This is it. You won't get many opportunities to get into one of these. Call it bribery, call it coercion, call it intimidation, call it just being nice. I got myself into one of the Tibetan's houses during a time when I shouldn't have been in a village. It was a pretty fascinating experience. The commentary below refers to the images in the gallery.
The front door, if you want to call it that, leads you into the basement, if you want to call it that. The lowest level of the three level house was predominantly for storage. Not exactly the perfect area for greeting guests, it tended to be more of a functional space. It was clean, but you wouldn't want to live down here. In the back of my mind, I had wondered if they were hiding some kidnapped Chinese down here. The relations between the Tibetans and the Chinese were not the best from what I could tell.
On the way out of the lowest level, the "grand staircase" takes you upstairs to the first level of the living quarters. The ladders are typical Tibetan; pretty steep, with little steps. Not exactly the safest things I've been one. And definitely interesting to navigate if you're trying to climb up one with about thirty Tibetans, some going up, and some going down. If you don't believe that, just go to the Potala Palace....
As opposed to the usual drab exteriors of the earthen structures, the living quarters abound with color and decorations. I got a kick out of the potted plants. Nothing seems to grow very well here in Tibet because of the lack of water and the extremes in temperature. Not sure why their plants do better than mine....
The living room. Very colorful, clean, with fine tapestries and the ever incessant smell of burning yak butter. Note the single electric light bulb to the upper left. Inside the living area of the house, near the "living room", was this room, where a few dead animals were hanging. I didn't bother to ask....
Inside the kitchen of the home. Note again the single electric light bulb. Electricity was introduced to the Tibetans in 1959 when the Chinese "liberated" the country. I believe plumbing was also introduced to them at the same time. The stove worked on wood, which was not a common commodity. To the bottom left you can see a large pot full of melted yak butter. The yak butter was used for just about everything: prayer lamps, food, and tea. Tibetan tea basically consisted of yak butter, some salt, and some other flavorings.
Another view of the kitchen. Pretty well organized and clean. Remember, my visit was not planned; I kind of just dropped in. Like, I mean knock on the door and drop in drop in. Not exactly enough warning to go clean the kitchen, so I had to admit, they were pretty clean. At least their kitchen was a lot cleaner than mine.
A prayer room inside the living quarters. Religion plays a major role in their lives, and daily prayer is not uncommon. Again, a single light bulb in the room, a definite convenience that they didn't have before the Chinese liberation in 1959.
Another view of the family "temple". It is quite obvious that a lot of time and effort goes into the decorating of this room, as compared with the other rooms in the house.
The other side of the prayer room. Pictures of the dalai lama adorn the walls. The Dala Lama definitely plays a huge role in these people's lives, despite the fact that he now lives in India.
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