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We have arrived safely in Bangkok and are installed in the River Room of the Ibrik with up close views of the river traffic and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha just on the other side.
I am not feeling great , so I will enhance this later.
We left our hotel in Paro at 9am and arrived at the airport at 9:05. We took off at 11:10 and here is our last view of the high Himalayas.
We landed in Dhakka, Bangladesh an hour later. Julie took this picture of me taking advantage of the 30 minutes on the ground to sleep in a reclining position.
It takes over an hour to drive into Bangkok. Out hotel is a very narrow house right on the main river. It has just 3 rooms. I immediately assumed the prone position, from which I could still enjoy the view. Also note the adorable bathtub.
Some Bhutanese think this should be added to the register of the Wonders of the World – and it certainly is something. It was also, kind of, our trial run for the trek that starts tomorrow. ( We passed.)
It is perched on a steep cliff 900 meters ( 3000 feet) above the valley floor. You drive to about 2400 meters (7900 feet) and hike an hour up to a teahouse with a great view of Tigers Nest- but one that makes you wonder how you will ever get there.
Turns out you up to over 3100 meters (10,150 feet), down 600 steps, up 400 steps and you arrive at 3100 meters again. Definitely a feeling of accomplishment and fabulous temples (all about Guru Rimpoche, the same one we saw at 4 am this same morning – see the Festival post). He flew on the back of a tiger and then meditated in a cave at this site.
Guess we’ll be offline for the next 5 days as we walk to Thimpu at altitudes over 4300 meters.
One last madcap ride through the streets of Kathmandu to the airport. Tickets, debarkation, security xray and bodysearch (separate lines for men and women), a hand search of the same carry on bags and a check that we had separate stamps on our tickets for each of those stations. Then we were free to wait at the gate. There is a new distance between planes for Kathmandu (good idea given the level of visibility) so our plane had to do some circling. We watched some of the sad news from Japan while we were waiting.
A quick ride to Paro. We were able to see Everest again, from a slightly different angle. Good thing we already had our pictures – many different heads would have been in any photo.
The pilot announced “On our way into Paro we may come closer to the mountains than you have ever been before in a plane. Please do not be disturbed, this is quite normal for our approach here.” Glad he warned us!
Wow and here we are. What a beautiful place. It just feels happy. Even the airport is beautiful.
We ate lunch at our hotel, did a little unpacking, and then headed for the National Museum which opens at 2. It used to be the watch tower for the Paro Dzong. It is now six levels of history, including thangkas, statues, metallurgy, armor, and an amazing Tree of Refuge with the 4 lineages of Tibetan/Bhutanese Buddhism. No photos allowed inside, but here we are right before we went in.
We then headed out for the ruin of a Dzong up the valley. On the way we caught an archery contest – amazing 150 yards and a small target – and we looked up the mountain to Tigers Nest where we will go day after tomorrow.