We're up early for day two of the oldest festival in Bhutan, the Jampalhakhang Drub - the consecration of Jampa Temple. The night before we'd attended the Mewang (Fire Offering) and Naked Man dance and became mesmerised by the trance-like dancing, while our necks crinked trying to find a vantage point to see the dancers and our butts froze on the ice-cold flagstone pavement of the temple courtyard when we did eventually find a front row squat spot. I'm determine to get a front row seat first thing in the morning for day two and encourage our guide to collect us from our hotel at seven-thirty am....even though the day's swirls, twirls and trance dances are due to start at nine.
We arrive early, along with a lot of other tourists, and peg out our perfect vantage spot. As the courtyard fills up I find myself feeling a little disappointed - most of the spectators are tourists - western tourists - there's barely a Bhutanese person among us. We all sit there with our tri-pods, fancy SLR cameras and for many, whopping great lenses. Lens envy starts to creep up on me when I see some of these expensive fancy-pants toys. The chanting soon starts and the festival comes to life and all thoughts of Ooh-la-la techno are soon gone as I am transported into an ancient time.
The second day of the festival is called the Tsukton (beginning) and is the 'proper' start of the festival - the dance circle has been purified by the Black Hat Dance and so now the mask dances can be preformed.
Over peanut-butter-jelly sandwiches (which I'm unable to eat due to an allergy) and French fries with a side of rubbery fried eggs for breakfast we vow to learn how to open a door again and work on our flabby arms by carrying our own bags. An hour later I'm stifling giggles as Mal luggage-wrestles again with petit house-keepers in crisp kiras of beautiful woven thread and high silk cuffed toegos.
We leave a mist covered Punakha early and begin a long drive into dust clouds and bone-rattling ruts all the way to Jakar. The national highway that runs through the middle of Bhutan is undergoing major construction, turning it from dual lane to four lane - all at once! We're told by our guide that the government has given the contract to a company who in turn has contracted the work out to many smaller companies; all of which appear to be competition with each other as to who can make the road the most dug-up, rubble filled, need-a-monster-truck-to-drive-it road possible.
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book.
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