April 1, 2006-
This is probably the first year I have ever missed April Fools Day, but it’s okay because there was really nobody to fool. After breakfast today, we went up to the mountains around the city where people hung prayer flags from trees and poles. Our guide told us that there are two different styles of prayer flags: Bhutanese style and Tibetan style. Both are pieces of cloth with prayers written on them, but the Tibetan flags are multicolored and hang from horizontal strings stretching from tree to tree, whereas the Bhutanese flags hang from vertical wooden poles.
Not far from the area where we saw the prayer flags, was a takin reserve. A takin is a kind of animal that looks somewhat like a cow or yak crossed with a llama or camel. Scientists say that the takin is so unique that it is in a family by itself. According to a Bhutanese legend, the takin was created when “The Divine Madman”, after asked to perform a miracle, roasted and ate a cow and a goat. After he finished eating, he put the skull of the goat on top of the cow’s skeleton and the pile of bones came to life as the takin.
We went into town to eat lunch at a traditional Bhutanese restaurant.
My favorite dish there was a spicy peppers and cheese dish. After we finished lunch, Karma wanted to take us straight to the textile museum, but we convinced them to let us go to the market instead. I loved the market; people were everywhere selling fruits, vegetables, and cheese which they placed on top blankets and under tarps. We filmed the whole place as we walked around it, dogs, kids, and all. One of the most interesting things that we saw was a tourist showing a video camera to some kids. They were fascinated by it!
The textile museum was nice. We learned about the traditional Bhutanese garments and how they are made. The traditional tunic for men is called a gou and the traditional dress for women is called a kira. Both are made by weaving, and the patterns are made by inserting new threads while weaving. We bought some textiles from the museum shop as well as some music. We went back to the hotel and ate a dinner that was pretty much the same as yesterdays.