I shouldn't have survived the minutes before or after this photo was made.

PICTURE THIS: Five-minutes prior I was knee-deep in water, staring into the angry eyes of five rabies infected dogs that decided I looked pretty delicious in my full-length Tibetan yak skin jacket. And I guess I kind of did. 

All I had to defend myself were my Dr. Martins, Jack Picone's Canon EOS-1N and the fact that dogs with rabies hated water. So with a few kicks and a bit of luck they retreated back into the mist. But by now it was dark — the only light in the valley was coming from a small tee-pee surrounded by wild horses. I made my way there quickly and found a family of Tibetan cowboys inside eating yak butter tea under the golden light of a lantern. They welcomed me inside, offered me some tea, a can of coke and a conversation made up of elated hand gestures and plenty of smiles. 

After dinner, the father offered me a lift back to my room on his motorbike a few kilometres away in the small city of Litang. I agreed, waved good-bye to his mother, wife and kids, and hopped on. He smelt of rum, but that barely fazed me considering the events of the previous few minutes. 

Yet after only a few miles of driving, the cowboy stops his motorbike, and, in one quick motion, turns and attempts a kiss. My instincts kicked in. My left hand went up, and I pointed at my ring that I was wearing on my wedding finger. To my surprise, he obliged and we continued our journey. After several strange detours, I made it home, wrapped myself up in my yak and counted my lucky stars.