10 years ago in November, some friends and I took an REI trip to the “Last Shangri- La” otherwise known as, Bhutan. It was an epic trek around the Chomolhari mountain, but it was so long ago, I couldn’t give too many details other than we froze our butts off in tents in the Himalayas for 5 days and visited the capital, Thimpu for a little cultural delight.
Oh, and then there was the annoying travel companion (not our friend) who wanted to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” whilst waiting for dinner (I only wish there was a joke in here). I know there were a few other towns sprinkled along the way, but details have faded.
An old memory popped up and thought I would share some of the images from that trip. It was fun to relive all of it (minus the Puff the Magic Dragon situation). Not sure about you all, but I could use an epic trip about now! ENJOY!
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin
We were able to visit an artist’s studio – it was really cool to see them work their magic. I get a hand cramp just looking at it. Very detailed work indeed.
Lots of Buddhist monks were out and about in Bhutan – it was pretty special to see and feel their presence on a daily basis.
Our trek was damn cold at night and the early morning…It’s an interesting experience hiking the Himalayas in the snow.
The kids of Bhutan, loved to have their photos taken, even if #52 below looks like she could throat-punch me. Many dressed in traditional clothing, while others are becoming a little more westernized with their ripped jeans and sweatshirts.
We also came across a Buddhist who was prostrating to a Holy Temple. When prostrating, pilgrims will drop to their knees and fling their bodies forward, fully prone against the damp earth. Then they stand up, take three small steps, and repeat the sequence. I believe this is something that can take weeks and months to accomplish depending on the start and end points.
The meat transportation system from India, was less than mouth-watering, but we did ADORE the hard-working farmers we saw along our journey.
The phallus is a big thing in Bhutan….Bhutanese paint them on their homes to protect their families from evil spirits and to promote fertility. If you come across a suspended one, these are tributes to the adored religious teacher and master of mahamudra Buddhism, “The Divine Madman” or “The Saint of 5,000 Women.” They were all over the place, on every building. Apparently, there are hairy ones – grateful we missed that.
The little girl crying below, wanted to stay and play with her friends. Her momma would not have ANY of it. I think I know how that kiddo felt.
I loved what appeared to be a simple way of life. No gigantic trashcans for ridiculous amounts of waste, a fresh grocery market, and housing that is ‘just enough’ for generations of family to survive.
We had a bunch of donkeys transporting our stuff. It’s amazing what they can carry on their backs. We had too much stuff – or maybe it was just me. Spoiled American. UGH.
Prayer wheels are commonplace in Bhutan. By turning the prayer wheels clockwise, it is believed that the mantras inside are activated and released. The mantras are said to purify negatvity, generate compassion, remove barriers to enlightenment and bring benefit to all sentient beings. (per the Traveling Sole Mates blog).
The 8-11 grocery store and the Forever 19 stores gave me a chuckle…good for them for not infringing on anyone’s rights!
Did I mention it was cold on our trek?? Little icy and snowy climbing over 15,000 foot (4,572 meters) mountain passes. I do remember that experience.
One of my most favorite moments in life was descending into a valley surrounded by gigantic Himalayan peaks. It truly was pretty incredible. You realize just how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. Then the snow came and the migraine started. I think I had altitude sickness for a day or so, but what’s a physically demanding trip without a little pain and agony?
REI did the best they could to keep us warm by giving us hot water bottles to snuggle with every night, and set up dining tents for us when it made sense to do so.
Does that corn look funny to you?
All in all, the trip was truly EPIC. I left out a Tigers Nest image, only because I think there are so many others more enchanting than the image I captured.
Cheers to international trips again – some day. SIGH.
…i choose this…