Jon (j_b) wrote,

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WTF? (The yak's blood's empty!)

Your weird fact for the day:

Shift+Pause in PuTTY will send a ^Z
The entire festival centered around yaks. We ate yak meat with our daal bhaat and in our momos. We drank yak milk, five or six glasses a day. And every morning and every evening different yaks were taken from the herd (there were hundreds and hundreds of yaks), a small spot on their necks was shaved and then an artery was opened. People gathered by the dozens, their stainless steel cups in hand waiting for their turn at the crimson fountain. The yak's owner carefully counted out 17 cups of blood from each yak before slapping a handful of yak dung on the incision and releasing the yak. The yak was then left to wander and recover its strength. Morning and night 10 different yaks were needed - never the same one twice. And this went on for a week. But the pastures were large and the herds were numerous, so there was ample blood for everyone.

I heard many different reasons given for this vampiric habit. Anything from 'it makes you strong,' to 'it's good for your gastric health!' I don't know how much credence to put in any of it, but it hasn't killed anybody yet and doesn't seem to have any harmful effects. The drinking of the blood itself is not an altogether horrible experience. Definitely not pleasant, but not horrible either. That night I watched the men set out into the yak herds, searching for one that looked strong and had yet to be bleed. Then they surrounded it, cutting it off from the rest of the herd. At that point two of the more adventurous Nepalis quickly moved upon it from behind, grabbing its large, curved horns. When the yak was under some semblance of control, the other men rushed in with ropes, efficiently binding the animals legs and neck so that it could neither escape nor gore anyone. As they shaved its neck and made a small incision with a razor blade, Krishna , my nephew ran up to me with a cup. "Drink some blood, Nathan-sir!" After some discussion I agreed to drink half a glass if Krishna drank the other half (I figured that because he was my 'nephew,' the prohibitions (jutho) against sharing a drink didn't apply). Someone once described yak blood to me as chicken-soup tasting. Personally it reminded me of an iron tinted Tibetan tea, but I don't imagine that helps much for those of you who haven't had Tibetan tea (it is like a broth itself). In an effort to avoid tasting the fluid as much as possible, I simply tilted my head back and poured the entire glassful down my throat. My nephew looked at me sadly as if to say, 'well, now, where is mine?' So I handed him the empty glass and we got in line to get him his own glassful of blood.
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