat and red buckwheat. The golden patches contrast with the red, making a beautiful patchwork. As we walk, the land today becomes more barren than on previous days, grey mountains spotted with orange and red shrubs.
We arrive to Yak Karka at 10:30 am and Min announces this is where we are lodging. I am surprised. Stopping at 10:30? That’s unheard of. We have another 6 hours of trekking to do. What is he thinking? But, indeed, we are stopping. I’m not sure why.
Mark, Abby, Tobin and I feel the need to continue walking. So we do. Straight up a hill. It’s a little difficult, because there isn’t a path, we’re stumbling through prickly bushes. We look around at mountains and decide to walk on the path instead. We run into a herd of yak. We wander. We’re cold. We head back to Yak Karka, a village of a dozen buildings.
As we’re entering town, Essie, Abby’s guide, calls to us. She motions for us to join her in a small shack. We enter. It can’t be more than 10’ x 10’. A thin mattress rests in one corner. In the other is a fire cum stove. We, along with five Nepalis, sit around the fire on benches maybe three inches off the ground. The woman of the house prepares tea for us. I have no idea why we are there, but I’m happy. I’m enjoying the warmth of the fire and the bitterness of the lemon tea. We’re sitting knee to knee, laughing and talking. The woman prepares a skillet of yak curry. It smells delicious. I’m wondering if I should eat it or not. What am I thinking? Of course I should. How often do I get served yak curry in a Nepali home? Silly me.
She passes around small, very small, plates of yak curry. Not plates, per se, more like tin tea saucers. Everyone is very polite, picking one or two pieces of meat with their right hand then passing the plate to the right. It’s crazy delicious. I savor the curry, the spices, the tenderness of the meat. I want more, but am unsure of the etiquette. A Nepali asks for more. I’m glad. We pass the meat again. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m warm. I’m satisfied.