I bought a few souvenirs, a local guide to birds and butterflies literally delivered to us through an open window driving past a wide spot on the road to the capital, Thimphu, a rock taken from the mountain yesterday, a book on the Bhutan obsession of the phallus, and a refrigerator magnet with a phallus on it, because, I had to buy something.
|The ubiquitous penises of Bhutan|
|A penis with teeth and hairy scrotum on the side of a house, have they gone...too far?|
I took a picture for a Turkish woman yesterday who had been everywhere and criticized Bhutan for not being "authentic." Much of the souvenirs offered claim to be authentically Bhutanese, but our bus driver admitted it is all made in Nepal or India, and none of it was authentic but I am not sure that is what the Turkish woman was saying.....maybe it was the new slavish devotion to the tourism trade both helping the country and one leading to its downfall, but alas, she did not explain, nor did I ask her to.
First, let us discuss the bathrooms. As I mentioned earlier, this was not a trip for sissies.
We had two types of bathrooms. Impromptu outhouses, a hole dug, a kind of portable sitting device inside a rather small tent (zipper malfunctioned right away) and what I called the "hole and hope room." The room had a hole, you squatted, hoped you hit the hole and a bucket was nearby for cleaning misses. Some people did not clean up, and there was never enough water.
One location was in the garden in the back yard of Camp Cement discussed earlier.
Bhutan is overrun by dogs, they sleep all day, usually in the road, or come to beg for food, and then bark all night. Some even have interesting houses.
At the heart, this was a birding trip, we saw some of the sights
Punakha Dzong, a five hundred year old fort and the Temple of a Thousand Buddhas
We weren't allowed to photograph in the temple
More pictures from the Tiger's Nest. The group that made it halfway up to the Tea House. Five of us made it to the overlook on the left, four of us (me included) made it to the Holy sight.
We saw lots of fabulous birds....unfortunately not the best one, the white bellied heron, a bird that will undoubtedly go extinct before I get a second chance. Why? Well probably the development of the rivers of source for power which ironically, is sadly sent to India. If not the damming of the rivers, it is the powerlines. They have exposed 10 miles of river bed here totally diverting a major river at one place. Be it the loss of water or the electrical lines connecting to it, the heron is in peril.
We did see Ward's Trogan, my bad picture
|Yellow billed blue magpie|
We had a slew of warblers, quick and hard to identify.
|ash throated warbler|
|Gray hooded warbler|
|Black rumped magpie arecent split from the Eurasian magpie|
|Chestnut tailed minla|