On reaching Jaigaon, the Indian border town, we felt part of a Pulp novel setting, where the lead PD character hunts for traces of sabotage. Dingy, dirty roads, people selling everything from street food to ornaments, and a dark and suspicious tone hanging in the air.
Zangto Pelri monastry, amidst a small park, forms the heart of the town. At the strike of dawn, people start trickling in for their morning prayers. Surrounding the park are several restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops.
An experience to remember! What looked like a bland dish, with a white cheese sauce and just few green chilies randomly thrown in, turned out to be quite an enjoyable dish. The bite of the green chilies wasn’t anything I had tasted before. And it was a nice contrast with the steamed rice. It paired so well with Druk 11000 beer, that I didn’t know how much was too much, and paid with a mild stomach upset later on. Lesson learnt! We went easy with our later set of Datshi’s (there is a lot of varieties of the same, Potato (Kewa), Mushroom, Beans, Saag/green leafy vegetable etc.).
Sitting somewhere outside Phuentsholing, a local small eatery called Om Restaurant. Serving lot of beef primarily and then some pork and chicken. A small bottle of Big Cola. In Bhutan no one seems to be rushing. Still things keep moving. We will get to Thimphu when we get to it. This moment is good in the moment.
Kizom Cafe. A typical small-town bakery with lots of pastries. All different names and pretty to look at. We had a mud cake and coffee, while staring out at the park full of life, all kinds of life forms.
The permit process seems to take forever here … Labyrinthine city streets and recurring faces and names on cars. Chukha. Bumthap. No entry. Welcome. Dagana. Bumpa. Samtse. Paro. Chukha…
The names return like the chants on a prayer wheel. Round and round the circle of life.