The boys looked fantastic in their ghos of various patterns and colours and were buyant and gracious hosts as we walked down through the village and up towards the forest road that leads to the monastery.
They insisted on carrying my backpack, offering their umbrellas for shade from the summer sun and telling any interesting information about who lived where and what unsettled land in the village was about to be divided up to be given to landless farmers as gifts from His Majesty, the Fifth King. After stopping for a few customary photo shoots and for me to gaze like a dork at the luminescent outlines of the gathering cumulonimbus clouds coming over the mountains, we entered the forest and started to climb.
Much excitement followed when the boys found this snake sunning itself by the side of the road. "Sir, sir! Have to kill it, sir!" they shouted, rocks poised to throw. "It will kill our animals, sir! Has seen us, sir, will know us and find us and kill us!" Really?! After calmly explaining to them that there was NO WAY they would be killing a snake on one of my excursions, we sat and watched the beautiful thing for several minutes as it slowly wound its way back into its hole.
It was a beautiful day and the boys took us on some beautiful singly trail short cuts up through the chir pines, oaks and cypress.
We reached the goempa where some of the most spectacular trees sit atop the ridge line. I wish my botany was better as there are so many beautiful species here - including this one, replete with local Class VI monkey.
|Lula, looking like a film star|
Lula told me later what an unexpected and beautiful thing this was for her to witness, standing as she was at the back of the room and expecting the boys to leave just as I had. Of course, being teenage boys, after about five minutes the giggling and farts started again and we all opened our eyes and slowly made our way back downstairs. The boys asked the monk to roll dice for them to indicate whether they would have good or bad luck in their exams (they basically keep rolling until the luck comes good).
|View of Thimphu Valley from the Goempa|
|Checking out the View|
|Lookin' well 'ard|
|Nima and Tandin Tshering Stopping for Photo Shot|
To our surprise, the boys found our friend the snake, still sunning herself outside her hole. On the subject of corporal punishment, I have to admit that I did give one of the boys a playful cuff over the head when he decided that he would go against my strict instructions and toss a rock at the snake to see if he could get her to move. At least one of the benefits of working in a system where corporal punishment is tolerated is that I can be more physically playful with boys, a far change from the 'hand off' only policies in other countries.