What a road!!!! Landslides…. Curves…. And never-ending roadworks.
..and when I say never-ending…. I don’t just mean the 60km we travelled from Thimphu to Punakha – I mean I just don’t understand how there will ever be a solution to the constant road-slips and landslides here; when the widening of the main road from the east to the west of the country digs into the base of the steep loose soil and when it rains….the mountain just slides down on to the road.
We were speaking to a lady from Australia (who incidentally knows my sister in Byron Bay – small world hey!!) and she is doing work here and said last month six people were killed at 1pm in the afternoon from a landslip; and her colleagues were trapped on the other side of a landslip for 2 days and had to sleep in their cars until it was navigable.
Before our wonderful drive to Punakha though, I had an amazing time in Thimphu. We stayed at the beautiful Taj; and I spent the morning chatting to people and wandering through all the handicraft markets. It was an absolute delight to not have to fend off persistent nagging stall holders like in Morocco. I hope that never happens here. I could look and purchase at my leisure and it was a delight. I could chat and really look at the incredible handiwork of all the artists.
The weaving of cloth here is absolutely incredible. The craftsmanship is amazing and I purchased a beautiful piece of cloth to wear as a full Kira. It is held by 2 clasps on either shoulder, wrapped around and tied tightly around my waist by a beautifully hand woven wide belt. When next I wear it I will get a photo to post.
Making new friendships here in Bhutan has been such an enriching part of my journey; and once again at the Handcraft Emporium we had a wonderful time and it was humbling to have made such beautiful connections; in particular a beautiful young woman with whom I made a very special connection with and hugged so lovingly when we said goodbye.
The drive however was fabulous for us. Penny loves and handles the bumpy winding conditions so well and because we are high and have lots of clearance, we could see over the steep embankment through the high altitude rainforest – which was a bit scary at times..and I must say my body felt a bit like jelly a couple of times when I looked down to see a seep wall of ‘nothing’.
The cloud and mist and cold enveloped us as we stopped at the Drug Wangyal Chortens which were built in 2005 in memory of the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in the processs of removing the Assames militants in the south.
Excavators reached their cumbersome arm across the road and at times seemed to reach through the dust over the small cars as they climbed slowly up the mountain. In sections the road collapsed, leaving huge holes which slid down the steep slope.
It was a bumpy and very slow drive… 60km in 3 hours but wonderful…and very fun.. and now here in Punakha we are soon off to white water rafting and visiting a Dzong and temple later today.
Until next time.