Today’s distance / ???????: 4.6 miles / 7.5km
Average speed / ????: 6.4mph / 10.3km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 43 minutes
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5462mi plus 377mi (?) / 8790km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 185m
Descent / ??: 315m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N37° 58′ 07.70″, E100° 56′ 03.30″
The day began with death.
The father of the household said last night that they would be slaughtering a sheep tomorrow morning, and that I should stay to eat some of it with them. I was surprised to wake in the morning with muffled grunts coming from outside the tent. Rousing myself, I see a still sheep on its back on the grass. Motionless. With rope tied tightly around its nose and mouth.
“In New Zealand, we would cut its throat,” I said, gesturing to the sheep’s throat.
“That is not the Buddhist way,” the father replied.
He then proceeded to cut a small hole just below the sheep’s rib cage. Putting his hand into the sheep via the hole, up to his fore-arm, he seemed to be searching for something. A few moments later he removed his hand. I’m still not sure what he was doing. Checking that the sheep was dead?
After this ‘surgery’ the butchering began. Began by skinning the animal.
Then gut the animal and carefully extract the blood for future use.
Take the carcass away to be sold, and keep all the innards for the family’s consumption.
Including the head. The head was an interesting one. You see, the mission was to break the jaw away from the cranium. This proved harder than normal, and even with two people yanking on the dismembered head, it took some serious pulling to get the jaw to part with the head.
The two girls, both around 15 years old, were not perturbed at all with all the blood and guts. They made me recall the girlstudents from the outdoor education camp that I worked at in Switzerland. The commotion that this activity would have caused amongst that lot would have been incredible.
Even cleaning out the colossal stomach was no issue.
Now, the intestines were an interesting part of the process. I knew that intestines are often used as ‘containers’ for sausages. I never considered however the fact that they come out of the animal full of poo. That is, before you use them, you’ve got to clean all the poo out.
It’s a rather labour intensive undertaking. Squeeze out most of the poo, and then flush the intestine out with water. Blow into the intestine to get the water through…
Nothing on the animal was wasted. The entire innards was minced and stuffed into sausages. The lungs, the liver, kidneys, the blood, the fat… Flavouring was salt, spring onion, and curry powder.
The sausages were all cooked together in a big pot on the stove. The stove burned dry yak poo, which is in a much larger abundance than wood in this area.
The sausages were palatable. The blood and fat sausage was far too rare for my liking, although the more well done sections were passable. The lung and meat sausage was the best of the tough menu, and unfortunately the white sausage consisting of flour and white fat just did not do it for me.
All this protein and fat was enough to energise me for the short skate to O-po. After a quick group photo, thanks, and a farewell I was off.
The push up to the summit of the pass was a short but steep one. I was still feeling under the weather, my sinuses stuffed up. My first pass over 3,500m on the board, I was happy. Pushed the entire way, no walking (plenty of stops, mind you!). Stoked.
The descent into O-po town was quick. Despite it only being 12 noon, I decided that I would take the rest of the day off. It was at least 70km to the next town, and I didn’t have it in me to push on today.
For the first time here in O-po, I noticed Tib*etan writing on signs.