LOST IN BHUTAN: 6 BIKERS, 20 DAYS, 7500 KMS OF INSANITY!
Chapter 13: A day in Paradise…Bumthang!
Bumthang! How very weird as the name sounds, the memories here were equally pleasant. This was the 2nd time in Bhutan where we got to spend a day of rest with no riding planned.
So to start with…….Asleep having a pleasant dream without the worry to wake up in the morning, to another hectic day of riding, I woke up as I heard someone knock the door. Our morning coffee had arrived. Now I have to say this girl’s beauty was something different, and still in a trance the next thing I know was her right beside me trying to reach for the table to place the tray.
As we were enjoying our first sip of coffee, Sachin Anna came along to ask if we wanted to clean our bikes as they looked worse than the overfilled trashcans in Mumbai. After that the plan was to head for a photo session to which Mr.Foodgasm (Glinfy) and I said no. We wanted to see the city or village whichever way you want to put it, and experience the life here. The manager called us for breakfast and as usual we ate like hungry warriors of the round table. Bread – eggs – fruits were just flowing and as mentioned before, where ever we went we cleared their stock. So much so that the manager actually asked us if we would be present for lunch to which we said no as we would be out.
So after breakfast the folks with their 3 Ninjas were scrubbing their bikes like an angry wife doing the dishes after a bad argument with her hubby. Mean time Toolkit (Akhil) as usual the most helpful one was helping the Ninjutsus with the water supply pipe and Glinfy went to doing what he knows best, i.e. finding awesome places to eat!!! Sachin, Nicky and Deepan wanted to check out the beautiful views that Bumthang had to offer to their best use for photography. Akhil decided to stay at the hotel and rest. Glinfy and I got ready and left for the experience what this place had to offer.
As we got into the main city, we noticed a river and the road on the opposite side to be splitting into right and left, Glinfy suggested to take right, few meters into the road we found a bakery but they said the stuff will be only available in the city. So we returned but continued straight instead of turning to the city and trust me friends this was one of the 2nd straight stretched we found in Bhutan. About 300 meters in we came across a nice shop where we finally found Bhutanese wine , Apple brandy, Apple Cider and the list goes on. But we were more interested in the cheese, nice lady told us to check the shop opposite and indeed we finally found Bhutanese cheese. Sadly Yak milk cheese was very hard and used only for cooking. We bought the cheese and told the aunty of the 1st shop that we would be back in the evening for the apple cider and the brandy.
As we headed back into the city we passed a café, which also has an interesting story but that later. The manager had told us about a festival which was very old, I guess over 1000 yrs old monastery in Bumthang and we decide to check it out. Keeping the speed limit in mind as the rules are very strict in Bhutan, we rarely crossed 20 kmph only to find ourselves being followed by a cop on the bike. On Scala I told Glinfy to stop. The cop went up to him and asked if we were heading to the monastery for the festival, and all Glinfy did was nod yes. The next thing we know is we were escorted like royalty to the place by the cop speeding at 80-100kmph and with full authority. As we reached there was a bad traffic jam as it was the last day and people were trying to move out. To clear the road for us the cop blew the horn so loud that even the dead would wake up and give us way to pass. On reaching the main temple he told us where to park our bikes and said it would be safe as he would be around. Thanking him we ventured into the temple. There were priests in the main shrine enchanting loud verses of their prayer, kind of set you into a trance, as usual following the process by spinning the prayer wheel and took a round of the whole temple. Now whatever I tell you is true or not I have no idea but blanked out only to find myself among the high priests who were reciting their prayer and the place kind of made me have peace with myself. Again the yin and yan split far apart. All of a sudden we were surrounded by weirdly dressed I guess they are priests of the lower order that blessed us with giant wooden Dicks. Every house or shop or hotel has painting of a penis and it’s kind of religious.
We came out and bought a few artifacts for friends. We went back to the hotel to keep what we had bought and narrated the story to all, and a laugh we had. We finally got Akhil to leave the hotel and left to grab a bite. Now we came to the Café I had mentioned before. The lady at the counter I believe is the owner was very pretty and a very nice person, and in all this I realized that deep down hidden in all the fat Glinfy has a beating heart. For the 1st time he was at a loss for words. He actually stood for 10 minutes without placing an order and I guess she kind of got the same feeling for him too as she agreed to give him bacon instead of fruit with pancakes. How Fawsome is that. Even the coffee was brilliant. Soon we were joined by the 3 Ninjutsus who were back after exploring Bumthang, and as usual we ate drank and made merry. We went to the shop to pick the apple cider, apple brandy and apple wine. We even drank the cider only to realize the effects an hour later.
Keeping everything back into the hotel we got out for dinner. All the places were closed but we were lucky to find one place open. And the Aunty as sweet was her smile and the willingness to serve us, equally tasty was the food she served. Again we ate as we wouldn’t live till tomorrow. Glinfy and me more on the sorrow as our journey was coming to the end.
After we returned back to the hotel and lubed the chain of our bikes for tomorrow’s ride to Trashigang and had a good night’s sleep as this was a day, that forever in our hearts will lay!