Weeks are going so fast! There are 10 days left for us in Bhutan, ans so much more to do!
Last week we had a couple of nice evenings at Sonam's, and at Durga's with Roshan, Wajui,...
We also had a goodbuydinner with Dumber and his friends... in a not so cozy restaurant/hotel :-)
They are leaving for Phuentsholing (southern Bhutan) for a 2 weeks 3d max training. Zeg nu nog dat ze hier achter staan :-)
This week we had a second meeting with Adikari. We tell him how much it will cost to stay, he tells us what to do for the next 3 weeks. And it is a lot! The project should be finished for the 23th of october. It means plans, sections, details, facade, materials, landscape...
I had some difficulties to find my way through all those ornament (nowadays made in concrete). I proposed them to go back in time and build in mud again. They all seemed to find it a good idea, but who will help me with those details?!
A Bhutanese working day is a strange thing. The term work is not yet defined, so you can define it as you like. This is also what they do in the government offices. Everyone arrives in the office at 9-10, around 11 they may go to 'the bank' which actually means 'shopping'! At around 12 we order our first Samossa, and later maybe a second. Tea break at 12.30, lunch at 13 until 14.30. When they all come in the office they ask us what we had for lunch, if people were nice, if the service was good?
Between 15 and 16 we have a working hour :-) and finally we conclude with a cup of tea, some talking about the dinner of tonight and at 17 everyone goes home.
Between all this we try do some real work like every good working Belgian citizen. And my project is rising!
On Thursday we also went to 'the bank' but on an official visit. The ministry was invited by the Royal Institute of management for a lecture about Buddhism and happiness. Renate Ogilvie from the World Happiness Forum in Australia, a women with an impressive curriculum. Strange touch that she came talking about wearing condoms and not taking drugs... (would the director have something to do with this?) Apart from this she did a great talk about many different subjects, all related to Buddhism, Bhutan, New Bhutan an Happiness.
Our one before last weekend...
We planned to go for a trek on satherday and sunday but Roshan changed our mind. On friday evening we could fine the usual Tashi-cell group at Durga's ( Tashi-cell, the second cellphone company in Bhutan... ) The found back a schoolfriend from India after 7 years. The were as happy as a group of little kids with a new toy. After 'enough' drinks we decide to mix cultures in the club 34, the famous club next to the OM bar. The Indian guy teaches us his Panjabi dance, we try to dance on the local Bhutanese music. We have fun until 2, maybe better that we decided not to go for the trekking. 'Mama', one of the friends promises us a tent and some other goodies for the trek that we now have moved to next weekend (our last weekend).
Now that we don't have to go for trekking, we need to find some gifts to bring home. We go to the handicrafts market, the local market, and another market not far from Simthokah. On our way back Durga's little car has a flat tire. Which we changed in exactly 10 minutes. In the afternoon we decide to go and see the huge Buddha, who is watching over Thimphu. The Buddha is an ambitious Chinese project, they want to have the biggest Buddha in the world. We have a 2 hours walk, with a GREAT shortcut (climbing on hands and feet, surrounded by garbage) :-)
And finally we arrive at the famous forbidden site. Except that we are undisciplined Belgians and that we do not care about the rules. We go in, take pictures of the Buddha, the building, and the future face of the Buddha. Suddenly a monk comes towards us, presenting us some candy. The candy brings us to the designer of the Buddha, 'his majesty Tsering Wangdi Rinpoche'. He explained us his ambitious project, we listened, took some pictures and hurried down before dark.
Bhutan has a great climate in september october, but now that we are reaching the last weeks it starts to get cold at night. Going up was no problem, but going down I was freezing! Suddenly a big car stopped in front of us, the Rinpoche proposed us a lift to Wine n Dine. No way that I would refuse this!
Finally Roshan proposed us an alternative for our trek. He would take us on sunday to a mountain just above Thimphu. A climb of approximately 1500m.
We have an appointment at around 8.30, we finally meet up at 11. While waiting for the sleeping Roshan we went to the memorialshorten to see the Dungste Rinpoche, who actually didn't arrive yet. People were singing, waiting, walking around the shorten and offering all kind of foods. Outside, people were fighting to get in for some blessing. Imagine people fighting to get in the church :-)
People get crazy, close there shops, dress up, and wait hours in the burning sun, just to meet the great Rinpoche.
At 11, we finally get a call from Roshan, waiting for us at Durga's (probably with a terrible headache). A Taxi brings us to the foot of the mountain, and we start a great but exhausting trip to the top of the mountain (3600m). During our trek we can still here people praying and making music for the Rinpoche. After 3h30, we reach the pick nick spot. A great place, with a fabulous view on Thimphu. It was worth it! We try to take some picture of the three of us, without any positive result :-), and continue our trek. This time we face the way down. Often more difficult than the way up... Wajui is waiting for us down the mountain, and brings us home for a short fresh up. (one hour in Bhutanese time :-) )
We are invited for the next sunday's festival called Deushi. Kind of 'driekoningen zingen' in Belgium. In the evening we get a guitar, some food, some drinks and we rehearse for next weekend. Many rehearsals will follow this week :-)