Paro: The Queen Mother, and Monks in passing

Arrival

Arrival

Some monks in orange prison garb wander by. Wait, that’s not right. (Their robes are actually a gorgeous orange). We’ve been sitting in the airport for a while now, waiting for the plane to Bumthang, only to find out that that it’s cancelled, probably for the next few days.

Much discussion about Plan B ensues, an intricate necklace of connections and hotel reservations and festivals and plane flights suddenly laid to waste by the early monsoon and a drizzle on the runway. Already tired, we finally opt for a 4 hour bus ride to Punakha.

We had lunch near the airport luckily, and just before dusk reached the pass at Dochula for tea and cookies as the clouds moved in and the Queen Mother drove by in a low-key entourage. The 108 chortan commemorating 10 deaths in the Assam uprising of the early 2000s were her daughter-in-law the Queen’s project.

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The 108 Chortans at Dochula La, commemorating the 10 dead of the Assam uprising

The road down off the pass is a treachery in the dark, all mud and construction and barely one lane, but our driver is unfazed and finally I fall asleep. Then I fall off my chair, the bus shimmying through the slop. My spine feels well-exercised by the time we get to the hotel, where dinner awaits and a fine room and finally, finally some sleep.

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