Fellow BCF teacher Sarah , who is an english teacher in Punakha, reads a lot, etc. picked up a term from the whaling days on Nantucket Island. The whaling community had developed its own dialect and “rantum scoot” seems to me to mean random wandering, walkabout, aimless stroll. In Bhutan recreational options are limited, very few Bhutanese have any interest in physical activity as recreation, especially walking, hiking, trekking, whatever one might name it. However, they do
We headed up the road out of town and soon set our sights on a Lakhan which sits atop a ridge high above. All the roads in Bhutan are new and there are always “shortcuts.” Often one is asked, how did you come down, by road or shortcut? Shortcuts are walking paths that cut the switchbacks or take another route all together. As we headed up the road, keeping to the route that kept climbing toward our ridge top temple, we were able to peek into valleys unseen from below and to spot Lakhans perched on ridge tops ever higher and more distant. The ever present summer clouds were playing on the summits, everything was green and growing like crazy, a perfect summer day in the foothills of the Himalaya. After walking far enough to begin to feel it we
Three and a half hours of steady walking brought us to our intended Lakhan only to find it was construction site. The Temple, Choekar Khaling, had been damaged significantly in an earthquake and was being replaced. The monk’s
A ways down we upon an area that had been roto-tilled by wild boar. We heard animal sounds in the not too distant brush which sounded like boar. Yep, we walked a little faster and I was happy to get onto part of the trail which was a wonderful pine needle strewn path with no sign of porcine earthmovers. As we neared the valley floor we encountered houses. Trails in Bhutan are created solely by traffic and so anytime a house is in the vicinity all paths will lead to the house, not necessarily in the direction in which you want to continue. At the first house we were greeted by an older woman who offered tea but it was getting late and we moved on. A ways below the houses the trail seemed to evaporate and we did some serious bushwhacking and paddy crossing. All part of the scoot, eventually we ended up on the road that we had travelled earlier in the day. A mile down the road we are across from the Dzong where I can put my 20nu down and get a cold, yes out of a fridge, liter bottle of water. I often feel this moment is the best 20nu ever spent in Bhutan as the
Pung – heaps or mounds, could be grain, Thang – ground or plain, field, Kha – identifies the dialect. So, PungThangKha – the fields where the mounds of grain are stored, in the Kha dialect, morphed into Punakha.
All in all I give this scoot a high rating and look forward to the next one on Sunday, which isn’t so random as we already have the destination picked out and plans have been made. Meanwhile, should anyone ask, nga shey di jo mi.