Showing posts with label Dochula. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dochula. Show all posts

30 December 2016

Laya Journal- Long Road to Gasa

The weather hadn’t been good all week and frequent news of bad road condition worried us. On 12th October morning the sky faked a brief sunshine. We took it as a good sign. Our four cars were loaded with bags and people equally. My two friends Che Dorji and Dorji Phuntsho got into the Bolero Camper that was loaded with camping equipment and ration. I didn’t see them until later at night in Gasa. They made it to Gasa three good hours ahead of us.

I was in a car with three talented gentlemen; Dorji was an artist, Sangay was a musician and Dr. Tenzin whom I knew for a long time was a dentist, dancer, social worker and a good human being. But after Dochula even these three extraordinary companions couldn’t keep me awake because I had seen this stretch of road a thousand times. I wanted to save my wakefulness for the road from Punakha to Gasa, which was a road-not-taken for me.

With Trekker 360 in Thimphu
We stopped for lunch in Khuruthang and I was all prepared to enjoy my maiden journey to Gasa. Road to Gasa began all bumpy and miserly squeezed in between steep hill and the roaring Mo-Chhu, with nothing much to see on either side. I waited for some time to see if there was anything else to see besides the raging river but the road continued that way forever. I tried to go back to sleep only to be woken by frequent stops at roadblocks. We could see fresh landslides but thanks to the many dozers deployed to handle the situation across the stretch of the road.

The road didn’t at all seem favorable for Gasa to dare such an event, not even on a normal day. Hundreds of people had to travel on the road that was a ticking time bomb. It was miracle that nothing bad happened. Perhaps this was to let Thimphu feel the pain of Gasa.

We reached Gasa in the darkness of the night. The farmhouse the team had booked was all lite and waiting for us with steaming tea and dinner. Che Dorji had already arranged three of us to put up at his friend’s, who was a doctor in Gasa. Dr. Wangchuk had come to pick his three guests and he knew where exactly to take us for dinner and drinks. Gasa was so alive that night with more people and cars than it ever saw.

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07 March 2014

Playing Police Where There is no Police

The Dochula Block saga begins again. The road widening works are back, they always wait for the rainy season. The mess from last season has not been taken care of yet and now new works have begun at three locations. Traffic remains closed for hours, there are police on the spot and of course roadside thukpa sellers. When traffic opens on regular intervals vehicles go wild from both directions. There is nobody to manage the flow.
So on a typical day, I was on my way to Thimphu. I waited an hour sandwiched between hundreds of vehicles. I finished reading all the tweets I missed in many days and completed several levels on Diamond Dash. When the floodgate of frustrated traffic opened I landed up after two trucks. We were moving like glacier. Soon a truck from other direction slipped and hit its body onto the nose of the first truck before me. Everybody came out and that's it, the traffic came to standstill.
It took quite sometime for me to dare put my new shoe into the red mud covering the road. I went to the accident spot only to find that the two drivers haven't even started talking. They were facing away from each other and talking with their groups of supporter- you know how people take sides. I looked at the damage, the dent was only about a punch size that could hardly be worth Nu.1000.
Look who is angry!
The driver of the damaged truck blames the other for not stopping and not keeping enough gap but it's clearly visible the there was no room for safe gap and that he had slipped despite stopping. There was rather space on his side and he could have moved a little away. I voiced that. I told them that there is no way any road safety official could reach us from either end and waiting there any longer will only build the traffic jam that could lead to bigger problems. So I decided that they share the cost. With Nu.500 we began clearing the jam. It was another hour before I could finally free myself from the snailing convoy. But damn, only to be stopped at the next block.
It took me six hours to reach Thimphu. What causes this problem? Does road widening have to be road blocking? Do we really have to stop traffic? Well I heard that thing about safety, but where is the safety in creating traffic jam along the unstable hill (remember the incident from last year? I nearly lost a friend. he lost his hi-lux though and nobody paid for it) Don't we have a smarter alternative? Though Bhutanese are generally lazy we still have better things to do than play mobile games at high altitude road block.