Today started with me arising to Noel’s alarm clock, having a shower getting dressed and returning to Noel’s alarm clock still ringing and Noel having not moved an inch. I thought maybe I should yell his name, but no luck, put the alarm clock close to his ear, no luck, I then noticed the ear phones and gave him a little shake and he awoke. I will admit I was thinking “shit what do I do if Noel is dead”. Luckily I have moved on and we went downstairs for breakfast. There appeared to be bacon. yet it didn’t taste like bacon. It didn’t taste like any familiar animal at all. I have no idea what it was, but it tasted like meat so I had seconds on the Bhutanese bacon.
After breakfast and Noel’s apparent death we drove up over Dochu La pass at ~3150 metres. It was foggy and full of bloody tourists. Seriously this was more like Disneyland than Bhutan. The only spectacle in sight due to the fog was 108 memorial chortens. The descent was longer and due to roadworks at times tedious. We also stopped for the queens sister, who for some strange reason didn’t stop to say hello to me.
After a longish drive we had our usual Bhutanese meal of all sorts of strange things and rice, before a lovely walk through rice paddies to a monastery founded by someone called the “Divine Madman”. A monk gave me some holy magic buddhist water which was quite nice and tasty. Yes I was meant to drink it.
We walked back down the hill (Buddha likes to test one by making you walk up hills) and then drove to another monastery, which was nice, but the monks playing darts was far more interesting. This was Bhutanese darts played at a distance of 50 metres aiming for a small piece of wood. Quite why the Bhutanese don’t play to Olympic or professional darts specification I’m not sure, but Bhutanese darts and archery are extreme versions of their more popular selves.
We drove back down to our hotel for 2 nights, a rather grand and lovely place that just opened. Far too fancy for Noel, his reputation in the international travellers community will diminish if anyone found out he stayed in such a luxurious place. I guess in his defence he had no choice, so his high standing will remain.
And to top off this post, I have to say Druk 11000 beer is pretty damn good and I’m off to have another one.