Lhasa, capital of Tibet
It was not until the third day after crossing the border of Nepal and Tibet that we got to the plain were the Himalaya is located. We stopped at the first crossroads to have a tea and warm up a little bit. Entering the bar we were so astonished that we looked at each other not understanding what was going on. A few kilometres from the Roof of the World, a Peruvian or maybe Bolivian family, was staring at us, as if it was normal to run into each other thousands of kilometres from our countries of origin. We were about to start speaking in Spanish. The wool of their clothes, their colourful clothing, their cute hats, their long scarves. Not only their garments, their complexion, the thickness of their hair or their features. Those Tibetans looked so much like any native American for the Andes that for a moment we thought we had been teletransported to the Titicaca high plains.
We have asked and searched everywhere and we haven’t found an answer for that extraordinary coincidence. Although it does not seem to be difficult to imagine what both people have in common: the altitude. Their garments are made with the best material to keep them warm. This material is made with the skin or wool of animals that, even being from different parts of the world, have developed the similar systems to fight low temperatures. In reality, the lamas from the Andes and the yaks from Tibet are as similar as their owners. The colours of the materials are bright in both cultures as nowhere else. There must be dozens of explanations to justify the coincidence, but we bet that the rocks or plants that you can find at this high altitude, for some reason that we don’t know, have more intense colours than the ones in the lower altitudes. Here and there their cheeks are pink and hardened form birth, probably to keep them warm during the frost that they have to bear all the time. It is the same with the wings of their noses. They are wider than usual and they are used to inhale more air and compensate the lack of oxygen that they have at an altitude of 4000 metres. Also the same with their eyelids almost closed to protect their eyes from the reflection of the sun on the snow that surrounds them.
Who knows if all these make any sense or it is just a lot of nonsense that we just made up? How beautiful history would be if it were told like that! And how easy to remember! All of us had that one teacher who went a step forward and was able to get our interest. Would it be so difficult to design an educational system like that? Maybe the difference is that when we are children we were not interested in these things at all, and now we have a passion for it. Who would have told us that one day we would be desperate to go back to school!?
Definitely this trip is changing us more than what we expected…