Sunday, 10 April 2016

Punakha, Bhutan

I wasn't that fussed about coming to Punakha tonight. I heard 'blah blah blah 5 degrees hotter than Thimphu' but we are stopping here on the way to the school because the road is quite bad at the moment, makes it tough to get all the way to the school in one day.

I also wasn't that fussed about the golden bhudda this morning either, but it was pretty spectacular. You've got to hand it to religion for getting impressive edifices built.
Me taking a picture of Nema taking a picture of my travelling companion

And also, I got to see a little kid in a gho (traditional dress) which pretty much exploded my head with the cute.

It was a bit slow and bumpy on the road to Punakha because of all the road works (they are widening the east-west road [there is only the one] from one lane to two by carving the second lane out of the cliff). We stopped at the pass, I can't remember what it was called because I hadn't had lunch and I am no good for anything if I skip meals, but there were 108 of those white things (something to do with religion) and the queen mother had it made in 2000 and something after a war to drive (Indian militia?) out of Bhutan.

There were magnolia trees for a while at that altitude (really high), and I thought of grandma because they were her favourite.

Karma (one of the organisers) was driving us and he taught me how to count and praised me for my language efforts thus far (hello, thank you, good luck, delicious, rhododendron) and taught me how to say 'very delicious'.

I took this picture of a tractor because I like tractors and it gives you a bit of an idea of how the road is. I didn't even take a picture of the holy spring we stopped at and all the people selling vegetables around it or the man having a wash under it because I was so 'whatever' with hunger, but I took a picture of the tractor. That is how much I like tractors.

And then we arrived at Punakha (Lobsa Hotel) and I damn near lost my mind when we got in the hotel room. I feel like my whole life has been leading up to the moment when I walk into a room and there is a swan made out of towels on the end of the bed and teddy is sitting on the pillow. Respect, Bhutan.

And the valley is stunning.

And the toilet has a view.

And I carefully unfolded the towels and took photos to work out how to do it so that from now on all of my towels for ever will look like swans.

Dinner was a buffet and I got to try momo (dumplings) with chili paste (delicious, I started to eat one before I took the photo, I was pretty hungry) and red rice and chilis in cheese (not that hot actually). Then there were a range of crunchy seasonal vegetables and pumpkin and fiddle head ferns (they don't taste as exciting as they look, but they're still good).

I didn't get to take any photos of the phalluses painted on the walls (there were hairy ones and anatomically improbable ones and stylised ones), but I there are carved wooden ones about the hotel. I'll put them in a separate post so that no one gets any surprise penis photos.

We will be coming through 'Fertility Village' on the way back so I'll 'be able to take as many pictures of them as I want'.


Laurie Spry said...

Brian is very impressed that even though death by starvation threatened you sent HIM a picture of a tractor!!!!!!!
I love ALL the photos and am very impressed that you can say Rhododendron in - what is it called, Bhutanese? Please correct me.

Birgit said...

Love your arty picture of the gold buda.
We have often had momos at our local Nepalese restaurant in Westgarth.
Enjoying your pics and writing

Birgit said...

Not sure that I'd feel relaxed at the toilet with a view - and balcony outside the window. There seem to be no curtains or blinds either? Maybe toileting is not a private activity in Bhutan?

Ceels said...

Laurie, Rhododendron is etho metho. I am learning Dzongka, which they speak in the east, though I think there are three main languages in Bhutan and maybe some little ones as well.

Thanks, Birgit! There is a curtain, but I hooked it up out of the way for the photo. We are right on the edge of the hill, so I don't think anyone can see in (maybe at night) and there is no one in the room next to us that shares the balcony.