Three little girls ended up taking a keen interest in the white lady among them. They had not yet learned English and couldn’t communicate with me, but they continued to inch closer and closer. When one of Gyaltsen’s sisters sat with me and began talking they clambered over and sat on her lap.
After awhile someone suggested they sing a few songs and do some dances for the older people still awake. That was all the prodding they needed and for the next 45 minutes or so I was treated to dances, songs, and chants. The youngest is 5 and she knew every move and word just like the older girls. When I brought out my camera they were overcome with giggles but didn’t miss a step. Some of the songs and movements I recognized from the festivals I had attended, but there is something quite different when they are performed on the spot by young girls, purely for their own enjoyment.
They sang by light of a kerosene lamp until we all drained our glasses of ara and scattered throughout the house to find an empty mattress and a few blankets to huddle under. I was quite lucky to get to have an experience that cannot be found on any tourist itinerary.