As told by my best friend, Erin:
"Today I head to Bhutan to start a 7 day trek in the Himalayas with Kerem. To get there however I have to take 4 airplanes and travel for roughly 36 hours.
- Salt Lake City > Denver
- Denver > Tokyo
- Tokyo > Bangkok
- Bangkok > Kolkata
- Kolkata > Paro Bhutan
Kerem and our guide picked me up from the airport early in the morning Saturday. Once we got to the camp site it had been all set up by our crew.
Staff of 6 people: camp manager, guide, cook, assistant cook, helper, horse guy (with 7 pack mules to carry all the stuff!)
Our camp and tent were quite luxurious. The tent had -45C sleeping bags, a raised cot, sleeping pads, pillows, a night stand, solar-powered light, an oriental rug, and washcloths. They also set up two full length reclining chars, table, and an umbrella everywhere we went!
Each meal had a similar setup. For breakfast we had cereal, eggs, toast, and some processed storable meat. Lunch and dinner were served from stacking metal bowls in a thermos.The crew would cook extra rice and maybe 1 or 2 things for themselves and then eat our leftovers. The veggies they served us included: chili and cheese, mushrooms and cheese, asparagus, a kind of thin, long okra they called lady fingers, cauliflower, eggplant, bitter melon root, and onions with potatoes.
Bhutan has what they call the Gross National Happiness, which is the alternative scale to the Gross Domestic Product. Their society wishes to measure their process as a nation based on happiness. The conception of Gross National Happiness rests on four pillars: good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation. All citizens have access to basic needs, including electricity, education, and healthcare - which are provided by the government.
Dzongkha (closely related to Tibetan) is the national language, and Vajrayana Buddhism is the official religion.
On Day 4:
We had a rest day at Jomolhari base camp to acclimate to the altitude and prepare for the upcoming days of camping above 14,000 ft. Kerem and I had been waking up early every morning and going for walks before our guides woke up. On this day, during our walk we rested on a rock with a beautiful view of Mt. Jomolhari. We cuddled up and I thought, "this would be a perfect place for Kerem to propose" ...when he pulled a ring out of his pocket and said,
"Will you marry me?"
I was totally shocked because there were no signs he was planning anything.. and I thought I knew the ins and outs of our entire apartment and even his luggage! I got all shaky with happiness, gave him a big hug, and said, "YES!"
...And yes, Elaine made my engagement ring!