March 2000


Okay, so i'm in bhutan, and i'm cold, but i'm in

bhutan (but i'm cold) i'm in bhutan (i'm still cold)

i'm in bhutan...

what can you say about a hotel where you learn where

the fusebox for your bedroom is before you locate the

restaurant?  my tiny heater (the room's only heat

source) kept blowing all the lights in my room.  my

door lock is a padlock, i'm doing my best not to piss

anyone off for fear that they'll come & padlock me in

while i'm sleeping...can't say that i've ever taken a

shower before w/some of my clothes on, but hey, you do

what you can to stay warm, know what i mean? 

fortunately, i have one of those spray-y things in my

shower so it's not as messy as it sounds.

bhutan is beautiful and exotic and other-worldly and

poor and lush and incredible.  the architecture is all

traditional and everyone wears national costume - the

flight in was wild - flew right past everest and a

host of other huge mountains (because it was a

chartered flight, we all got to take a turn viewing

the himalayas from the cockpit).  the captain

announced prior to landing that we were all going to

come closer to mountains than we accustomed to, but

not to worry, that's status quo for a bhutanese


went to the paro tsechu yesterday & watched some

amazing dancing (only happens once a year).  climbed

way up into the rafters to get an aerial view - it was

really incredible.  hardly any tourists at all.

last night went with a group of wedding guests to buy

traditional attire for tomorrow's wedding.  have

spoken w/the hotel manager about getting one of the

maids to help me in the morning as i am not

particularly capable of getting myself into my kira

(kind of like a sari, but with pins & a sash & stuff).

today took a 3 hour drive to see another dzong

(fort/temple, that's the structure that the tsechu was

in yesterday).  incredible drive over a small pass

(10,000 feet).  saw some snow (i'm cold, i'm cold, but

i'm in bhutan, i'm in bhutan...).  the dzong was

incredible.  we weren't allowed to take photos inside,

but we could hear all of the monks chanting & they

were rebuilding a part that was damaged in a recent

flood & we were able to climb up into the rafters (i

know, for someone who's afraid of heights, i'm doing a

lot of climing ladders up & down into rafters lately!)

and watch the plasterers work on the buddah & some

dragons - really cool.

then, on the way home we stopped at a temple where

infertile women go (mentioned in the recent new yorker

article) - plenty of linga to touch.  they tell me

that the blessing you receive is good for future

endeavors, so i lit some incense for future fertility!

 it was a neat temple & we had to walk about 20

minutes through someone's rice fields to reach it.

okay, i'm 10 minutes late for a wedding reception (the

manager of the hotel here was kind enough to let me

use his computer) so i'm going to go up to my room &

gussy up.

hope to send another missive later in the week.

i'm in bhutan!!

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