One of the most enjoyable things we did in Bhutan was play archery and darts with our guide (and we got our driver to join in on day 2!). We had such a fantastic time enjoying these ‘quintessential’ Bhutanese sports.
-Me hitting my arm with the string on the bow and the resulting 6 inch bruise.
-Actually being better than DH at archery.
-Husband actually being awesome at darts.
-Husband laughing at my 6 inch bruise and immediately doing the same thing the next day.
Archery is pretty self explanatory. We used the good old-fashioned bows (none of this compound nonsense), and wooden arrows with fake plastic feathers. Just like in gym class. Back when you were actually allowed to use a bow and arrow in gym class. I’m sure they’ve done away with that by now…sigh.
Now darts, though, darts is truly a Bhutanese pastime. And they are amazingly good. Their darts resemble something of a lawn dart (oh, also outlawed here for safety reasons). They are about a foot long, with a huge metal spike (the dart), and a weight. We had wooden ones, until our guide broke out the good ones weighted with aluminum and let my husband play with those!
You have to get your dart on the target, or at least a dart’s length away from the target. Sounds easy enough, until you realize the target is smaller than the dart, and that the target is about 20m away. You get a point for hitting the board at all, then 2 points for the bulls eye. However, if someone hits the board after you, and is closer than you, they get your point!
On Sunday, when we were leaving Punakha and heading back to Paro, we happened alongside a game of darts on the road between two rival taxi companies. We got out, and watched them throw the dart at absolutely insane speeds, hitting the target twice, just in the ten minutes we were standing there. They have special dances they do when they hit the target, and of course (our guide said), were partaking in the usual shit talking that goes with sports.
So much fun. I am annoyed that we couldn’t bring some darts home to play with; seriously lawsuit happy America? Couldn’t you have just darts out of the equation?
Have you played a different sport when you were traveling? Did you enjoy it?
archery supplies says
Thank you for the very helpful article. 🙂 I have a question that’s sort of dumb, if anyone could help please ping me. What did archers do with their bows when not using them, especially while traveling? Just hold them in their hands? Or what there a holster of some sort? Thank you, it won’t make it into my book this time but I want to know for the next one.
Typically they had them over their shoulder or on a rack (handmade…simple) that sat on the ground. While I’m sure the national-level archers have fancy cases, the taxi drivers we saw playing just had their bows in their back seat or trunk, no case.