Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007

A bottle of tasty red wine (according to Micki and Dan, it was better than what they had

been buying in the evenings) accompanied the cake along with toasts to good health

and many happy return wishes. Micki and Dan gave me some edible treats from

Thailand and the birthday celebration went merrily along. The people in the

restaurant area were also in attendance at the festivities and wished me well too. A

memorable birthday indeed—another testament to the warmth of these fine folk.

Kelzang used some wonderfully droll and unexpected forms of English during his many

talks with us, as he explained what we were seeing, gave us more history of the country,

or just chatted with us. In describing the cows we saw returning from the fields to the

houses without human leaders, he called them “punctual cows.” At every river

confluence, we would see stupas and chortens and shrines. Bhutanese people apparently

believe that demons and evil spirits inhabit such geographical sites and use the religious

shrines to ward off their bad influences. He labeled these river confluences

“inauspicious.” While we traveled the big highway, he offered that it is courteous that

drivers “sound their honk” at curves and other potential road hazards. When relating a

story of Guru Rinpoche’s conquering demons in the land, he added that this devil was

particularly “hard to crack down.” We enjoyed Kelzang’s stories and his history lessons not

least because of the colorful English he used.

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