It’s Just a Mug of Lard

I have always been a grandma boy since the day my mum decided to retire from being a full time house wife and join the work force, so that we had enough to put my sister through Art College. So I was left under my grandma’s rules at the age of 3. Most of the people who knew my grandma, knew her as a sweet old lady who wouldn’t even hurt a rat, but none of them knew about the iron lady that rule with an iron clad fist when it comes to grooming and table manners. For the first 10 years of my life, I was basically a private living in my grandma’s barrack and was put through the most intensive grooming mastery and table manners mastery training (think Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket but minus the vulgarity). For her grooming and manners is nothing to be laughing and gagging around about; and she believes that all good things should be rewarded and bad ones are to be punished. There wasn’t a day in my life while living with her that I do not fear that I was not presentable enough for her and having meals with her was as intense as taking a walk in the field filled with live mines. Today, many may think that I am just generally faking my table manners to impress others while my friends used to think that I might be on the verge of becoming a transvestite because of my overly grooming “protocol”. But thanks to the term metro-sexual, I finally got them off my back. Even though her methods may seem a little excessive but only good things has come from it. She has made me who I am today in terms of self grooming and table manners.

But I never thought that one day it would lead me to one the most horrid experience in my life. It was early morning at Shegar and while my Canadian companions were still resting after a night of drinking, I decided to go down to the lounge of the guest house that I was staying in. Just as I step down and into the lounge, two Tibetan women saw me and they jump up to their feet and started to talk in tongues to each other. Then one of them came over and said something to me which totally sounded gibberish and then she seated me at a table, while the other woman was busy preparing something. Well, I guess they were just doing what they do best – Play host and feed the guest.

One thing that my grandma had thought me is never to turn down sincere hospitality and also I must not leave the table until I finish what that has been served to me. But as I turn my head over my should and saw one of the women walking towards me with her eye fixed on mine and in her hands the single most behemoth size mug which I have a pretty good idea what was inside it. I was right; it was what I thought it was – Yak Butter Tea that was made from green tea leave, Yak butter and water.

Earlier I was told by the Canadian connection that Yak butter Tea was probably the worst drink that they have ever tasted and I should by all means avoid if I do not have a strong stomach. Now look at the mess I got myself into just by taking a stroll downstairs. I try to calm myself down and told myself that it wasn’t going to be that bad. I smile and accepted the women’s generous offer. And now it was just me, the monster mug and 2 sets of eyes on me; I take a gulp of the hot, salty and buttery drink. Bloody fucking hell, the taste was far worse than I ever anticipated; it was like drinking really bad melted butter.

Faking a smile and throwing a thumb up, I manage to keep the ladies’ eyes off me. But now, I have to get to the bottom of this mug and I had a plan. I will try to take little sip that would allow it to slip pass my taste receptors at the side of my tongue. It was a good plan at first but soon I begin to realize that it was too slow and the top layer of my tea was starting to solidify and pretty soon it turned into chunks of lard.

You know what is worst than having Yak Butter Tea? It is having a cold Yak Butter tea.

Really I don't have to tell you how my story ends because you can pretty much guessed since I was stuck with a mug full of misery. Draining down a mammoth mug of green tea with chunks of chewy lard floating in it is probably the worst experience thus far and it will forever earn a place in my life's hall of fame. Usually, I would become a spin doctor and tell everyone how tasty and good this beverage is and everyone should try it. But I think anyone without a strong gut to hold in a steamy mug of lard should never ever go through what I have just gone through.

Let’s just hope I don’t get sick along the way to our next destination - Shigatse.