The staff that have been serving us and helping us at the Mountain Lodge, in Jakar, are absolutely wonderful. There are two younger fellows and a young lady. The two fellows are dignified and would do almost anything for us. And they would do it without a word or a grumble.
I am amazed that they are cooking special food for me due to my dairy, wheat and egg issues. If carrots with butter are on the buffet table, they will bring me a small bowl of carrots with no butter added. At breakfast, I am eating Bhutanese porridge, which is rice made into porridge with tomatoes, onions and a bit of meat, instead of eggs and toast. The Mountain Lodge has been over the top accommodating with the meals, and I am impressed.
Murray and I have decided that we are blessed to have such great traveling companions as L&R. We all get along and they are of the same mind as us when it comes to travel. Conversation at meals is entertaining and quite often our guide has to hurry us along. Four people on a tour works fantastically.
We have been seeing a mantra engraved onto rocks, painted on cliffs and inscribed over doorways. The mantra is “Om Manee Padmay Hong”. There is not necessarily a meaning to this mantra, it is just said over and over again while circumnavigating a temple and spinning prayer wheels.
We are getting trained in the courtesies of entering a temple or dzong. Like the Canadian “No shirt, no shoes, no service” Mur has created “No hat, No shoes, No pictures”. Whenever we have to remove shoes or hat, it means that we cannot take any pictures.
We happened upon some young monks playing darts today. Tashi, our guide, is always kibitzing with the locals and he got the monks to let us all try throwing a dart. Our darts did not go where they were supposed to – duh! As we watched the monks, I wondered how they don’t get frustrated as the target is so small and very hard to hit. The whole time we watched, we saw only 1 dart hit a target in about 30 throws. To me it looks like an exercise in futility. Of course playing for money, monks or not, lessens the frustration factor.
Tashi used his magic again today and took got us into a monks dorm room. I’m quite sure normal tours do not go there but we did. It’s a small room that 2 monks call home. 2 single beds, a corner for books and maybe an ipod and a corner for a 2 burner propane hot plate. Monks are not supposed to own much so I guess palatial digs are not in the offing.
We have had a good few days here in Jakar. Tomorrow we are heading back west and our first stop is Trongsa. See you there.