"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

All Of A Quiver

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The day’s touring was almost done.
We had visited two monasteries, passed through alien landscapes and taken lunch in an exotic Ladakhi home.
But still we had no idea where the night would be spent.

As our car drove away from the last monastery, it seemed we might be retracing our path.
After an hour or so, I began to make sense of our itinerary.
We were returning to the house where we had lunched.
Suddenly I understood why the owner had first shown us a bedroom – though the explanation for its remarkable, bordering on louche, décor was maybe a matter best left unresolved.
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The sun sets late in the Himalayas:
great altitude gives longer hours of daylight.
With the evening still bright, we began to explore the village in which we would stay.

Music could be heard drifting up the hill and, wondering if it might signify a local wedding, we followed the Tibetan melodies until reaching a roadside field, to find instead an archery competition was underway.

A very beautiful young woman smiled sweetly, offering us hot tea and savoury snacks as we watched the men taking turns to shoot a bullseye.
When an interval was reached, the competitors retrieved their arrows, then the entire company moved into a tent where local barley-beer and rum were served.
We happily accepted several glasses of the beer, but unsure of the strength of their liquor, we declined it.

A second round of archery followed, in which we were also invited to try our hand with bow and arrow.
Once more, but this time with the well-being of the local population foremost in our minds, we politely declined!

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It had been an amazing and beautiful day.
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But the surprises were not yet finished:
a fascinating evening meal still awaited us…

Pictures taken in Tingmosgang, Ladakh.

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12 responses

  1. What in incredibly beautiful people! They remind me of Native Americans in sunglasses.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    • They are a very beautiful people and, like many of those who have so little of their own, embarrassingly generous in their hospitality…

      May 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm

  2. Great shots! That movie is great too! The first time I watched it was last year and loved it. It was sad, yes, but powerful.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    • Along with “Cinema Paradiso”, it is one of my favourite Italian films. They are both true masterpieces!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

      • I haven’t seen that one, but I will have to check it out sometime.

        May 10, 2012 at 3:30 am

        • Be sure to get the “director’s cut”: it’s quite long but much more satisfying.

          May 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  3. Toffeeapple

    What an amazing time you are having. I would definitely have joined in the archery, it is the one sport in which I am able to participate and I enjoy it immensely.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    • We had already enjoyed “quite a few” barley-beers. The prospect of repaying our hosts’ kindness with a fatal wound did not bear countenancing!

      Ms Toffeeapple as queen of the archers? It’s an intriguing vision!

      May 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm

  4. Toffeeapple

    In which case, I understand your reticence!

    It has been a few years since I last wore a finger tab but it is the most enjoyable thing I have ever done.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    • Finger tabs? Sounds very serious – but also great fun!

      And did you wear Lincoln green?!

      May 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  5. Toffeeapple

    Finger tabs to facilitate ease of release of the bow string without hurting fingers.

    Green of any description does not become me.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    • I had guessed that was the function of finger-tabs. (My young friend Robin has developed very tender finger palps since starting to play the veena.)

      Regarding your lack of affinity for Lincoln green, I sympathise. For fourteen years I was forced to wear bottle green school uniforms. It has put me off the colour for life!

      May 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

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