Sleeping giants with their gentle slopes
Snow-capped tops through the clouds they poke
Dusty sun rays shine brightly down
Green pine rustle without any sound
Glacier streams of purest blue
Rapids rush, then gently cruise
A bell chimes faintly in the distance
Deep breath in, heart slows, mind clearance
A child’s giggle breaks the silence
Heart pure, fearless, innocence
The Druk of tan and weathered skin
Faint smile, big heart, welcoming
Dzongs and Buddha, bumpy roads between
Deities and demons, mystical beings
Bhutan the land of the Thunder Dragon
A place to see, a place to return
I have been missing, yes. That’s because I spent a couple weeks away from Melbourne: 10 days in Bhutan and 5 in Singapore.
The trip to Bhutan was organised by Fakebooo’s cousin: Cousin Trouble. She usually throws an annual Booo-cousins-getaway and when I heard that the destination for 2014 was going to be Bhutan, I asked if The Angmoh and I could tag along, and they said yes.
The trip to Bhutan was surreal. The vast landlocked country has a considerably small population and Western influences are kept to a minimal. The population is almost entirely Buddhist and this is reflected in the people, from their devout piousness to the open-hearted welcoming generosities. Stepping foot onto the land of Bhutan immersed me in a cloud of tranquillity: it was quiet, the mountain air was fresh, I was at peace.
Our trip covered highlights from Eastern and Central Bhutan. Temples or “Dzongs” are maintained from centuries past and are still in use for religious and government affairs. As we travelled in a mini-bus from town to town, we crossed bumpy winding roads, chilly elevated passes, breathtaking forestry and local furry habitants.
Our meals were kept simple. Breakfasts consisted of toast with spreads, eggs and fruit. Lunch and dinner were usually a buffet. The carbs were either white or red rice, noodles or roast potatoes. There was always a good selection of vegetable dishes, although they were a repetitive rotation of cabbage, mustard green, green beans with cauliflower and carrot and radish. There was a small variety of meat dishes, either a beef, chicken, pork or fish. While I was the last in the group to tire of the food, (I loved how fresh the vegetables were!), it was the seasoning, or rather too much of it, that got to me in the end. There was a lot of ‘butter-fried’ going on, then drowned in soy or oyster sauce.
We had 2 unusual meals in Bhutan. One was Bhutanese pizza in the town of Bumthang, where we had to pre-order 3 hours in advance. The lady boss was the sole staff of the pizzeria and boy did she scramble to serve all 7 pizzas from her small humble stove. The Bhutanese take on pizza can be described to be cheese pizza with toppings, after all, they do love their cheese. Our final dinner steered us completely away from the usual offerings. The hotel that we were at was owned by a Malaysian and hence a Malaysian menu was available. That night, we happily feasted on bak kut teh, soup mee sua and nasi lemak.
This post on Bhutan is just a brief summary as Fakebooo will post a detailed one, with remarkable photos, in the near future. Nevertheless, the trip was nothing but extraordinary and memorable. I thank Cousin Trouble for kindly organising it and allowing The Angmoh and myself to tag along.