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Barley Wine in Mingyong

April 8, 2011
Tibetan Prayer Flags in the Wind

Tibetan Prayer Flags in the Wind. Photo by Tim Quijano.

The first night in Mingyong, Heather and I had dinner with some Tibetan elders. Over some local barley wine, we discussed a variety of topics, Heather and I moving through English and Mandarin, while Atsu, the head of the village, and his brother, moved through their dialect of Kham Tibetan and Mandarin. You’d think it’s really ironic to be constantly complaining about and making fun of Han Chinese in their language, but this seems to happen every time I converse with non-Han Chinese people.

Their smell is fake, jiade, because they shower too often and both the men and women use so much makeup and hair product, Atsu’s brother said.

Yes, and they reek of garlic, Heather and I replied.

Then, we moved onto why Tibetans didn’t shower as much, It’s so cool*, liangkuai. Before, when I was younger, the glacier run off was ice right here at the village.**

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*There’s a common phrase in Chinese that is used to refer to cool temperature with a refreshing feel.

**This amazed me, because the same day I had hiked to an elevation of 1000 meters above the village (village elevation is about 3200m) to see the glacier. The glacier didn’t start until an elevation of at least 500m above the town.

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