By Linda Levine, Dining for Women Traveler and Member of the CA, Saratoga-1 chapter
Greetings from Thimphu! I’m having an amazingly colorful time on my Dining for Women trip to Bhutan. When Sandy (Baily) and I arrived in Paro along with three other DFW travelers, we received white welcome silk scarves. One of our guides, Rabten, warmly placed them around our necks much like welcome leis in Hawaii. We then took a minivan through the lovely countryside to Thimphu, the capital. It was our first glimpse at the incredible architecture of Bhutan and the adults and children wearing the national clothing called Kira’s and ghos, for women and men respectively.
We got to our hotel and met more people, guides, and participants! We went out for a nice Bhutanese dinner and then slept soundly except for the howling dogs through the night! Bhutan has so many stray dogs. When I asked the guide if it was safe for me to go out on my own, he said that the big safety challenges are aggressive dogs and potholes/tripping hazards!
Today with our guide Thinley and Megan from Elevate Destinations, we went to a Takin reserve to see this rare animal that is sacred in Bhutan. It looks like half cow, half goat and was said to have been created using magic by their mad saint from the 15th century! We only saw them from far away but it was nice to be out walking in nature!
Next we visited the nuns’ monastery which had these amazing people pictured here! We had a delicious lunch. I’m eating very well as a vegetarian because there is so much Indian-like food and veggies are plentiful! At lunch we gathered yet more participants. All the women seem rather fascinating with real-life experiences making the world a better place! We then went to a superb textile museum explaining the regional differences in weaving techniques. They didn’t allow photos there but what we enjoyed were absolutely breathtaking textiles!!! Everywhere are lovely weavings but those in the museum were really sensational. Finally, tonight was the welcome dinner so all participants (14 women and 2 husbands) and staff were in attendance!
All of this and the trip just began!