This blog is a bit delayed because it got stuck in my email outbox.
We headed over to Nixi village that specializes in traditional Tibetan pottery using local mud and firing practices passed down from generation to generation for over 800 years. The local master taught us how to pound and roll out a cup. He then cleaned up the cups with final finishing touches. Then we each added our own carvings to the outside. While we are hiking in Yubeng, he will fire them in a pit filled with wood, which will turn them black glazed. We hope to pick them up on our way home.
We’ll be out of WiFi and cell contact for 4 days, so here are a few last minute fun photos to share: John driving a farm tractor, Coulson eating a chicken head, Derek and Zea eating chicken feet, Quinn on a sleepy bus ride, and an underdeveloped train station bathroom.
We were welcomed into the home of Tsui Tsu and her Tibetan family for a wonderful homestay experience. The family were gracious hosts teaching us about their culture and inviting us to partake in a community rain prayer ceremony, which worked because it began to rain the next day. The home is situated beside the Napa grasslands and seasonal lake where yaks and horses graze. We toured the village, farmland, and nearby wildflower filled open spaces. We stayed here 2 nights and were fed traditional Tibetan meals. Breakfast consisted of yak butter tea, fried bread, barley balls, and yak cheese. Dinner was a Tibetan hot pot with pig skin and pig fat among other vegetables. In the evening we sang songs, talked, and did a little dancing. The students were challenged by the active rats inside the house at night and the limited bathroom facilities, which were in poor condition because Tibetans usually go outside into the forest for the bathroom. The family was also in the process of building a new home, so the students were able to see the unique nail-free architecture, mud walls, and hand carved wood work. The family had harvested, transported, carved and built the home all by themselves. They said it would take 3 more years to finish.
After a local noodle soup breakfast we rented Chinese tandem bikes for an adventure to neighboring Baisha town. In Baisha we visited the local embroidery institute that teaches the new generation the art of Naxi embroidery. Lizy here is speaking to an embroidery master who has been working on this current project for more than a year.
Coulson next to his Chinese namesake: songshu 松鼠 for squirrel for his tree climbing capabilities. We had dinner at a Tibetan restaurant where we were invited to dance a traditional dance on stage with the owner and staff. Then, in the hard to see photo at the end, we joined in the nightly hour-long traditional circle dance.