Langmusi: The Tibetan Lady and the Pear

Third part of three: To understand the TWAF phenomenon please read Part 2 first >here<

Langmusi

As the day moves on I proceed down the valley to Namo Gorge. Damn it! My super irritating habit of not buying something I need when walking past a shop has meant that I’ve no water at all, and at this altitude I’m seriously parched.

Just before the gorge is a beautiful tranquil flat grassy area with the river babbling nearby. Numerous water powered prayer wheels in stilted boxes quietly squeak away over yonder.

Langmusi

Just beyond the temple is the way on to Namo Gorge and the grove

Giving myself time to decide if I want to go any further while being this thirsty, I sit against a tree in a quiet grove trying to contain my inward annoyance. Then, out of the corner of my eye I spot a woman raise her phone up and take a snap of me from the other side of the trees. TWAF at nine o’clock! Instinctively I turn, shake my head and hold my hand up flat “No! I’ve had just enough of all that today, especially when I’m trying to chill.

img_5240aUnfortunately as per usual I’ve made another glaring error of judgement; she is Tibetan along with her friends who were sitting together on the grass enjoying their day. As she sits back down they all turn to me looking really hurt.

In an attempt to vindicate myself I smile, give them the thumbs up and wave but even so the woman stands up and proceeds towards me through the grove. Head bowed, her body arched over, she suddenly looks up at me with deep hazel eyes filled with sadness. She wears a pink and blue headscarf and her dark weathered face seems to magnify the depth of her expression. Shuffling closer, she mutters prayer under her breath and then takes out a pear from a small embroidered cloth bag.

img_5241bHolding it out at arm’s length she continues towards me so I spring up and meet her half way accepting the gift with a big thu chi che [tɔɔdʒe] which is my best thank you in Tibetan. Having returned to her friends they all look back around with nervousness to gauge my reaction. Holding up the pear in both hands, I say thank you again with my biggest smile and to my relief it’s met with their almost joyous reaction. Phew!

Lying back against the tree I focus on the pear. I must admit that there is a terribly negative demon that lives inside of me and right now it’s telling me to put it in my bag and save it for later. Recently though some progress has been made concerning the intrusive voices and instead I take a bite.

Rather than the hard pears you can normally buy in the shops, this one’s cold, soft and it explodes with juice all over my face and hands. Indeed it’s an instant thirst quencher of the highest order and I gorge myself, slurping on it without a second thought like a pig.

Finally, as the display of unbridled indulgence grinds to a halt I am left with, for a brief moment, an empty space free from craving and I sigh in relief. Within seconds though, a cloud envelops me as a singular deep feeling of guilt reveals itself. The exchange lingers, dancing around inside my head for the rest of the day.

Make what you like of it. The more I think about it, the more twists of meaning the episode seems to have and I’ll never forget that brief exchange that happened in the grove.

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36 replies

      • Indeed, but probably only in the rural heartlands we think…correct us if we are wrong.
        We still think people outside the cities are less corrupted by the materialism that “modernity” brings. That’s why tourism is a double edged sword. Do we want their lives to be “better” – ie have clean running water etc. Or do we want them to ‘preserve their ways of living’ – ie stay the way they are now. What do you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think in the monasteries of Langmusi there was a small ticket office at the entrance and the money went to the upkeep of the temples etc. Guesthouses and hotels allow the tourists to stay and therefore soend their money. It’s all well and good but it doesnt mean that those tourists can go around and behave badly. Back to it though and some places have been made into tourist towns and most of the money is kept buy a large company. I experienced it in Jinghong down in Xishuangbanna where a whole village had a fence put up around it so people could take photos of the local people who all looked as poor as hell. I dont think they had a better way of life. Its much worse in SE Asia like Laos and Cambodia.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed! This brings exploitation to a whole new level. Which is really disgusting. But then, we only find out when we get there. Since information is not always readily available. The net is inundated with information and sifting them out can be tedious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I went to a place called MaTiSi in Gansu (soon to put it on YouTube). I saw some photos on the internet and it looked remote and out there so I drove out of town for a couple of hours to get there. When I arrived to my dismay it was nothing but a tourist town. Even the temples were built for the tourists. There were cameras everywhere in the temples so you were being watched all of the time. There was one authentic temple which was falling to pieces old and no one ever went there. If is well known it will be the same as anywhere else

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You must have looked so darn cute or were one of those moments of unspeakable beauty?!! always love the way you document your feelings, the burst of indignation, the righteous stance and then slowly the mellowing down and finally the soft teddy bear forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

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