Friday, February 26, 2010

Notes on Flying Into Bhutan/Barest Bits of First Impressions

I woke up at 3:45 today.

I saw Mount Everest. I think. They all look alike.

I flew into Bhutan.

There was no pre-arranged taxi to pick us up at the airport as had been the plan.

There was a really nice taxi driver named Loday who let us wait around 2 hours and then drove us from Paro to Thimpu, where we wandered through the entire city, stopping to let him ask pedestrians where Pekhil Secondary School is, a rather futile task since the school won't even open for the first time till 15 March.

We found it eventually.

Or rather, he did. Nicest, hardest working cabby in the world. Don't know how we would have found our way if the taxis were like the ones in India.

Bhutan has the same proportions as Grundy, but is much larger. It's like you took the Appalachians and expanded them to three times their size; the mountains around here have that same rounded, settled look that old mountain ranges have. The vegetation and the architecture, of course, are completely different, and the wideness of the valleys means that the sun doesn't set at 3pm, but sometimes I get a wave of deja vu/nostalgia just looking around.

The windows on one side of Jon and my room. The ironworks are three mandalas, there's a candle on that table, the two metal things are tins which were full of ema datshi (chilis and cheese, a soup-like dish) and kewa datshi (potatoes and cheese). The long-awaited moment of tasting Bhutan's famous "chilis are a vegetable not a spice" cuisine deliciously came and went without causing our tongues to burst into flame. In fact (though I admit this might be due to the hotel restaurant catering to the palates of westerners) it was about the heat level of a good Texas chili. But yeah, actually really really tasty as can be expected when you're eating something that's 50% cheese.

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