Into the Mountains
Tangmarg Travel Blog› entry 29 of 41 › view all entries
In early March, Ali took his first break in two months and Chris and I went with him to the mountains. We got off of a bus and followed him through a schoolyard at a small village near Tangmarg. A hundred or more young students and several teachers stopped what they were doing to watch us pass. At the top of a wooded snow-covered hill, we entered the small rock and adobe shack of Ali's family.
We met his aging folks, two of his wrinkled elderly aunts, his two sisters, and a half-dozen wide-eyed children. None of them spoke English and Ali's was minimal. As we huddled on blankets on the floor, they ogled us while bombarding Ali with questions. Beneath a pane-less window, his youngest sister worked at a small loom, timidly peering at us through strands of brightly colored wool. Chris and I regretted not being able to communicate with the family and about all we could do was smile and nod.
Ali's mother brought us tea, Kashmiri bread, and fried eggs. We felt guilty in taking precious food, but to reject it would be considered an insult. Their thrill at having western guests was apparent, and Chris and I felt deeply honored to be there. When we left, Chris gave them the pair of bright red sneakers that she bought in Kathmandu.