After our vacation, we flew into Guwahati (where again we were all a little shocked by the air quality) and went to the Big Bazaar to shop for the second half of the year. Dal! spices! Even a food processor! The manager had to help us find our way back to the hotel afterwards with our many bags.
Then a taxi driver recommended by Balamaguran met us at our hotel and drove us up to Samdrup Jongkhar, helping us shop for veg along the way.
Entering Samdrup Jongkhar felt like coming home. Clean air and sudden quiet after the many car horns of Guwahati. Life was a little complicated upon entry, because we had to obtain travel permits for Jeremy and Zoë (James and I are seen as “coming home” to Kanglung and Yonphula, but Jeremy and Zoë needed an excuse for travel. Eventually, it was decided that they were “traveling to meet relatives” (their parents, with whom they were traveling). Bureaucracy is not always logical. Pema came to find us within a few minutes of our arrival at the hotel, and we made an easy plan for returning home.
On the day, Pema seemed very tired, and the drive took several hours longer than anticipated, but the hills around Khaling were again dreamlike and evocative.