Going to the Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten in Punakha is one of my favorite places to go on Bhutan. It's beautiful up there and something magical/mystical flows through the air. Last time I got lost on my way there so this time I knew the way. I seem to always get lost on my walks in Punakha, it just sort of happens. I make the destination in the end, but always have to call my friend Navina to say "I'm lost, where do I go?" Almost on queue, 30 minutes after the call I arrive at the expected place. She's like a lucky rabbits foot. :)
As I approached the chorten I remembered a story about this bridge further on that has a push cart type cable car thing where a farmer will pull you across, over the rushing river. Sounded cool to me and I thought it would only be about 30 minutes past the chorten so I could go and come back.
Well as tradition has it, the walk was much further, about 2 hours further. So as usual I felt lost. I was wandering through thick forest and the deeper I went, the more I felt lost. It was wet and muddy and there was a smell of stale dirty sweaty sex. Sorry to make it graphic, but it's the only thought that was running through my nose. I'd get into clearings and the smell would be gone and then I'd go back down in the middle of it all and there the smell was. I kept looking for Bhutanese couples making out, but none were there. It must have been something in the trees or in some flowers.
I felt lost at every minute, and I kept walking further. Why not turn around? Honestly, this cable car river crossing thing sounded really cool, too cool to miss out on. Plus I had time. I lost the trail and re-found it, and lost it and re-found it again, for a few times. Met locals and asked them if i was on the right path. Of course they couldn't speak English nor I Dzongkha. It was hand motions and smiles to power us through. At one point 3 cows and some herders passed me on this tight path, I had to scoot to the side to let the cows go past me. At a different time I dropped into this open meadow and a cow was staring at me. He turned around and started to walk away, almost as if saying to me, "follow me, I'll get you there." I hopped a fence with a cow locked inside (was worried it would attack me) and soon came to a small farmhouse. The people inside spoke ZERO English but my charades like talking helped me convey that I needed to be pulled across the river. Luckily this was the house with the cable car. As you can see below, it was a little different than one might expect. But super fun!
Once on the other side I found a bunch of fresh pot growing. Now don't misunderstand me. I don't use narcotics anymore, nor have any urge to use. But I love finding it growing wild. I found some in China and Mongolia and was always looking in Lao for it. It intrigues the child in me who you say "no" to and he therefore wants to rebel. It's forbidden and mysterious and so draws you closer. Also, it smells really nice.
From the other side, I called my driver to come pick me up as I had no urge to walk back for another 3 hours. This part of the countryside is a little less visited and as I walked down the road to meet my driver, cars driving by had very strange expressions on their face as chillups (white people) aren't usually in this area or alone on the road.
All in all it was a fantastic hike and a very nice day.