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Bhutan: The Campsite Dinner

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We were driving towards the Queen’s Monastery in Punakha one morning when we got to know 3 Chinese girls on the road.

Literally. 

They were doing a 10km (I think) cycling trip that morning and were cycling in the opposite direction from us when our guides stopped the car to greet their guide (who owns the local travel agency that we had signed up with). 

They went: “Oh, aren’t you guys the Singaporean couple who are supposed to go whitewater rafting with us this afternoon…?

Yeah.  We chickened out in the end.  (I am hydrophobic, remember?)

So we got out of the car, introduced ourselves and started yakking with them in the middle of the road.  All three live in Hong Kong and two of them are Americans. 

And they invited us to their campsite for dinner that evening.  Which we happily accepted.  I think I last sat before a campfire when I was 17 years old. 

In Punakha, they were putting up at a campsite that looked so cool.  Each tent is spacious, clean and had a huge bed.  The atmosphere was quite romantic.

Another American couple from Idaho joined us for dinner.  They were in Bhutan for work – the husband is involved in designing and developing chalet-type bungalows on a small plot of land near the campsite and they brought us to see the prototype bungalow.  (It is gorgeous and we want to stay there when it is ready!)  This couple is now probably in their 60s, have 7 grown children, 9 grandchildren; look nothing their age and carry backpacks around.

We had a great time at dinner, enjoying the food and the conversations at the table very much.  I can’t remember when was the last time I had such a good time talking to strangers.  Which we will probably never meet again, unless someone passes by Singapore and decides to drop us an email to meet up.

(I have been debating with myself as to whether I should put up a blurry but really nice photo of us taken during the dinner….)

Just today, one of the girls sent me an email to give me the links to the two Flickr albums containing her Bhutan photos.  I drooled.

Oh my…  Her photographs are beautiful! She captured so much more of the place which I could not, did not.  And the pictures of their activities made me wish I had joined them. 

Damn, I should have gone whitewater rafting.  The river doesn’t look so scary in the photos.

And why didn’t I experience riding a mule?  Instead, I went trekking…and nearly keeled over.  Life always looks better on the other side of the pasture.

I love her album which contains gorgeous photographs of the Bhutanese, young and old.

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