After early am flight from Bangkok, we arrived on the harrowing drop into the Paro airport, swinging side to side down the narrow valley. At a delightfully small airport we met our “crew”, guide Yeshi and driver Gejmi.
As we learned, and are happy about, they immediately suggested amending our very detailed agenda (we’ll call it an outline) to head to a festival on the outskirts of the capital Thimphu. Of course! we said.
A pretty combo of dancing and theatre followed, against a drop dead backdrop. The highest mountains in Bhutan in behind them on Dochula Pass.
Returning to Thimphu we checked into the Thimphu Tower, right on the main square. Or as we learned it should be named, dog central. The wild dogs sleep all day and are up, literally, all night. Yeshi called them solar dogs - no one feeds them but they have lots of energy at night.
We did a little exploring (sims and change money) and then wandered around Thimphu - a bit of a tired city but easy enough.
Lunches and dinners are generally similar - potatoes, cheese and chilies, rice, a vegetable and simple meat dish, eggs. The quality is pretty good - we eat well and enjoy it, even if they are all arranged for us. The national dish, chilies and cheese, are delish and HOT HOT HOT!
Up early the next day for guided sightseeing, Lill's birthday!
First intro to the myriad of temples - they are quite amazing and everywhere.
The off to the hospital - Lill had the opportunity to see the NICU at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). Quite an opportunity to see it - 1 doctor for the entire unit, some interesting technology. I'll let her discuss more...
Next off to big Dordenma Buddha overlooking Thimphu. Pretty impressive, work in progress but almost complete. Or it was to have been completed five years ago. It's not completely clear...
And then a stroll around Thimphu, to see the Stamp Museum (pretty cool - definitely on the forefront of philatelic work!), the day market, and to watch some archery - Bhutan's favorite sport. They are so impressive with the arrow! They shoot from about a football field away and hit the target more often than not.
We wrapped up with a trip to the Tashichho Dzong - the first in the country. These structures are both for religious and political, and built in the 17th century. They are massive.