Friday, January 10, 2014

Below the Village

Just after I passed the pork-and-potato dinner preparations, the path took a sharp right and I was alone in quiet farm land again. I found a ledge to sit on and enjoy the view while I rested for a minute, and I pulled out my kindle to read a bit more. A man who looked about sixty strolled by, hands behind his back.  He looked over my shoulder curiously to see what I was doing and asked what that thing I was using was; I tried to explain that it was for reading books, but he shook his head bemusedly and wandered on.

After a bit I followed him down the path, which soon came out if the trees into the sun. Rice terraces undulated across the valley in both directions; to the right the layers went all the way up to the main road and seemingly beyond all the way to the foot of the mountain towering behind. Ahead of me the broad valley narrowed between the cliffs, but a thick, low cloud closed the gap, sealing this valley into its own little world. 

I soon found the old man again, sitting on a grassy hillside along the path with his friend.  They sat chatting in the sun on this winter afternoon, and he greeted me enthusiastically as I came into view. He saw I had my camera around my neck, and he pointed at it and motioned with the charades that we who do not  share a language communicate with for me to take a photo of him and his friend.  They smiled cheesily as I did, and then he hopped down from his hillside perch to see the picture.  He may not understand a kindle, but he had the idea of digital cameras.  He seemed quite proud of himself when he remembered how to express approval to a foreigner-thumbs up!

I went just a bit further down the path and stood in the sun taking in the 360 degree view, and then retraced my steps through the village and around the road to "my" village on the opposite side of the valley, arriving as the late-afternoon sun turned the valley gold. 


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