Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


After Gelephu I headed back up to Punakha for some work. I managed to get the next day off and decided to go to Gasa as I had never been and heard the hot springs there were pretty and I'd also seen pictures of the Dzong there which looked gorgeous. So I headed off in a small taxi for what I thought was a 30minute drive but actually was 3 hours. The drive is a bit bumpy but incredibly scenic. A less traveled road with giant waterfalls leaping down cliffs in the distance from sides of the roads. Monkeys here and there as well. When you arrive to the hot spring walkways (it's a 15min walk down) you can see the Dzong above in the distance with clouds and mountains perching behind it. The walk to the hot springs is uneventful (and steep on the way back up) and near the bottom is a small cave like area where you can drink sulfuric water and sniff from a bottle in the mountain. The bottle is very concentrated hot spring steam and is said to clear sinus issues, one sniff and I almost passed out. But my nasal passages did feel more clear. The hot springs themselves are bigger than the ones outside of Gelephu but also much more crowded. Not the most hygienic, but for the sake of being there I did get in the most warm one. Having past out a few days earlier from a different hot water treatment I was hesistant to go in, but also thought that it may help my injury from said hot water treatment. My taxi driver was so happy to be there that we stayed extra long there just because he seemed to enjoy being there so much. But we had a long drive back to Thimphu that night, so we parted maybe an hour after being there and headed back the way we came, picking up some other passengers along the way to help the driver create some more revenue.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Trip to Gelephu

Before leaving Bhutan this time I had planned to make a little journey to see some places I had not seen during prior stays.  I really had my intent to go see Manas National Park as it sounds to be full of natural wonders and beauty and the chance to see a tiger in the wilderness excited me.  Unfortunately I didn't get the time and the infrastructure around Manas is not so developed. Next time, I hope.  But I did head down to Gelephu, a border town to the Assam border of India and right next to Manas. I thought it'd be nice to see something different. The town itself is very quaint and simple but if you go north of the city by about 10minute drive you can come to the beginning of some beautiful jungle that I imagine will lead you inot Manas.  Inside of here you'll find a small hotspring. In the winter I'm told it's packed with people. However as I was there in summer, there was barely anyone there. On the way back to Gelephu to head back north I cam across my first Golden Langur, a truly beautiful animal.  Shortly after we'd see some red monkeys (which I had trouble getting on camera.)  The road is pretty beautiful, and well paved but right before you reach Wangdi the road turns to shit as there is much work going on there. Building of a hydro-electro power plant.  The tunnels in the sides of the mountain and other equipment around the area made it feel as if it was from some James Bond movie. It's a long journey to get to Gelephu and I don't recommend it for just one day for tourists but if you had more time and knowledge of Manas, then it'd be a very nice trip.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Days in the Gangtey Valley

Before finishing up my third term in Bhutan I had an obligation to train spa staff in Gangtey and Bumthang. I hadn't been to Gangtey since early March and was happy to explore the valley a little more as well as relaxing in a traditional hot stone bath, something I had never done before but referred many people to with positive feedback in return.  On my first day there I was treated to go try out a farmhouse we used to use for lunches that had revamped some things and wanted feedback on it.  So I was "forced" to eat local food and try some new things and some old familiar ones.  Though not as delicious as the farmhouse we use in Bumthang, it was still charming.  We took a longer roundabout way back by walking  through the valley instead of driving back on the road.  I did my training when I got back to the lodge and then was whisked away to my hot stone bath.  Truly an exquisite setup and phenomenal experience, as with most of the things Aman does. Tucked inside right next to a traditional potato shed is the tub.  Big stones are heated on a fire and when ready placed slowly into a side compartment. Local herbs are soaking in the pool to disperse their natural remedies. Outside just below, cows are grazing. In front is a long valley corridor where the sun soon begins to set through. Nightfall slowly creeps in and before you know it, it's pitch black and (if there aren't clouds) stars shine above.  One little mistake I made was to not get out more frequently. I did make sure to drink lots of water but exiting every 15minutes is also helpful. I got up to pee after about 90 minutes and while urinating I fainted, hitting my head on a stone behind me (and subsequently twisting some leg muscles which took me out of my yoga practice for nearly a month). Hitting my head on the stone woke me up, and though I was dazed, confused and in some pain I couldn't help but laugh at my situation.  When I was ok and less dizzy I got back into the tub and soaked for another 90 minutes or so. Hoping it would heal my leg, as well as sitting in the bath just feels really great.

The following day on my way back to Thimphu I was fortunate enough to see a beautiful deer hopping along the road. It was too difficult to get a photo but I was excited as it was my first dear seen in Bhutan.  Also we came across some langurs playing in the road, and those things just look so cool.