Monday, May 20, 2013

Strawberry Fields

Our children have loved the Bhutanese children's story Membar Tsho - The Flaming Lake, by Kunzang Choden. It tells the story of Pema Lingpa, a revered saint from our region, Bumthang, who lived 500 years ago. He was a 'terton' or discoverer of hidden treasures, and his most famous discovery was at Membar Tsho where he leaped into the lake with a flaming torch in his hand, and emerged with the torch still lit, having recovered a Buddha statue and a skull.

For those visiting Membar Tsho it is said that those 'pure of heart and with unwavering faith' will see images of prayer flags, chortens, temples or Buddhas deep in the water of the lake. Of course, when we visit, Xavier and Remy exclaim loudly about all the Buddhist images they see in the water! But being children, they are pure of heart, so who knows?!

We visited Membar Tsho for the second time yesterday, taking along our friends from Thimphu, one of only a couple of other foreign families we know of that live in Bhutan. We met them a few months ago, and it was so nice to hear they were heading out our way for a holiday. Our boys were definitely in need for a play with some English-speaking kids and it was really lovely to listen to their conversations.

We recently hid a geocache here in Chumey, and when I was on the geocaching website ( I found out that there was a geocache (which is a modern-day hidden treasure!) hidden at Membar Tsho. It was fun to introduce our friends to this new passtime, especially as I know there are now a few more hidden around the country to find.

Carefully peering down into the lake.


Tiny 'tsa tsas' - little chortens - are made by piglrims and placed in all the caves and crevices in and around Membartsho.

Kids on the bridge - the black spots on the photo are flies - they were swarming around the whole area - unbelievable!

This is around where we found the geocache.


We had a lovely picnic high on the hill above the lake, under hundreds of prayer flags. After lunch the kids played with sticks and leaves and made a 'house' while the grown-ups chatted.

Our next stop was at a 'Recreation Reserve' that we had heard about but not been before. We had no expectations, and it was surprising that on a Sunday afternoon there were no other people in sight. We drove down towards the river and stopped in an open field - full of wild strawberries! The ground was covered in them, and you can imagine how wonderous this was for five little children!


We spent hours there, discovering new patches of the ripe and plump strawberries and explored in and around the trees. We ate and ate and ate the strawberries and then picked enough to fill a few containers full to bring home! The adults took turns going for a short hike down to the river - the way was very steep and over large rocks at the bottom - but the feeling of being down at the river was so lovely - it was my first 'wilderness' experience in Bhutan - wild beautiful nature, quiet and alone.

We returned to Chamkar and I raced about buying our two weeks worth of fruit, vegetables and groceries while Bob took everyone to check out the new cafe in town, Cafe Perks. I was very skeptical of the sign that said 'Real Coffee' , but when I finally caught up with them, it was like being in the Ambient Cafe in Thimphu, almost! It is very exciting that we have a little bit of city cafe culture right here on our doorstep and I am really looking forward to return and try out some things on the menu. Between us we tried the smoothies, coffee and tea and all were great!

The taxi driver showed me a new veg shop - the closest thing to a supermarket out in this neck of the woods!

We're hoping to see our friends as they return to Thimphu later in the week, and we all felt like it had been a wonderful day. Xavier cried and blew a kiss to the girls out the taxi window as we drove away and yelled 'Love Ya!'.

When we got home, our neighbour had picked us a huge bowl full of lettuce from her garden - I made the first salad that we've had in Bhutan for dinner - delicious!

1 comment:

  1. what a beautiful, beautiful day! How special.
    (and I love your previous post - wow!)