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  • Writer's pictureEric

A major Bhutanese festival, our dumb-ass luck

Up early the next morning for the trip over the pass to Trongsa. We learned there was a festival that day (which happened to be Bhutan’s National Day!) at the Trongsa Dzong. Yeshi said that some people plan their entire trips around this festival, and we were able to time it for our trip without a whole lot of forethought.

So we arrived and wandered into the dzong, lots of activity around it, but the main attraction was inside. A traditional dance followed. It was quite a production! Very focused on one of the Bhutanese buddhist stories. Lots of discussion about good and bad (perhaps fitting since we just finished bingewatching The Good Place), and since they are believers in reincarnation with lots of animated action about how that works.

Heavily laden photog documenting dead cow head

It was a photographer’s dream. Literally you could have shot gb’s of photos made for magazines. There were a few other (I think American) tourists laden with $10’s of thousands of camera equipment.

We spent nearly three hours there, it was totally amazing.

We reluctantly left and picked our way through the outskirts of the dzong, then left to our night in Jakor. Driving over the pass the clouds were beautiful, but in retrospect foreboding...

Big surprise the next morning! A perfectly packing snow, probably 6”, covered everything. I was beautiful and perfect for wandering though temples and having huge snowball fights!

However, this put a bit of a crimp into our plans. We were supposed to take a flight to Paro the next morning. The intracountry flights are a bit tenuous, and this was not going to happen - lots of speculation by the guides. So we spent the night in our hotel and hoped that the flight could leave later the next day.

Finished the day off in the hotel with some (very bad!) red wine and some (very good!) local brew.

So, regardless, we were up early to do more temple exploration, we also went to the local dzong. It was a bluebird day! And news was that the flight would be leaving at 3:30pm - hooray!

We climbed up the nearly vertical ladders - yikes vertigo!

Delish local lunch...

...followed by a big hike up the mountainside to a beautiful temple and view.

Checkin was a rather brief affair at the micro airport (5 flights/week!).

And then the plane arrives so we can depart after they fuel it!

We say our sad goodbyes to Yeshi and Gemi (they have to drive back in a day’s time - 12 hour trip on a good day!) and took off.

And oh boy! I had the seat facing the Himalayas, and it was truly spectacular.

We landed after 35 minute flight, met our new guide, and did a short hike in Paro near our hotel. We had originally been scheduled for a tour up to the Haa Valley, but with the delay we had to skip that and stay local.

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