Now why can’t Americans worship like this? Damn. I missed spinning prayer wheels and sacred penis drawings.
Marilyn and Rob’s first email from Butan--
“Yesterday was amazing, worth the 30+ hours of travel. We hiked to a monastery called Tiger 's Nest which clings to the face of a sheer cliff. I have a mild case of altitude sickness and had to stop often to catch my breath, but Rob and I just kept slogging upward with our gorgeous guide Kinzung. So peaceful in the forest. Occasional shrines and fluttering prayer flags reminding us we weren't in Kansas anymore.
“Then finally the view of Tigers Nest and the valley far below. Nirvana.
“We went to "one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples" but almost couldn’t go in because the chief Abbot was holding a special ceremony. The magnificent Kinzung somehow talked the guards into letting us pass. The sounds coming out of the temple were hauntingly strange -- horns and drums and weird deep throat singing that sounded like it couldn't possibly be coming from a human.
“An old monk gave us red threads to tie around our necks. (We're supposed to wear them until they fall off). Monks were everywhere, mostly seated and chanting, all with shaved heads and maroon robes. A few non-monks too, all Bhutanese, dressed in their traditional clothes which you probably already know from pix of the kings wedding, spinning prayer wheels and prostrating themselves three times as they entered the. Temple.
“I don't think i could walk in a kira, let alone get on my knees and put my forehead on the floor waring one. Piles of gifts for the monks who are apparently fond of junk food and bananas.
“Rob and I left feeling high from all the chanting, spinning the prayer wheels as we left because you just never know.”
Another email (to me and Carolyn):
“Rob's gone native. All the locals tell him how handsome he in his Bhutanese finery. He's looking a little kangaroo-ish here because his pouch is filled with everything he'd normally have in his backpack. But really, when he is traveling lighter, he does look kind of regal.
“Susan, the rumors about phalluses painted on houses here are TRUE! Not as many of them as I would like, and I missed getting photos of the red one and the blue one, but they're definitely here and Big. We're told they scare away demons. I definitely think they'd keep away Jehovah Witnesses.
“Speaking of phalluses, we got blessed yesterday at the temple of the Divine Madman. We made an offering and the monk tapped us on the head with a wooden phallus. just to make sure we were thoroughly blessed, he did it again with one made of bone, shedding new light on the term "boner."
“We've been without electricity for the past two days and without internet for much longer so I'm way behind in reading emails. Reading the ones from you two will be my reward for slogging through everything else.
From Carolyn: “Big blue and red penises! Think of what the political parties here could do with that…..”
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