Bhutan: Celebrating National Day

17th December 2015

The locals are attractive in their own unique way. Victoria and I can’t compete in that fashion but we still looked our best for the big celebration. The wonderful hotel staff helped us with our kiras then we headed towards the celebration. Unfortunately, no phones and cameras so although it was a fantastic opportunity, we did not get the chance to take any photos. The line was long and the locals came with their families and packed food and made sure that everyone is in their best ghos and kiras. We were the few foreigners in the Bhutanese national costume. After receiving a free pin featuring the Fourth and Fifth King, we had to wait …for a long time.

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Victoria rocked up to a military vehicle, stuck her head in and asked whether or not we can get a ride in. They paused for a second then politely declined. That decline reflected the overall respect that Bhutan has for her own citizens ( Kudos for this Bhutan!) .

“Yes, Mam…please wait here. We must make sure that our own people get in first then we will let you in. Don’t worry, you will definitely be allowed in.”

We spent the next twenty minutes or so rocking up to military commandos, police, army, bodyguards and royal bodyguards. To kill time, I saw several men in uniforms standing in a circle and chatting away. There were some black, red and green berets each representing a different department. Bravery is contagious and since I’ve always had this fascination with military and uniforms, I went up to say hi. They stopped talking and looked my way. To kill awkwardness, I blurted out something ridiculous: “ Kuzuzangpola…..do I look pretty in my kira?”

Facepalm….

I had to, I can’t help it that I have a crush on the officer in the red beret who first caught my attention.

I need to tone down my idiotic craziness that seeps through when I travel. It was embarrassing but since they were really approachable and lovely, we ended up chatting about the celebration and I asked them about their respective departments  plus job roles. I don’t think officers would be so approachable in other countries.

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Eventually, we went in and watched the Celebration and all related segments from performances to awards. Although we didn’t get a chance to meet and greet the King (often dubbed the People’s King by the locals), it was still a nice morning.

After lunch and archery, We stopped at Thimphu so Victoria can get a SIM card. You need to give them a copy of your passport + a passport-sized photo. I waited along the side of the street and saw a policeman to my left asking people to use the zebra crossing. So I went up and said hi before leaving.

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The Bhutanese police are approachable and address you with Sir/Ma’am

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We made our way from Thimphu to Punakha and had a stopover at Dochula Pass – the 108 memorial chortens.

DSC01241The 108 chortens were built to honour the soldiers who were killed in the December 2003 battle against Indian insurgents. I think the world will be a better place if people keep their hands to themselves and mind their own business. Since it was already late at night, we didn’t get a chance to see the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain Range. That’s right Bhutan, you push those insurgents out.

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