Bhutan 2009 Day Four – Cheri Monastery and Drive to Punakha

by Kara on October 2, 2009

The courtyard of the Cheri Monastery, which I never got to see

When we went down to breakfast this morning, I just had a couple slices of toast. I was still feeling pretty weak, and of course tired. After checking out of the hotel, we headed off for a hike to the Cheri Monastery. Unfortunately, the hike was all uphill and I was still feeling week. I sent Stephen and Pema on up to the top, and I went back down to hang out with our driver. I hadn’t been sitting very long when a monk came up to the car and said the head monk was coming down and asked if we would like to be blessed. It seemed like an excellent idea to me, so I went and got in the line of people waiting for the monk to come down. Finally he appeared, being carried by a group of monks. I made a small offering to the monastery, then bowed so he could bless me. I am not Buddhist, but it was a big honor to be blessed. He was the previous head abbot for the country.

When Stephen and Pema came back down, we headed back to Thimphu, but I was feeling worse. About half way back, I had to have them stop the car so I could get some fresh air. They moved me to the front seat, then decided we would go back to the hotel and see if they had a room where I could lie down for a bit. As soon as we got back to the hotel and I got out of the car, I started throwing up again. Luckily, they had one room available, although it was unfortunately on the top floor. I climbed the stairs and got right into bed. I sent Stephen and Pema off to lunch, but first they brought me some crackers in case I felt like eating something. I also made a horrifying discovery about Bhutan. They don’t sell Gatorade here. Some Gatorade would have been awesome to help me get re-hydrated. Knowing that we were going to have to get in the car later, I put on a Scopolamine patch. Then I tried to rest up. I did manage to eat about five crackers and drink some water. I thought Stephen wanted to go to the weekend market, but when he got back to the room, he said we were going to drive straight to Punakha. Before we got in the car, I took some Bonine, hoping that in combination with the Scopolamine patch, I would be okay in the car.

Woman walking around the main chorten at Dochu La pass, Bhutan

The first hour of the trip got us to Dochu La Pass. I was definitely okay up to that point, although I was exhausted. There are 108 chortens there, as well as hundreds of prayer flags. We then drove down to the Dochu La Hotel to stop at their tearoom. Then we headed on to Punakha. With only about a half hour left in the drive, I started to feel sick again, so I had them stop the car so I could rest a bit. After about 10 minutes, I felt better and we took off again. I made it to our hotel with no further problems. We stayed at the Hotel Zangto Pelri. It didn’t have internet like our hotel in Thimphu, so we are incommunicado again. We ate dinner at 7 pm then went straight to bed. Stephen said the crickets were incredibly loud, but my ears hadn’t popped from driving down from the mountains, so I couldn’t hear a thing. I slept very well.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Bhutan.

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