“Gross National Happiness” (the motto of Bhutan)

I spent my third day driving to Punakha fromThimphu where I had spent 2 nights. The drive took about 4 hours and was on a nice paved road. So far all of Bhutan that I have seen is mountainous. So you never get to drive to fast which is fine by me. I came for the scenery and the spiritual side of Bhutan and to see the people. It seems that everywhere you go in Bhutan there are “steps!” My guide tells me that it is good for me. “Helps to burn off the calories of beer”! That’s great but what about my knees and back? “No worries you are still young”. Easy to say when you are 28.

 

108-stupas-on-mountain-pass

108 stupas built on top of 10,000′ high pass to commemorate the last war Bhutan was in.

 

view-of-himalayas-from-pass

View of Himalayas from pass.

 

me

suspension-bridge

Suspension bridge.

 

suspension-bridge-2

Now I know why it is named as such. I was in “suspense” as I walked to the middle of this thing.

 

me-more-steps

Me and more steps. Everywhere I go in Bhutan…….steps, steps and more steps! That’s my driver next to me. Anytime he or my guide enter a fort or Royal building, they have to wear a sash over their Bhutanese clothing. It is required of all guides and drivers to keep the custom alive.

 

bhutanese-woman

Most Bhutanese women dress like this and smile all of the time. Especially when my guide says something to them to get them to smile.

 

my-driver

My driver, Tenzin.

new-guide-sonam-2

My new guide Sonam, who has a cold and bad cough and has given them to me.

 

 

2nd-oldest-2nd-largest-fort

Second oldest and second largest fort in Bhutan. Situated between the confluence of two rivers.

 

2nd-oldest-at-night

Second oldest at night.

 

chime-lhakang

They built a temple for this person. Allegedly he was a Buddha in disguise while he was being naughty. It is a site where many people bring their young children and is also considered a fertility site.

 

i-will-try-to-get-my-sister-to-smile

I will try to get my sister to smile.

 

fog-in-the-valley

Fog in the valley. 7am on Dec. 12.

My guide had told me that we had 10 hours of driving to do today. I asked him at what time were we leaving? He responded “the usual time 9am”.  I replied back that we wouldn’t reach our destination until after 8pm with a lunch break. So we left at 6:30am, my recommended time. The photos to follow is what we endured for at least 8 hours. At a maximum of 15 miles per hour!

not-widened-yet

This portion of the road hasn’t been widened yet. As was most of it. They have been working on this road for 2 years now and I can only imagine that it is going to take many many more years to complete.

 

we-will-wait

It’s okay, we will wait.

8-hours-of-this

8 hours of this! But at least they are improving the road, unlike Nepal.

 

largest-fort-1

Largest fort in Bhutan. Any new king before being crowned, has to spend a year here being trained in kingly things.

 

largest-fort

Largest fort.

 

small-waterfall

woman-doing-traffic-control

This woman is actually doing traffic control. She didn’t get up to stop us. She just put her hand up and soon after, large boulders came crashing down unto the road from an excavator! Good thing the driver was paying attention.

 

water-powered-prayer-wheel

Water powered prayer wheel. These dot all of the roads and are run by the water from small streams.

 

downtown-bhumthang

Downtown Bhumthang. Our stop for the night after our free 10 hour Bhutan massage!

 

my-room-4th-night

My room for the night after a long bumpy day, equipped with a wood burning stove.

view-from-room-4th-night

View from my room on the 4th night.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on ““Gross National Happiness” (the motto of Bhutan)

  1. Amy

    Gross national happiness!!! Miss ya buddy. Amy from the lighthouse. Love seeing your journey!

  2. rebemerald

    Jim, I hope that bed was longer then it looked it the photo! I don’t know how you coped with that ride…

    • I don’t remember my feet sticking out past the end of the bed, so it must have been long enough. Although I was curled up later in the night…..because it was cold. Luckily I was interested in how they were going about widening the road. I would imagine that most people would have not liked it at all.

      I am home now recovering from the cold the guide gave me and re-adjusting my internal clock to home. And trying to stay warm. It is colder here than it was in the foothills of the Himalayas!

      I will be posting a final blog and a fast recap of the 1000 photos I took.

      Thank you for all of your kind comments.

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