Tag Archives: paro

D*ck pics, and other photos

The content of this post is cultural, I swear!

Josh and I had two more days in Bhutan without Kevin. After stomaching some car sickness on the twisty tiny mountain roads, we arrived in a town devoted to the Divine Madman. While the wikipedia page is delightful, I’ll sum him up as best I can: The Divine Madman was a monk that eschewed the traditional strict and staid lifestyle of religious men at the time, choosing instead to find enlightenment by drinking, carousing with countless women, and singing around the town half-naked. He subdued some very evil demons, and performed some miracles, which made people believe he was actually divine and not just a crazy hedonist. As the story goes, he subdued the evil spirits with his, well, phallus.

Now, people in Bhutan use wooden phalluses to ward off evil spirits. When we visited the Divine Madman’s monastery, the monk there tapped us both on the head with a small wooden phallus as a blessing. A visit to the monastery is supposed to help couples who are having trouble conceiving finally get pregnant. There were also pictures of phalluses everywhere around the town, I think to do the same thing (ward off bad spirits/bless people/bring fertility to the household on which it is painted).

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2017_01_06_0038.JPGJosh didn’t know that I put him in the picture, too. He was trying to get me to take a picture of the 3D art…

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2017_01_06_0028.JPG2017_01_06_0023.JPGPhalluses for sale

Josh and I visited other monasteries, did a few more hikes, and ultimately ended up back in Paro where we originally started. I’m posting images rapid fire because as I’m writing this, we’ve already had two full days in Bangkok and I have yet to post about that wonderful city!

2017_01_06_0049In front of the Dzong (or fortress) in Punahka
2017_01_06_0099A beautiful monastery designed by Sonam’s Swiss architect husband(!)
2017_01_06_0004While driving on the mountain roads, we saw monkeys!
2017_01_06_0383The Dzong in Paro, at night

The night before we left, we were back where we started, at that first room at the Gangtey Palace in Paro 

We have a very soft spot in our hearts for Bhutan, but we’re ready to get out of the relatively chilly temps for some warmth in Thailand.

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Happy New Year from the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Bhutan has thoroughly charmed us.

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It captured our attention from the moment our plane descended into the valley, completely surrounded by mountains. Stepping out into bright sunshine and a temperature of around 40 degrees felt refreshingly brisk after the haze of Bangkok. The plane was parked outside the airport door — the most beautiful and austere  international airport I’ve ever seen. There were some desks, two baggage claim belts, and a few chairs on the side. No gates, no Starbucks, no frills or rampant commercialism whatsoever. Come to think of it, I didn’t see any other planes other than the one we arrived on.

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Our guide, Chador, met us on the other side of the airport and drove us to our hotel, which used to be a palace. The rooms inside are far from opulent. Instead, they’re elaborate in an old world sense, with colorful Bhutanese designs on the wall, painted carvings along the trim, embroidery in the comforters, dragons on the rugs, creaks in the wooden floors and that fantastic almost cabin-esque wood smell permeating the air.


Bhutan is the only country in the world to measure its success in GNH, or Gross National Happiness. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to apply to tourists as well, but I certainly couldn’t stop smiling. We did a short run through the town, where I couldn’t stop staring at the peaks encircling us. After the best lunch of the trip thus far (IMHO), we visited a monastery, toured a fortress (called Dzong here), and watched local men exhibit fraternity and terrifying skill during archery practice.


Simple lunch, yet so satisfying 

2016_12_31_0057At each stop, Chador gives us a tour, and fields all of our questions

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Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. At this practice, two targets sit 140m apart. One group stands at one end, the other group at the other, and each side takes in a turn, like you would in a game of shuffleboard. Teammates are split between the two sides, so when someone hits the target, the member on the receiving end informs his partner of his victory by doing a little jig in front of the target, accompanied by jovial exclamations that must travel 140m. 

Chador and our driver Harka ferry us around in an 8-passenger van devoid of seatbelts. Stray dogs nap in the sunlight. Cows lumber up curvy 2-lane mountain roads. There are no stoplights in the country after their recent implementation went poorly. TV was first introduced to Bhutan in 1999. This is certainly the most remote country I’ve ever visited, and yet there’s wifi.

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Tomorrow we start our 3-day trek. We’re exhausted from today and feel no shame in making this the earliest New Year’s Eve of our adult lives. Cheers 🙂

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