Saturday, November 22, 2008
May 8, 2004, Saturday morning
Location: the tail of the Himalayas (just a place you pass over while watching the inflight movie)
The trail straddled a ridge covered with pines and rhododendrons. In burned clearings were thickets of Himalayan blackberries and brackens. To the south a vast canyon, in the distance slash and burn.
A light-footed stranger came down the trail.
He was armed -- spear, long bow, a bamboo quiver of arrows, and a dah (machete). No shoes. He wore an oversized suit jacket.
There were no villages nearby.
I had to talk with him. Shein translated to Homang, Homang translated to the stranger.
His name was Boomenai, and he was 76 years old. He had two wives and ten children. Two are still living.
He was on his way to Kanpetlet, a two-day march from his village. He had slept in the forest, and roasted a bird for dinner last night.
I would like to know him better, but have to be satisfied with his picture.
Anyone who carries a spear, hunts with a bow, and sleeps in his suit jacket is my kind of guy.