24th November 2014 – Thimphu, Bhutan
The capital carried no charm, and a bronze statue, no interest. Maybe its the chilly November, but nothing could warm me up here. So, I rode out to another valley, hoping for respite and lower altitudes Turns out that the weather is persistent in Bhutan, both far and near.
I know many people are dying to get to Thimphu, but I am so far unimpressed here. The capital bears a very lacklustre look, and does not carry a vibrant character to go along with it.
Last night, I met a British traveller in my hotel, who has been living here for the last 7 years. And he worked with an NGO for drug addicts. In 30 minutes, he spoiled the whole impression that I had built about Bhutan. Apparently, the youth in Bhutan was suffering from a huge drug problem, apart from dealing with domestic abuse and a high rate of peer suicides. And I was thinking that cigarettes being banned here, are a good start. Turns out you could everything on the side here, from cigarettes to anti-depression pills, which were behind the current bout of drug addiction.
I left today around noon, before spending some time in the morning to see some of the very few sites in the capital. After visiting the 51m tall bronze statue of the Sakyamuni buddha on a nearby hill, I came back to Thimphu and went to the national memorial chorten, which is a memorial for the third king of Bhutan. I clicked around here for a bit, and then proceeded to ride to Paro.
I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to ride in Bhutan in November, because the climate is horrendous for riding. I had to stop literally every 5 minutes to warm my hands, which, despite wearing an oversized yak wool gloves, were almost frostbitten.