|Riku's village in Chuzargang, Gelephu|
We woke up at about 8am. The sun had shone brightly in the sky. I had a good sleep at night. Time to wash my face and brush my teeth. Riku brought me to another place. See photo below - below part. It was a shallow pond, water with small fishes swimming there. I asked him, "Here??? I wash my face here???" "Yes," replied him. "Are you sure??? There are fishes swimming around here... inside the water," I still couldn't believe that I had to wash my face and brush my teeth there. He didn't reply me this time. Instead, he started brushing his teeth using the water from the pond.
|Life in the village - Gelephu, Bhutan|
I had no choice but to follow him. Lolx!! I brushed my teeth there using the water there, also washed my face. Felt bad with the fishes around though... :P Luckily I didn't have to take a bath there last night, I told myself inside my heart hahahahaha......... I mean, I could take a bath in the river, but hopefully no fish around la... I didn't know if there were any fishes in the man-made pond that I used to take a bath the night before though as I forgot to visit the place again and watch it in closer view hahaha...
After refreshed ourselves, we sat outside the house. Riku's mom brought breakfast for us. We had few slices of roti to be eaten with dhall. His big Mom brought two glasses of curd for us to have. Wow, what a luck to have a fresh handmade curd :) Thank both of them for the delicious breakfast! While eating, I watched chickens, chicks, rooster walked around, also the black pig belong to Riku's mom. So cute! Riku was chit-chatting with his two Moms. Life was so simple there.
|Paddy fields in Chuzargang, Gelephu|
In a while, we had a walk among the paddy fields belong to his brother and his father. I still preferred to walk barefoot, felt the warmth and humid soiled under my feet (also because I was too clumsy to walk using slipper :P). The weather was quite hot until I had to open my umbrella to prevent myself from the sunlight.
|Tourist got lost in the middle of rice fields :P|
While walking, I could feel the similarity of this place with villages in Indonesia. There were many places like this there, but I was born and grew up in city. Didn't even have friends who stayed in villages and never experienced walking barefoot between paddy fields too. So, this was still my first time experiencing life in village (in my whole life - alamak!!!!). Usually I just watched this view from inside the car. No wonder I was so 'tourist' la! Lolx!
|Inside the groceries shop|
He brought me to his father's groceries shop. His parents opened a small shop selling basic necessities, like soap, detergent, battery, food (instant noodles, biscuits), drink (soda), some liquor as well like Rockbee, Sonfy, etc. This place would also be their living place during a night time. Although the weather was very hot outside, it felt cool inside. We stayed there for a while.
Riku was trying very hard repairing the watch that he bought previously for his father (the chain part). With a limited tool, he almost gave up. However, with his perseverance, he finally managed to make it right and he put it on his father's hand. Just viewing it, it melted my heart. I could feel how much he loved his dad. He also bought him a new hand phone from Thimphu, replacing the old Nokia phone that had been broken in some parts. This was what "action speak louder than words" in real life and this was how he showed his love to his dear and respected father. Am I right Riku? ;)
|Rice mill and maize mill in Gelephu, Bhutan|
While he was busy repairing the watch, I took a look how his father used the rice mill machine. It was to separate the husk from the paddy, resulted in a white rice as per shown in the photo above. Interesting!
|Local products of Chuzargang, Bhutan|
His Mom came back with few pomelo inside the sack. She took one and cut it, then added some salt. His Dad cut the papaya, grown from nearby trees. Both fruits were to quench our thirst in such a hot weather. Next to the shop, there was a hut where they made local pickles using dorle chili and some other vegetables. They also dried some maize, hung it on top.
Oh, did you see me on the photo above? I was using the manual weigh machine owned by them. Hahahaha.... I guess they used it mostly to measure the weight of the rice. The stones seemed heavy. That's why I dared to sit on it. Riku counted my weight correctly. Yalama... He knew how much my weight was then!!! Lolx!!!
|Walking through the paddy fields in Chuzargang, Gelephu|
We left the shop and walked back home. Last chance to take some photos with beautiful nature of the green paddy fields. Quite lucky though that it wasn't harvested yet, otherwise the color wouldn't be as nice as that :)
Once reached home, we took a rest for a while. Riku immediately lied down on his bed and took a nap under the ceiling fan. He couldn't stand the sunlight and the hot weather. I still couldn't believe it since this was his village where he supposed to spend more of his childhood time here. He defensed and said that most of his time spent in cold area, like Bumthang, Trashigang, and Thimphu, and only went back to village during winter time. Laso la! But still.....
His Mom cooked rice with fried chicken, chicken liver and dhall for lunch. Nyummy!!! The weather was too hot to walk back through the Maokhola river. His father worried that I couldn't take it and decided to call the taxi. At the same time, he could go to town to buy some groceries to replenish his shop.So, three of us plus the taxi driver took taxi back to Gelephu town. Before leaving, I hugged Riku's Mom and shook hands with the rest, thanked them for the hospitality they had given to me.
|On the way back from Chuzargang to Gelephu town|
They sent us until we sat inside the taxi. It took us one and half an hour to go to Gelephu town. The taxi went through a rough, stony, sometimes muddy road. But the taxi and the driver didn't give up with the road condition. It went through all the bumpy road and obstacles with a goal to reach the destination safely. We took a look at the view outside, passed by many houses, villagers, chortens, buildings, paddy fields, Maokhola river from afar, etc. We stopped one time for us to take a rest and freshen up ourselves. Once reached the Gelephu town, both of us went down while Riku's father continued his journey.
Riku and I decided to enter one fully air-con restaurant and had two plates of beef Momo there :) Riku was ordering a glass of milk shake. In such hot weather, he and I imagined that what would come was a tall glass filled with blended ice with milk. But what actually came was a cup of hot milk, and it seemed to me that it was made of water and creamer powder. Lolx!!! Riku was disappointed to the max ya!!! Hahaha.... Luckily I didn't order that :P
|Gelephu Youth Center|
Riku was about to meet his college and also best friend, called Purna. But he wouldn't come so fast. There was still time for us to wait. He decided to visit the Youth Center in Gelephu and met up with Durga Mohara, the person-in-charge there. We took a cab there. Riku was talking with him about their work in Dzongkha while I was sitting down at one side, resting. I was too tired to do anything.
|Gelephu Hot Spring (Tshachu), Bhutan|
After some time, Purna came. Before going to Gelephu, I was asking Riku if it was possible for us to visit the hot spring in Gelephu. I read it in the book called "Treasures of the thunder dragon: A portrait of Bhutan", written by former Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. She wrote about the hot springs in Bhutan, including the one that locates in Gelephu. Since I visited Gelephu during the trip, why didn't I visit this hot spring too, whenever possible. I was curious how the hot spring looked like. He said, "Yes, of course possible." His friend's wife works at village nearby the area, they called the place Tatopani. That's how Purna came and fetched us. He drove us to the hot spring right away. It was located up in the hill. It was one of the popular hot springs in the country and was believed to cure several diseases, particularly skin diseases, even ulcer, joint pains, and tuberculosis.
|Gelephu Tshachu or Hot Spring in Bhutan|
So that was how the Gelephu Tshachu looked like. It consisted of few circular places where the temperature of the water in each place was different from one and another. Some was warm, some was hotter, while some was colder. One place could fit about 10 people inside, but could be more during winter time where most people would love to visit. However, there was no proper drinking water facility in the area. As you know, we had to drink water after soaked inside for some time. Luckily we brought our own water. The toilet was not clean and no water inside too, which made us unable to have a proper cleaning. I just changed my cloth and made myself dried using the towel and took a bath later on when reached home. However, it was a very good experience for us. It was Riku's first time soaking inside the hot spring too. He too became a tourist at his own hometown hehehe...
|After the hot spring - Me, Sanu, Purna, Sabi, and Sanu's eldest sister|
We went up to Tatopani. Near the hanging bridge, Purna's sis-in-law operated a small groceries shop plus eating place. We dropped by there. Riku and I was interested with the hanging bridge. We headed there and walked over the bridge. It was made with metals. Below us was the river streams. The place was surrounded with beautiful natures. There was a chorten too. People turned the big prayer wheel and prayed there.
We went to the shop, sitting down there, resting. We were served with local Gelephu ara and some chang-pa. We chit chatted and waited until Purna's wife came. We then went to their rented house in Luckytar, where we stayed there for a night. There was a place where I had a full dining experience mentioned in this post.
We were very full after the dinner. Riku and I had a walk outside their house, nearby the area. It was a great night, with a lovely weather. We just walked, walked, and walked, let our food digested, before going back into their house. Purna even called Riku, worried that we might get lost since we walked for quite some time. Once reached home, I took a bath and went to sleep. It was a tiring day but lots of good experience. Thank you very much Purna, Sanu, and Sabi for your warm welcome and hospitality. I was really grateful meeting all of you. Hope our friendship remains forever even after we separated. Take care and have a happy life out there!!! Thank you for Riku too for giving me a great experience in Gelephu and made my dreams came true. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!