Archery and Peppers

It was early to rise this morning we were trying to pick up L&R at the airport in Paro at 10:15, and it is a 5 hour drive away. We hit the ground running at 4:30. As we left the hotel at 5:00, there were actually people on the street waiting for buses and shared taxis. We climbed up through a teak forest; unfortunately it was too dark to see it. Then we climbed and then we climbed and then we climbed some more. At about 10,000 feet we finally leveled out for a while then started down towards Paro, which sits at about 7,500 ft.

The horns in Bhutan do speak the same language as in India, but as with the people here, the horns are very polite and discreet. Our driver will touch the horn twice when passing another vehicle rather than giving a good loud blare.

We arrived at the airport on time and collected L&R, fresh off their flight from Edmonton, through Vancouver, Hong Kong and Bangkok. We travelled half way around the world to meet up with someone from our own city.

Archery is a big thing in Bhutan and we stumbled upon a tournament as we drove into Paro. Three teams compete in 15 rounds.  The archers shoot two arrows each 150 meters (1 ½ football fields) at a wooden board with a target about 30 cm in diameter.  The bows were very high tech made of metal with hinges and pulleys – they’re worth 1,000 Euros or more. When an archer hits the target, a short celebratory dance and song ensues.  Something like giving thanks to the “arrow god”. These guys are pretty accurate as 6 out of 18 attempted shots landed on the target – not forgetting that they are shooting 150 meters.

Chili peppers are a dietary staple here.  The Bhutanese eat peppers as vegetables, rather than use them as a spice.  Consequently, peppers are grown in abundance.  Once picked, the peppers are dried on the roofs on houses, or hanging on the outside of windows.

Chili peppers drying on the roof

Today, we saw more tourists in the couple of hours we were in Paro than we saw the whole time we were in the hills of West Bengal.  Paro is the main entry and exit point for all who visit Bhutan and October is peak tourist season. It is little wonder that we would run into this many foreigners.  As we head east, the number of tourists will decrease as most stay in the western part of Bhutan.

Early to rise today, means early to bed…..Goodnight All.

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