Each morning at 7:30, Tashi and Lhakpa arrive at Mountain Rose Café and setup their jewelry stand. Their smiles are radiant, at once calm and enthusiastic.
A peaceful reminder of Buddhist and Sherpa culture, each visit to Tashi and Lhakpa’s stand leaves guests more at ease, and more beautifully accessorized, than when they arrived.
Beads and gems gleam in the sun as visitors stop by to peruse. A young girl shyly touches a beaded necklace. Her other hand pulls her dad to the table.
“Namaste! How are you?” rings the friendly greeting of the Sherpas. The girl’s father reciprocates the bow, then turns to his daughter and the necklace,
“This is all the way from Nepal. Have you heard of Mount Everest?”
The journey to Winter Park from the Khumbu region
of Nepal is not for the faint of heart. The Lukla airport, nearest to the Sherpa’s Ama Dablam Lodge,
has been called the most dangerous in the world.
“I’m scared, so what?” Tashi says, “It’s what we do.”
Every summer, Tashi and Lhakpa leave their lodge and travel nearly 8,000 miles to spend the summer biking their wares between their stands. They have been coming
here together since 1999 (Lhakpa since 1998).
In the morning, you can find them at Mountain Rose Café, and in the afternoons they set up at Epic Mountain Sports, both on Main Street in Winter Park.
They attend every festival and every farmer’s market, featuring jewelry, clothing and accessories reminiscent of their home’s beauty. The pair have become a staple in Winter Park’s culture, and nearly every local you encounter has one of their unique pieces of jewelry.
Every piece is beautiful and special, a small homage to a faraway place, treasures made more valuable after last spring’s devastating earthquake.
“We lost some friends,” Lhakpa says. It’s evening, and he and Tashi are carefully selecting yogurt at Safeway in Fraser. A stillness washes over them. “We will need to do a lot of repairs.” The couple take a moment and look at one another before moving their cart down the aisle.
A few days later, Tashi and Lhakpa are packing up at Mountain Rose to set up at Epic Mountain Sports. It’s windy and cool outside, and the pair are all smiles. When asked how long they work each day, they both beam.
“If the weather is good, we work until 8PM,” Lhakpa says.
“We work hard,” Tashi says, “It’s a lot to get here.”
“We are very lucky,” Lhakpa says.
Both Sherpas continue packing a bag of silver bracelets. The sun breaks through the clouds, and the prayer flags whip in the breeze.
If you would like to find out more about Lhakpa & Tashi, [email protected] .
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Debs Bridge June 30th, 2015