Sam Chapter 20: Research

Filed: Sam @ 6:17am on July 24, 2014 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 617
This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Sam

I woke up fully refreshed with a clear mission in mind.

School was starting soon enough, but I had time to get dressed.

One of the things I had done recently, as Samantha, was place my alarm clock to ring perhaps a good 30 minutes earlier once I had realized that it was harder to get ready for school as a girl than as a boy.

Sadly, I only now realized it: it would have made me a much better boyfriend had I known in the past!

Fortunately, I still had my boy-based organization and quickly threw together an outfit, put it on, and took my new favorite brush to untangle my hair while with the other hand, I researched on the Dan Kun monastery.

The easiest way to reach Bhutan is via the Paro Airport, which is the only international airport in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. The only company which flies to the airport is the national airline of Bhutan, Druk Air, and it only flies from Bangkok, Kathmandu (Nepal), India and Pakistan.

Sadly, Bhutan was one of the last countries to be connected to the Internet and it’s Internet presence is rather limited.

I could see that the monastery is located in the Lhuntse District, in the north east of the country. Sadly, it’s the least developed of the 20 districts and seems rather limited in infrastructure.

Most of the district residents do not have access to electricity, so phoning the monastery is probably not an option.

There seems to be a highway connecting the main airport with the district, but it stops short of the monastery itself. I would then need to travel on small mountainous roads (this is Bhutan after all, a county on the eastern end of the Himalayas.

The highway follows for a bit the Kuru Chhu river, then, it turns into a small road which follows the river for another section, until it needs to criss-cross between the mountains until it too, abruptly stops.

Even Google Earth has a poor resolution of the area and as far as I know, the only way to reach the monastery is to go as far the road will take me, and then, continue on foot in the mountains.

And yet, that wouldn’t be my biggest concern…

My number one problem would be that to visit Bhutan, you need to be accompanied by a licenses Bhutan tour operator to minimize the impact of tourism on the environment.

To enter Bhutan, you need to have pre-booked your tour and the minimum price of a tour is $200 per day, for groups of 4 of more.  I could only imagine it would cost over $1000 a day for a single lady to visit the country.

How long would it take to reach the monastery? How long would I need to remain there?

In my family, money wasn’t that much of a problem, but the rigid organizational structure of tourism is a serious problem…

I would have to think about it. The monastery isn’t that far from either the Chinese frontier or even the Indian east frontier with the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, where there is a major tourist attraction on road leading close to a natural wildlife reserve in Bhutan, on the other side of which is the monastery.

Perhaps I might be able to buy typical Bhutan dresses and just hike across the mostly unguarded frontier, and reach the monastery.

Granted, we are talking about a 40 miles trek, but perhaps it would still be the easiest way…

This was getting so complicated! How was I supposed to know more about the monastery if there was no way to call it, to email it or to visit it!

Sadly, that was all of the time I had, so I jumped downstairs to eat breakfast.


Series Navigation«Sam Chapter 19: Supper and dreamsSam Chapter 21: Conflicted»

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