The question of “paper or plastic” does not exist in Bhutan. It’s always paper. Or crumpled, old newspapers. Or sheets of promotional gift wrap adorned with corporate logos, that somehow found its way from Japan. At fancier establishments, you will get a paper, or a canvas sack to carry your purchases to wherever you need to carry them.
Being at the forefront of environmental awareness, Bhutan banned plastic bags. A long time ago.
“How cool!” I thought. Something that I totally agree with!
In hotel rooms, old newspapers line waste baskets, and in bathrooms - little paper baggies with printed instructions beckon you to use them for feminine products.
“Very environmentally friendly, but not so friendly for the cleaning staff,” I thought to myself.
Still, this was something I could embrace…
On Sunday, it rained. Dorji and I got totally soaked when walking back to the hotel. He reminded me to be ready at 6AM, bright and early, for the next day’s adventures. Sure, no problem! As long as I’ll find a way to wrap my wet clothes and shoes into something.
Suddenly, this environmental consciousness proved to be quite inconvenient. The front desk didn’t have any plastic bags. Neither did the housekeeping. In desperation, I went to the kitchen and explained my wet predicament. The chef laughed and translated the story for his staff. They all laughed. And gifted me with a giant sack. Burlap, of course.
My wet jacket smelled of chili powder for the rest of the trip.