An online skydiving logbook

May 7, 2009

Bhutan

I am on a non-skydiving holiday for the rest of this month, so I'll temporarily abuse this blog to write about my travels and trekking in the Himalaya, in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan.

Tuesday morning, there was an early flight Brussels-Amsterdam, and then on to Delhi. I had a 3-seat row all to myself, so the long flight wasn't too awesome. Late night arrival, taxi, hotel, sleep, early start, and on to Kathmandu.

There, I stayed in Dwarika's Hotel. Apart from being a very nice and chique hotel, this is also a rather unique place. It is a modern hotel, it has everything a modern 5-star hotel must have, but it is built completely by traditional craftsmen, in the traditional Nepali style, using 'real' materials. And unlike other places and buildings that mix traditional style and nowadays comfort, this one doesn't feel fake. It's authentic, and a very beautiful place and nice hotel.

I only stayed in Kathmandu for one day, so all I have is a first impression: dirty, noisy, busy. Did I say dirty already? But it nevertheless has charm. All the drivers are using their horns all the time (did I say noisy?), but they don't get nervous or angry. They just drive like very quiet and very relaxed complete madmen. They even continue to honk at each other while they are all standing still before a traffic light. And besides, having a few beers and dining at sunset on a roof terras... I could get used to this, you know.

Next day, that's today, an early start again. Wake-up call at 5, breakfast brought up by 5.30, off to the airport by 6. Strange thing was, my wake-up call came early, next my breakfast came early, and my airport transfer also came early. Only then did the penny drop: I was still a timezone behind in my travels :-)

On the flight to Buthan, Paro airport, we had great views of the Himalaya. First time ever I saw Everest and all those other famous giants. And then there is the approach to Paro airport. Spectacular. Very spectacular! Slaloming through the steep valleys. It's like those crazy wingsuiting RedBull guys, but with an Airbus! At Paro airport, the traffic control tower is built in a traditional pagode (!).

At the airport, I met my trekking companion (an Englishman) and our trekking guide (a Bhutanese). My companion started off by telling a story about everything that went wrong on his trip from London to Bhutan, and by mentioning a few complaints he would certainly make in the after-tour evaluation form. Well, he had a harsh trip, and he was very tired. Maybe he is a good natured optimist after all :-).

I spent the rest of the day hanging around in our hotel, getting myself a SIM card that works over here, and visiting a very big and beautiful dzong (=fort). Not so much visiting, but more wandering around in it, and being impressed by it. Tomorrow I'll take an official tour of that same dzong. I wonder if my own story and the guide's story will match?

No skydiving, but I'm still going to end the day with a beer...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Da's wat anders :-). Tevreden dat je dit hier ook neerpent.
Hou ons maar op de hoogte ;-) (woordspeling), ik vind het boeiend.
Geniet en absorbeer alles wat je ziet. Dat moet een prachtige reis worden.
En daarna.... kijk ik weer uit naar je skydiving verhalen.

Sarah.

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