Bhutan and Thailand November 2006 travel blog

Hello all. This is our first chance to use the Internet in a few days because we have travelled to a more remote area. We left the capitol 4 days ago (I think) and spent one night in a beautiful spot right next to a fast moving river. Unfortuantely, I was pretty sick when we left- fever, chills, GI stuff so I suffered for a couple of days but bounced back fully yesterday. I drove with the luggage truck for some of the drive because he was going more directly than the group bus, which included one 12 hour drive with lots of pit stops and photo stops. The guides do keep up a nearly constant commentary on the bus so it is interesting, and of course beautiful.

We have seen monkeys, black neck cranes (very far away) yaks, and Jamie has seen over 30 new birds.

The place we have been for the past 2 nights is in the village of Bumthang which is quite untouched by modernity although there is electricity. The previous representative to the national government from this area is the owner of our guest house, and the manufacturer of the wood stoves used in our rooms and many others in this country. Last night we sat up talking with him and a couple from Australia and drinking the local apple brandy made by a Swiss man who has settled here. Intersting world! Today we will have pizza for lunch, made with the cheese the Swiss man also produces!

Last night we went to a big annual festival celebrating the birth of someone important in Buddhism- at this point it is hard to keep the important people straight because we learn about 100 of them every day. There was a fire arch made of pine branches that people run under to cleanse them of their sins. Don't worry we stayed well back from that. There is also traditional dancing and fair type booths- a really big deal for tourism and for the people from all over the country. Tonight at midnight there is naked dancing- men only, but Jamie hasn't been invited to join.

Our weather is gorgeous- blue skys sunny and warm for most of the day and cool but fine at night.

We have been to quite a few monastaries-it actually seems kind of sad to see the boys who live in very austere circumstances and recieve education only in Buddhism.

The tour bus picked up a brother and sister to give them a ride and they were Bhutanese from Nepal and their jobs were to maintain a section of the road, which means they make gravel by hand and sweeping the snow in the winter. They live in a shack provided by the government and make $2-3 per day. They were happy to recieve a stack of clothing that one of the tour group members gave them.

Jamie was interested to see people mixing asphalt and laying it buy hand.

The children continue to amaze us- they wave at us as we pass with their faces totally lit up like we are the most exciting thing they've seen. My goal (Denise) is to get together with a small group of kids and teach them some English kid songs.

Well, there is lots more to say but I don't want to bore you. We'll be back in the city in a couple of days so will write again.

Take care, Love, D and J

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