Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

Book Club: 2nd Steep - Three Cups of Tea

118 Replies
teawing said

I have been planning to respond all day, to many distractions and of all things…work!

Introduction:
I thought the references to Mortenson time were interesting. To me, it showed he was already prepared for the work to be done overseas. Non-western cultures have a different understanding and value for time than many of us. This is evident later in the decisions of the people of Korphe.

Chapter 2 #7 Tea Talk

http://butterybooks.com/beverages/butter-tea-paiyu-cha-recipe/

I would, I could and I have.
This was something new and unexpected. Of course was out of rancid Yak butter, but there is something about the butter, milk, salt and green tea…considering the rigors of life in the mountain environ, this tea is sure to fortify and sustain. If I was cold and lost and hungry, this would pick you up, for sure.
HOW ABOUT ANY OF YOU?

Login or sign up to post a message.

I have to say that I totally agree with your time inference. I thought it was a perfect way to begin the book because it really pointed to Mortenson’s ability to truly go with the flow. I couldn’t help but wonder, since he had been brought up in Africa, if it was something that was learned, or just a personal habit of his to be spontaneous.

As far a the paiyu cha… I would try it, even if it were the real thing. I may even try the recipe you’ve so, ah, graciously ;) attached. In the spirit of things, of course. I think it would be really cool to try an authentic version of it. I’ll try just about anything once… and pretty much have in my rather meager travels. One thing stuck out to me during the initial tea event in the book, that is the fact that Mouzafer was carrying the mar in the first place. (I guess this kind of attaches to question #5 as well.) The author goes on to say, amongst his talk of the sheer stinkiness of the substance, that it’s the most prized of Balti delicacies. When I think of trekking through the mountains, I don’t picture myself carrying any delicacies with me. Tea, yep, but not caviar or anything. Oh, and another thing about the tea that really endeared me to Moustafer, his absolute belief in tea’s healing power and his smooth ability to prepare tea from nothing but the materials around him. I imagined myself in his position, fumbling to find my waterproof matches, realizing I misplaced them (I know myself well), panicking because I wouldn’t be able to make my tea, looking for wood (not dried plants)… you name it. It just reinforced the idea that Moustafer lived off the land, even when he was back in civilization. I have a feeling I’m going to learn a lot from this book.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Question #8 really pulled at me, too. I think that Mortenson found Christa’s drive in the people of Korphe. His sister struggled with everything she did (I think it was mentioned that it could take her hours to get dressed) because of her debilitating epilepsy. The people of Korphe struggle because of their geography and the sheer hostility of their home. I think he saw perseverance in the people and that reminded him of his sister’s quest for life. Her strength.

Login or sign up to post a message.

teawing said

That Dave Collier photo is now my wallpaper, thanks for sharing!

Question #8 I can see he might have found the spirit of Christa (I agree), but he also found a place to belong, to fit, to exceed expectations, a place to leave a legacy, and do something bigger than something he would do for himself…

Glad you liked it. When Relin talked about bonfires of unfiltered sun, I didn’t get it until I saw the peaks in the photo.

Login or sign up to post a message.

I am still catching up with my reading. Half way through chapter 2 now. I agree with what you guys said about sense of time!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Oh, since this book is about Pakistan, I would like to recommend this photo slide show by Robert Seto about Pakistan.
http://www.robertseto.com/home/pakistan-china

Ginko – This is really cool! I love the photos and the guy’s sense of humor. Great captions! Also, I think I know why the leaning tree of Beijing is leaning. ;) Thanks!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Uniquity said

Dipping in and out – I appreciated the concept of Mortenson time up front, as it seemed necessary to excuse/explain his actions throughout his life. personally, Mortenson would drive me nuts and he would not be the sort of person I would ever spend time with as his seemingly constant focus on ‘elsewhere’ is maddening, but the things he have done more than make up for it. Of course, I’ve always been raised on Western Time (a.k.a. by a clock) which stinks. : )

Agreed! Working with someone like Mortenson would drive me crazy as well. I am very keen on being punctual. To me, it’s about respecting the time of others – why should they have to wait on me? I always thought people who acted like M were selfish and unfocused. But this book is changing my mind… in a way, anyway…

Login or sign up to post a message.

teawing said

Chapter 1, Question 3

I went back to re-read this, and at first I thought it might be a bit of “poetic” license on the part of Relin, but I bet (and hope) that Mortenson shared his thoughts about that night on the mountain. I love the descriptives: exposed, uneven, smoldered, daggered, burning, alone, isolated, ignored, bitterly, hovering malevolently, shivering violently…yet Mortenson was at ease, many solitary and harsh experiences had prepared him for this. His self reflection that came next, the peace he found in accepting failure, as well as the hope of the morning at the beginning of Chapter 2 is one of my favorite passages so far..

Login or sign up to post a message.

I hadn’t picked up on all of those adjectives until I read your post, so I went back and reread it. It is really an amazing description. I can’t imagine living in those conditions… or even near them. I did catch when the author wrote that he was “at ease” and it really shocked me. I panic when I can’t find my car in the parking lot of the shopping mall. It’s impossible to think about how completely alone he must have felt in that desolate, frozen desert.

I started reading for this next week’s section and couldn’t stop myself. I need to remember to put a bookmark in so I know where I have to stop. I’m up to chapter 13. (Twing, I understand how easily you got wrapped up in it.) One of the things I’m noticing about the author’s style that I feel is evident even here in the beginning of the novel is that he is very descriptive. Whoever chose Relin to write this made a great decision. His focus on the details really helps to transport one to Korphe.

twing – Do you feel that he accepted his failure or do you think he used it as fuel to continue to follow through with his mission? I can’t help but wonder if he felt he had an internal drive to put his all into building the school because of the failure, almost to make up for it.

I’m also struggling to figure out if his spontaneity is deliberately or just coincidentally leading to the outcomes. He seems to be inherently intelligent and able to read people extremely well. Can people really reason so well as to make seemingly random choices evolve into life changing fortunes? I’m not certain if that’s even important to the crux of the book, but it seems like every other character who speaks about Mortenson hits on his uniqueness (in a good way)… there has to be something to it. Perhaps?

Login or sign up to post a message.

teawing said

twing – Do you feel that he accepted his failure or do you think he used it as fuel to continue to follow through with his mission? I can’t help but wonder if he felt he had an internal drive to put his all into building the school because of the failure, almost to make up for it.

My answer to this is based on his own words at the top of page 19, “All summer, I’d looked at these mountains as goals, totally focused on the bigger one, K2…but that morning, for the first time, I simply saw them…” As he walked on, Relin says Mortenson was strangely content…hungry, cold, tired, lost.
I think he accepted his failure and changed his course, from being driven to climb a mountain for personal accomplishment, to leaving a legacy like his father’s hospital project. (oops, that is in Chapter 4) To me it seems less about being driven by failure and more about changing your whole outlook, course, and direction of your life. Using failure as “fuel” is like losing a game and trying to win the next time you play. Everything for Mortenson seemed to change that day he woke up and saw the beauty and majesty of the mountains for the first time rather than as a technical challenge. It is easy to live in the failures or successes of the past and
and cease to grow and reach new levels…it is harder to go out there, and pick yourself up when you fail, or set a higher goal than your previous success. Mortenson definately took the harder road…
(this is purely my take, I would love to hear from you and others about yours)

I think Mortenson was too hard on himself. He has the weight of his family on his shoulders, even before his father died. He took on the responsibility of Christa, out of love, of course. But that responsibility seemed to weigh him down. After her sad passing, he still carried the responsibility (her necklace) as a reminder of the man he wanted to become. I thought Mortenson wanted to not only make his father proud but also Christa, but having that extra responsibility still weighs a person down. I keep saying that, but throughout the story (I’m about halfway done) that mindset keeps popping up. OK, I won’t say anymore. :)

teawing said

Oh yes..that old demon…“the fear of not measuring up”

Is that what you are saying?

You are on with Christa too, I went back and read some of that again, I did not see that as clear on the first read. She is a powerful, guiding force…(this is a response to your comments here and further below)

@twing: yes that’s the ol’ demon I was thinking of. This book reads almost like fiction, with powerful characters in a character-driven plot. Christa is a part of Mortenson as is his father and he wants to be “worthy” of his birth… if that makes sense?

Login or sign up to post a message.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.