The day started off with an attempt to shower in the cold weather at the fastest speed possible.
We have our meals on a mini tabletop surrounding the fire-stove with dishes passed around in a circular fashion. In Bhutanese culture, it is typical for the mother to serve the food for everyone.
Buckwheat pancakes were served and it taster plain with a bitter aftertaste. You will prefer to eat it along with some sides like egg or cheese.
Cheese seems to be an important element in Bhutanese cuisine. You get chilli cheese, vegetable soup with cheese flavouring, cheese with stir-fried fern and many more.
This is a potato field right outside the house instead of the typical high rise buildings.
The house is pretty simple with the residential area at the upper level accessible by a flight of stairs and storage space at the bottom.
Vibrant colours and hand painted decoration makes up the exterior of every building in Bhutan.
We also dressed up in the traditional Bhutanese costume; Gho for guys and Kira for ladies. The Gho is kinda challenging to put on and the locals "store" their belongings within the front piece, saving the need for a bagpack.
On our way out of the valley, we spotted many yarks owned by the Nomads. They are moving higher up into the mountains as yarks prefer cooler weather.
Such heavy duty machines would drill through the mountain walls, breaking them into smaller pieces to create a road.
Half of the day was spent on the road traveling from Gangtey back to Paro. In between, we stopped by Thimphu to visit the handicraft school.
The school has a respectable mission to "preserve the traditional Arts and Craft by reviving and sustaining the old traditional Arts and Craft".
I will leave it up to you to decipher the meaning of "110 vision"!
You will see students practicing their skill
There is also clay work section.
Drawing classes. Our tour guide shared that the dimensions and ratio of all the sculpture and paintings must exactly match the "golden reference". This requires the craftsmen to be highly skilled and meticulous in all their work.
As well as painting.
I am impressed by the efforts taken by the Government to establish a school to train youths into skilled craftsmen who would be the ones to restore and preserve their tradition. It is atypical compared to the modern approach where culture and tradition are rapidly eroded due to urbanization. We watch them being eroded and eventually lost instead of training a talent pool to revive and flourish them.
We also dropped by a handmade paper factory to check out how paper is made!
These are old equipment used to produce and sun-dry paper. Sun drying has been replaced by weather independent heaters with uniform heat control.
Wood is first soaked in water to soften it.
They are then cooked for few hours to transform into pulp.
These ladies are working through stacks of pulp to further process it.
This gets transformed into handmade paper!
With a simple mix, you get paper of different colours.
She is the "machine" who makes paper one at a time. We can perhaps call it organic paper as the glue to hold the pulp together is extracted from hibiscus and the colouring comes from natural sources. There's not chemical involved unlike our white paper that requires bleaching.
Here's the heater than replaces the sun to perform drying.
We also stopped by at the archery place to witness how a match is conducted. They work with bamboo made bow and arrow that is harder to control and fire away at a target 145 metres away. You will see them dance and sing every time the target is hit. How interesting!
We settled down at Raven's nest that will be our last hotel for two more nights. The spaciousness of every hotel room is comparable to a luxurious city suite in developed countries but only at a fraction of the price.
They made salad dressing using fresh strawberry mixed with olive oil.
There's never a day that food failed to impress us in Bhutan. No special seasoning or condiments are used; simply raw vegetables and a pinch of salt.
I must emphasize that all vegetables grown in Bhutan are organic. This means that no fertilizer or pesticides/chemicals are introduced during cultivation. You get to enjoy the true flavour of nature without worrying about bad side effects that deteriorates our health.
Even the dessert is unique. Simply apple cooked orange juice with some spices. Definitely need to try cooking this back at home!