Everything not nursing!
26.10.2013 - 10.11.2013
So Bhutan wasn't all healthcare, hospitals and nursing, we also spent some time sightseeing, exploring and generally having a grand old time.
We did a day trip to Punakha, the old capital, stopping on the way at the Dochula Pass to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas. Despite the fog failing to lift, it was absolutely beautiful and extremely atmospheric, an unexpected highlight of Bhutan.
In Punakha we walked across a massive bridge, across a river, covered in prayer flags that was honestly the most unstable thing I've ever seen..so much fun! We also explored their Dzong which was really impressive.
At the end of the day we walked up to a monastery through local villages. The general consensus was that the highlight here was seeing the famous 'protective penises.' Images covered houses and there were status everywhere. Very safe lucky..maybe? Kinda immaturely hilarious...definitely!
Another day was spent around Thimphu at the giant Buddha (gold and huge) and the Takin (national animal of Bhutan) Zoo. Possibly the ugliest animal ever..so ugly it's almost cute. We were lucky enough to have a picnic lunch on a hill surrounded by prayer flags and overlooking Thimphu. Never have I eaten somewhere so picturesque!
One night we headed out with the students. It was the funniest night, starting with scarily (when we saw the photos) sober karaoke and dancing at club desiree. Topped of with Rosie's traffic directing skills it was an awesome night.
On our last morning in Paro RIHS hosted a lovely farewell morning tea. We all dressed up in kiras and ghos and shared experiences, thanks and stories with those who has been so kind and worked so hard to host us and help us throughout our time in Bhutan. There were tears and we all knew how indebted we are.
We spent a couple of nights in Paro at the end, mainly to hike up to tigers nest, the quintessential Bhutanese experience. The walk was as hard as you'd expect, on tracks for about 4hrs consistently uphill at altitude, we (really) took our time though and it was absolutely worth it. We had l seen photos but typically nothing matched it. It was the most beautiful sight and touching place and I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
Our final night was one none of us will ever forget. We had drinks around a bonfire, presented gifts and songs to the incredible staff who had worked and travelled with us and embraced the last night in Bhutan we would have together. It really struck me how much love and experience I was surrounded with and I couldn't believed we'd met at the airport not even two weeks ago.
I'm writing this about a month after leaving Bhutan, and I still can't get over how lucky I am. It's the most amazing, beautiful and interesting place and I got to experience it with a bunch of incredible people. It's a place and time I'll look back on fondly, and forever be so so grateful I handed in my application to go last minute on a whim.