|Panoramic view of Merak, Bhutan :)|
The last half second day of our journey - Merak:
One of the reasons I wanted to visit Merak and Sakteng was to meet up with its people and see the different cultures and life that they had. Although both places were located still within Bhutan, the ethnic group - Brokpa (literally means nomad or herder) community - had pretty different style of living.
|Brokpa ethnic community in Sakteng, Bhutan|
|Local wool cloth for man (left) and animal skin vest (on the right) - Merak, Bhutan|
|Typical Brokpa Zhitpa (rotten yak cheese) made in Merak and Sakteng (Photo source: Bhutan Observer)|
They made the Brokpa Zhitpa or rotten yak cheese from the churned milk that was pasteurized or fermented for at least 6 months and was wrapped up with animal's skin or leather. They could not open it until its maturity date. The longer they kept the cheese, the more expensive it became.
|Delicious Momo filled with yak meat - handmade in Sakteng, Bhutan|
They took the yak meat and made delicious momo or steamed dumpling and other dishes for their meals.
|Two happy travelers wearing traditional clothes at Merak, Bhutan :)|
So after filling our stomach with delicious lunch, we were having free time. And suddenly I had this thought. I asked K to ask the home-stay owner if she had traditional clothes for us to rent. Wow!!! She really had it!!! So soon after, we entered her house and she helped up with the dressings.
|With a beautiful traditional dress in Merak, Bhutan :)|
The above picture was the result :)
|Our selfie with complete attires - Merak, Bhutan :)|
Then I saw her grandson wearing the pearl necklace. So I asked her if she could lend it to me as well, hahaha.... and she was very kind to trust the accessories in my hand :) After going out, then I realized we were missing something, which was the hat. So K went to ask her again if we could borrow. The above photo was the result ;)
|Kipchu with the Lhakhang at the background - Merak, Bhutan|
|With Lhakhang at our background - Merak, Bhutan :)|
|With big Mani Dungkhor near the Lhakhang - Merak, Bhutan|
We went out exploring our surrounding, visiting lhakhang or temple, walking through villages, communicating with villagers, and not forgetting to take lots of photos with them and their beautiful places :)
|Beautiful places - Merak, Bhutan :)|
|Fun loving moments in Merak, Bhutan :)|
|Beautiful places - Merak, Bhutan :)|
We strolled the place until the sun set. Before returning back, we went to a grocery shop to buy some sweets and tidbits for Dorji Tenzin (the grandson of the lady owner), and eggs for our dinner.
|Grocery shop at Merak, Bhutan|
As we shopped, I peaked into the room beside it. They were bunch of villagers starting their dinner. It was quite early, wasn't it? Usually Bhutanese had their dinner after 9 pm :D
We went back to owner's house and returned our attires for the day. We paid her Nu 200 for the rent. She said she usually charged foreigner for renting the clothes. But for us, she was willing to lend it to us without any cost (which means free of charge). However, Kipchu and I had so much fun and memorable moments walking around the villages wearing these beautiful attires. We were very grateful for her efforts in lending us her precious clothes and that's why we felt that she deserved receiving the small token from us :)
|Tasting local ara served by the home-stay lady owner|
Before leaving the place, suddenly K asked the lady if she had local ara. She said she had it. And I asked him if we could taste it. Just nice we had 2 eggs that we just purchased from the grocery shop. We requested her to add it in and voila!!! The delicious ara was soon ready for us to drink!!! :) The sky turned dark and air was getting colder. However, with bukhari in front of us and two bowls of ara slowly entering our stomach, we felt very warm and safe inside the house :)
|Taking photos with them before leaving their house - Merak, Bhutan|
As we were about to finish, a middle-age man came back and went inside the house. We saw his photo hung near our room and she told us that the guy was the 'Gup' or the headman of the Merak village. So before returning back to our room, we took opportunity to take photo together with them :)
|Our dinner of the day :) Merak, Bhutan|
So, in such cold weather, we could only cook something fast and hot. We reheat the leftover food from lunch and cook a packet of Korean noodle. That's a perfect meal for us!!! Well, our fun loving time for the day was finally end in Merak, but our journey continued.... :)