In Bhutan, we were with a National Geographic Expedition group. We all first met at the airport in Bangkok, Thailand, where we boarded a plane to Paro, Bhutan. As we landed, we got really close to the mountains and you could see the whole valley. It was awesome.
Buddhists believe in reincarnation, which is when you come back as another person or animal after you die. All of this was wonderfully explained by the tour's expert Richard, who lives in Scotland but has been coming to Bhutan and studying it for years. He was really very nice to Stefan and me and taught us a lot.
When we got to our hotel, the first word we learned how to say in Dzongkha (the local language of Bhutan), was "chilip," which means "traveler in our country," or "foreigner." So that's what we were called from there on out.
The next day, we went to go see a traditional Bhutanese festival at the Gangtang monastery and we met one of the most respected Lamas in Bhutan. At the festival there were all types of cool dance performances, like a mask dance where people come out in masks and jump and dance around. Other performances included really colorful costumes and hats.
Those where the highlights of my first week in Bhutan. I'll tell you more about the trip next time.