Ants Rants Day 3 – Time in Thimpu

So another day has past in Thimphu. Located at an elevation of 2350m you can feel the slightly thinner air as you run up the stairs in the hotel between meetings. Its the first time I’ve really spent any time here, normally its just a 1 night stop over as part of an itinerary – but for a capitol city it is very different, and the more I see the more I like it.

As you walk up the street you walk through locals in casual clothing, or an equal number in their national dress (Gho for males or Kiri for females) and weave among a gathering of Monks as they wander up the pavement – always receiving a smile or a ‘Gazoozampo La’ greeting.

The thing that hits you is the piece and quiet. There are not many city centres you can walk along feeling so relaxed and peaceful. No where else in Asia do the cars respect the limited use of the horn – rarely heard here. As I wandered along this evening I couldn’t help but notice the road layout. A long straight one way main high street with a feed road coming in half way along on the right. Now normally that right turn would stop and give way to join the main traffic. However here the main highway stops mid way along and gives way. Wandering the reason for this I watch & its clear why! The traffic feeding in from the right comes up a steep bank, so this would require drivers to stop and do a steep climb start. Of course it makes more sense and ease for the drivers on the main road to stop and give way! That way you keep the flow going up the hill and no difficult hill climb starts for anyone! Surely our highways utilise this same logic?

At one point today I had a stand off with a taxi as I went to cross the road! Neither one us really sure of who had the right of way! After a moment of eye contact I waved him on and he gratefully thanked me!

That said, they did have traffic lights in the capitol for 2 weeks! As there is so little traffic, it created the first queues waiting for nothing to come the other way! So now at the busiest junction its back to the lone traffic policeman who calmly waves and controls the traffic at a civilised pace. Still no traffic lights exist in Bhutan.

You get the idea. One person once described their experience in Bhutan to me as ‘its a great place to visit, and a greater place just to be’!

So I’m signing out for today – going into the ‘Zone’

No, not a religious experience, a bar around the corner where they serve the best Yak burgers!

I’ll blog again tomorrow having had my first Gho fitted! Until then,

Tashi Delek

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