Archive for tag: voyage

Spinning the prayer wheel.

5 April, 2011 (06:04) | Life | By: Olivier

Visited Wangduephodrang Dzong, near Timphu, where I saw antique prayer wheels from back when they were still made of leather and paper. Sadly it will soon be time to leave Bhutan. Of course, despite the heavy emphasis on Gross National Happiness, the country has some very real problems and it would be naive to ignore [...]

Trucks and dogs.

2 April, 2011 (17:03) | Life | By: Olivier

Two things Bhutan has in abundance: colorful trucks

…and dogs!

The worst nuisance is not necessarily the one you would expect… As the saying goes: “The dogs of Bhutan sleep all day and bark all night”!

At Wangdicholing palace.

1 April, 2011 (07:03) | Life | By: Olivier

In Bhumtang we were lucky to stay directly on the grounds of Wangdcholing palace, previously home of the royal family and now handed over to the monks. In the afternoon, we drank safflower tea and practiced traditional archery with the locals in the palace’s backyard. In the evening, we either sat near a bonefire to [...]

Gangtey Valley

31 March, 2011 (08:00) | Life | By: Olivier

Gangtey valley and its endless carpet of dwarf bamboo (Yushania microphilla): the favorite meal of yaks.
Gangtey is the favorite landing ground of the beloved black-necked cranes. Alas, by the time we arrived they had already all left for summer, but for one laggard. Even when the birds are not there, the valley stays home to [...]

Prayer flags for the dead.

30 March, 2011 (15:17) | Life | By: Olivier

Wandering in the mountains, one will often stumble on a small forest of white prayer flags planted in memory of a deceased relative. Just add milky mist to witness Bhutanese magic…

Trongsa Dzong

30 March, 2011 (13:03) | Life | By: Olivier

The mighty Trongsa Dzong – the political heart of the kingdom during many generations, and the longest dzong in Bhutan.
After reading “The hero with a thousand eyes“, it was easy to picture life inside this fortress back in the times before the Bhutanese fiscal reform, when taxes were still levied in nature. Back then, the [...]

Educating young monks.

29 March, 2011 (17:01) | Games, Life | By: Olivier

Today, I was supposed to teach English to young monks.

But we quickly found a much more interesting subject matter…

Our Doodle Jump champion for the day!

A couple of observations:
- I was struck by how easily the young monks shared the game. Doodle Jump is addictive and it is very tempting to try “just one more time”. [...]

Punakha Dzong

29 March, 2011 (03:36) | Life | By: Olivier

There is a Dzong in every region of Bhutan. Impressive white fortresses circled with a red khemar band just below the roof, they are the heart of the political and administrative systems, serving simultaneously as seat of local government and as temple. Dzongs are architectural marvels, built without any plans and using no nails, under [...]

Chimi Lhakang

28 March, 2011 (09:24) | Life | By: Olivier

Chimi Lhakang, Drukpa Kunley’s temple, is a renown pilgrimage site as it is widely believed that childless couples who pray there will then conceive children. Inside, a monk blesses you with an ivory and wood replicas of the saint’s lingam as well as his bow and arrow.
The temple is also home to little monks and [...]

Drukpa Kunley, the divine madman.

28 March, 2011 (07:51) | Hedonism, People | By: Olivier

A most surprising sight for a foreigner in Bhutan is that you will see penises everywhere.
Yes, you read that right. Turgid phalluses proudly painted or sculpted on houses and doors and even flying dicks hanging from the corner of roofs. No joke: it’s even worse than Second Life!

This is, in fact, to [...]