If I could offer two and only two words of advice to all future Western teachers in Bhutan they would be "paying guest". A paying guest loyalty arrangement is when you pay a fixed reduced rate to eat everyday at a particular hotel. Note: In Bhutanese English, all "fooding" locations are called "hotels" whether or not they offer lodging; the Dzongkha is "zahkhung".
For the past couple of months, I have been eating dinner for a whopping buck nineteen Canadian per meal at Yangtse's hippest hotel, BAFRA:
Now, BAFRA is not actually the name of the hotel. It is officially the "Thinley" but if you were to tell anyone from Yangtse to meet you at the "Thinley" they'd probably wait for you at the "Thinley Dendhup", which is a great spot for puri and subji but simply isn't BAFRA. BAFRA is so called because the owner's late husband worked for the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority; such is the convoluted nature of place names in small towns the world over.
Anyway, the hotel owner and her daughter have become more dear to my heart than afternoon sunshine:
Tonight was my last meal with them. They whipped up a family specialty for the occasion: egg corn chow mein. It was served with mushroom soup and goodbye hugs.
I am going to miss a lot of places in Yangtse: the lookout at the top of my morning hike, the flower crowded field by Chorten Cora, but I might just miss BAFRA most of all.