‘Ants Rants’ … Arrived in Bhutan!

Kuzoozangpo La (Greetings)!

As a commute goes its a fair distance! Especially as its normal to do a stop over, but with the brief nature of this trip it had to be done in one hit. Having said that, it is still the most spectacular commute in the world with an Everest flypast and a landing that would rival something at Alton Towers! With the number of pilots capable of this journey only just into double figures, and a flight path that would be more at home in an RAF jet in North Wales, the large passenger aircraft weaves through the foothills and to my destination, Paro. Don’t let this put you off, on the contrary, this is Bhutan, where the soothing music plays on the approach, the hostesses are perfectly at ease and the pilot talks to the passengers throughout the process, like a well rehearsed ritual.

It’s always with a sense of privilege that I step off that plane no matter how many times I visit. The immediate clean unpolluted air, the peaceful virtually vehicle free one hour drive to the capitol Thimphu, and the stunning scenery that makes the journey feel like half that time. And so to work…

This visit is based in the capitol,Thimphu, with my good friend Uygen and his team at Xplore Bhutan. I’m here to prepare for 2015, the year that the Telegraph lists Bhutan as the ‘must visit’ destination, a year that Bhutan has marked as ‘Visit Bhutan’ with a host of festivals, celebrations and events through the year, and the year ‘Live The Adventure’ expands its itineraries, guide training and formal relationships with this hidden Kingdom.

With meetings through the week, my office will swap between the hotel room, coffee bar and official venues as I prepare meetings, write letters and edit footage. My diet switches to the national dish of chillies and cheese, which once you acclimatise, is not bad as it sounds, and the familiar mountain backdrop acts as my set for the coming week.

Its the first time I’ve visited at his time of year and to my surprise the weather is perfect. The climate feels more like a ski resort, fresh mountain air, yet warm during the day, enough to sit out in T-shirt and sun glasses, then pulling the fleece or down jacket on for the evening. With this being the coldest month of the calendar, Bhutan has certainly got something to offer the visitor all year round.

So the end of day one and the first set of meetings over, its time for Butter Chicken Masala (with Chillies) and a red panda beer. I’ll update tomorrow from the place known as ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’ – why does it have that name? thats tomorrow’s news!

 

Tashi Delek

 

View from Delhi - Paro flying into Bhutan!

View from Delhi – Paro flying into Bhutan!

 

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