Today was a beautiful day in Bhutan! I'm going to make this blog post quick because the wi-fi at this hotel isn't great and it took me a couple hours just to upload the photos and now it's late.
Today I left Thimphu and arrived in Punahka. Punahka is a smaller town, mostly rural farmland. We went into the mountains and were so lucky to have a great view of the Himalayas. We stopped for some coffee and photos and then headed back down into the valley. My guide, Sangay and driver Ganesh, took me to a great restaurant and we had some lunch. After lunch, Sangay and I went on a hike to a temple where the founder of the temple, back in the 15th century, was known as the divine madman. He used images of his phallus as a symbol of the discomfort society experiences when facing the truth. He is very revered and many people come to this temple for fertility blessings. The woman will carry a giant penis around the temple 3 times then come back in and be blessed by the monk. I actually witnessed this today. Very interesting. So, this town, especially around the temple, has paintings of penises everywhere. They're everywhere!!
After the hike, we made our way to Punakha proper, where the country's largest Dzong is located. A Dzong (pronounced zong) is a buddhist fortress. It is a huge working complex where monks come to live and practice the religion. We were lucky enough to be at the temple when they were praying. Lots of music and chanting that got really loud then really quiet. Bells ringing slowly, then really fast with a drum beat. We sat for about 30 minutes and just listened. It was a great experience.
The day was getting late so we made our way back to my hotel, but first a stop for a beer in Punakha. On Tuesday's the country is dry so we thought we were out of luck, but the waitress brought us to a back room where there were a few other people drinking beer and served us there. That was cool. We had a beer and the guys dropped me off at my hotel. I've been trying to upload this blog since I got here. All the images finally loaded and it's about 11:45. I have to get up early tomorrow for another long drive to another valley. So, I'm going to end this here.
Thanks for reading and following! Until tomorrow. Wait, no wi-fi tomorrow. I'll report back in a couple days!