Monday, December 02, 2013

Bhutan trip day 8 - Thur, 12 Sep 13 - Haa Tsechu

I woke up at 7.30am. Chencho was getting himself ready. Lambuz came to fetch him. They both looked suave with their colorful Gho complete with their Kabney and Tsholham. Both of them had to leave first to Lhakhang Karpo as they had to attend the Haa Tsechu compulsorily for all civil servants by 8am.

Since there was still time, I cooked fried rice with egg for breakfast and had it together with Chencho's father. Hehe... at least I could give him something to taste :) At 9am Kinley came to fetch me and Chencho's father.

Three of us went together. It was crowded. Very different ambiance compared with just a day ago. Lots of Bhutanese were there. Some were sitting down, some were standing, and all was watching the dance. It had been started already. I loved the colorful clothes they were wearing. They came from any different age, looked beautiful :)

Beautiful Bhutanese with colorful Gho and Kira during Haa Tsechu

I saw Chencho and Lambuz at the one of the tents above, provided for the VIP people and civil servants. We went up to the tent as I needed to pass the camera to Chencho. Suddenly Chencho asked us to sit together with them inside the tent. Hahaha.... I felt very lucky la!! It was cool inside the tent and there was seat that made us feeling comfortable. From there, we could see full view of the event. Wow!! I still couldn't believe how lucky I was.

Suja Desi - served during special and religious event in Bhutan

Just sat down for a while, there was a lady coming toward us (me and Kinley). She brought Suja (butter tea) and Desi (rice cooked with butter and dried fruit such as: raisin, mixed with turmeric powder that made it yellow in color). This combination of Suja Desi was usually served at special and religious events and served to high level officials. Ohhh..., I felt very honored and lucky being able to taste it. Lucky me, really!!! :) I was a bit regret having a fried rice so early in the morning. Hahaha... The Desi tasted so good. I can still remember the taste and miss it :)

Right side tent - normal people dancers

I started taking photos at the dancers. Near the temple's entrance, there were few tents. From our view, left side's tent was provided for monks and their place to prepare themselves plus musical instruments for the dance, while on right side's tent was provided for other dancers (not monks). So, if you want to know whether they are monks or not, see where they were coming from :)

Delicious Suja with Zaw - ate together with fresh and crispy biscuits - Nyummy!!!

Not long after, the lady came again. This time she brought us Suja with Zaw (crispy rice), plus very fresh and crispy biscuits. Oh... I loved Haa so much! Lolx!!! She poured the Zaw inside my Suja and that was how we drank and ate it. And again, maybe half an hour after that, she came and brought us pink guava juice. I was so pampered (not only me though), and felt gaining few kilos of weight just being there hohoho.... I was so full ya!! Since 8.30am to 11am, I had eaten so much food.

Panoramic view of the Mask dance during Haa Tsechu

While eating and drinking, we were watching at the performance, but too bad I couldn't understand the meaning of each dance. The clothes they were wearing very colorful. The hats, the shoes.. There was a timetable and explanation about the event, but it was in Dzongkha, not in English. Too bad lor.

Haa Tsechu

At the same time, there were about 3 Atsaras there. Atsaras were the clown figures. They were there to entertain the audience at Tsechu. It was said that their roles were actually much more than that. They were supposed to master all the mask dances as they supposed to correct the dancers if they made mistakes; They were expected to know the sequences of the dances and other rituals associated with the dances. But from what I'd seen, they were there more to entertain, I mean, to disturb the audience in their own ways, and sometimes to chase the dogs who were lying on the performance's ground. Find out more about the legend of the Atsara here.

Atsaras disturbed the singers during Haa Festival

See the photos above? It was taken when the girls were singing. I really pitied them. Well, that's the way it was! Don't be surprised! It's common to see such actions done by Atsaras there. After all, it was happened in GNH country :)

Bhutanese 'Pasar Malam' - Haa Tsechu 12 September 2013

At 11am, Chencho asked me to go out. We went to the opposite of the temple where there were lots of stalls (in Singapore, we usually called it 'Pasar Malam' or night market - although sometimes they opened since afternoon time), selling various thing including foods / snacks, toys, clothes, etc. There were lots of stalls offering games too, such as: throwing the darts to the dartboard, throwing ring into blocks of money, throwing balls into the empty cans, and so on. There were lots of gambling den too.. Hahaha... Really unexpected to see it just the opposite of the temple. They used roulette to bet on which number that came out. Smoke from cigarettes could be smelled from inside the gambling den. There was a lucky dip stall too hahaha... Interesting! The small boy shouted to gain the attention of the passer by so that they could stop and participate in the lucky dip. "With Ngu 20, you can bring the rice cooker back home..." :)

Two naughty Atsaras during Haa Tsechu

After walking for one round, Chencho and I returned back inside Lhakhang. Once entered, I was asking Chencho to take my photo with the background of the Lhakhang. Suddenly, two Atsaras came from behind. At first they were posing themselves (photo above on the left). I found them cute, so I asked them if I could take photo together with them. They agreed to it happily and one of the Atsaras suddenly stood behind me, forcing me to pose with the wooden Phallus that he was holding, and there was the other pose on the right (you know what his intention was, don't you??). Yallama kheno!!! I was so embarrassed. My face turned red right away! Once Chencho took the photo, I faster released myself from him. Nice experience though! Hahaha....

Atsara entertained the audiences inside the tent :D

We went back to our tents. Above were the photos taken when the Atsara came into our tent and disturbed not only ladies,  he even disturbed the man... lolx! Btw do you notice that there was a condom covering the wooden phallus that the Atsara was holding? Wow! I'm impressed la! After all that's one of the duties of every citizens there to play safe,  using condom, to prevent themselves from getting HIV virus :D
Board found inside the government office in Haa, Bhutan

After a while, it was time for lunch. Chencho said that I could have my lunch there, together with them. Lambuz led me to the buffet area and treated me as a guest (foreigner). I felt shy la to queue just behind the VIPs, even confused, should I use the porcelain plate or the plastic plate? Kekeke.... I decided to use porcelain one. You see the dishes they served on my plate at the photo below. It's my favorite spicy pork again, with lots of red chilies, cucumber pickles, papadum cracker and a bowl of dhall. Nyummy!!! :)

Our delicious lunch - Those under the tents :)

They took doma as desserts - it was automatically served after the meal - See the photo above :) I took sweets as dessert ^^

We stayed until around 1 pm then left the place. I had to go back to Thimphu. I took my bag from Chencho's house then we looked for a Taxi.  I was quite worry if I couldn't get a Taxi back to Thimphu because it was late afternoon and perhaps people would love to come to Haa to attend the festival rather than go to Thimphu.

But then I was lucky that there was an empty seat for 1 pax,  and guess what?? The Taxi would go through the Chele-La, the highest pass crossed by a Bhutanese Highway with a height of 3,788 meters (located between the Haa Valley and Paro Valley). Uhuy!!! Again, my wish and dream came true!!! That's one of my wish lists to go through this road. I'd read it before and I thought I would never had a chance to pass by this road since usually Taxi would go through the other alternative way (the same way we came from Thimphu).

Kinley sent me off with khatak

Chencho and Kinley sent me off. Kinley gave me a khatak or white scarf. It had symbols of eight lucky auspicious signs meaning to bring good luck and fortune. In my situation, he gave me due to departure of guest and wished me 'Tashi Delek' meaning good luck. Thank you Chencho, Kinley, and Lambuz for your kind hospitality!!! I really enjoyed my short stay in Haa. Without all of you, I wouldn't be able enjoy this trip this way! I'm really grateful! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!

Once I went inside the Taxi, I found out that my accompanies were a Chilip from Germany and a Bhutanese girl who wanted to learn German language from him. They came fromThimphu that morning to attend the Festival and also to meet someone.  They requested the Taxi driver to go through Chele-La. I had to pay 100 Ngultrum more but I didn't mind lor.... Wahhhh..... I sat in front some more! Get the full view of the road in front of me. Only that, it was raining. However,  it wasn't just a normal rain when we went up, it was hailstones!!! Wow, another thing I first experienced in my life! I could see the ice dropped from the sky and hit the windscreen in front of me. I could hear the 'tuk tuk' sounds too! Hahaha... I was so exciting to see all that! Lucky me!! :)

The driver was busy munching doma, non-stop, from starting our journey in Haa until I reached Mothithang in Thimphu. He was busy wiping out the windscreen from the inside as it became misty due to warm air inside and cool air outside. We finally reached at Chele-La and we stopped there to take pictures and to release my nature call hehehe...

Chele-La between Haa Valley and Paro Valley :)
It took about more than 3 hours from Haa to Thimphu. I reached at around 6pm and my stomach started to hungry. That was when Riku cooked the noodles for me. Hehehe...

At night Riku introduced me with his besties. Story to be continued....


Himalayan Tenzin said...

I loved your photography here madam, delicious as it is and describing the whole events. Hope fine BTW. Have fun. :) Tcare.

Overcome Life said...

Hi Sonam, kadinche-la for keep reading my blog and your kind comment. I'm glad you love reading and looking at the photographs I posted here. Hope you are doing great too out there! Have fun and take care! :)

Pelden Nima said...

i assume u had a great stay in Bhutan...stay tuned with your pens and lens...cheers

Overcome Life said...

Hi Pelden, indeed I had a great time there :) Thank you for reading and encouragement! I will keep sharing my travel experience here, hope you enjoyed reading it :) Have a nice day!

Unknown said...

So nice of you to have experienced all those mam.Reminded me of my days back home doing the same.It was nice going through it, specially the photos.

Overcome Life said...

Hi Kipchu! Yah, I was very lucky being able to experience all that at that particular time. Thanks for the good karma :) Thank you for your comment! Great that you enjoyed reading it :) Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Good people is surrounded by good karma. Wow... This trip will be unforgettable life experience for you. Glad that your wish is come true!

Overcome Life said...

Thank you yz for your comments :) It was indeed unforgettable experience I ever had in my life. Thanks to everyone who made it possible :)

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