Yearning for Bhutan

For the past six months, memories of a small kingdom, high on the roof of the world, keeps slipping into my mind. Oh, Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, how my imagination is painting you in colors of the sun! One of the wonders of a selective memory is the rose colored tint on everything. This is not completely the case with Bhutan. There were things I loved about Bhutan and things that I found less delightful (my apologies to my Bhutanese friends although they are too polite to object). I imagine that Bhutan is a bit like Tibet of yore (or Hollywood’s Tibet). Despite it being the land of Gross National Happiness (the king tells you that you are happy so you will be), it’s not all happiness and light (okay, there is is a lot of light).

Stones at the entrance to the museum.
Stones at the entrance to the museum.

With April just around the corner,  when I think back to the gho-clad men, strong women, crisp air, and quiet spiritualism, my thoughts turn to the spring festival, or “tsechu,” in Paro. The tsechu is a multi-day religious festival and a dream for a photographer (and for those of us who like to take photos). More about the tsechu in a later blog post.

My framed Bhutanese boy's gho.
My framed Bhutanese boy’s gho.

I had so many things from Bhutan framed that my framer asked me if I was Bhutanese. No, but thanks for the compliment.

Widening Roads in Kathmandu

The road to progress is a half house?
Houses sliced in half line one of the streets of Kathmandu.

Nepal is the crossroads to Shangri-la — Tibet. Kathmandu apparently comes from the word for crossroads. They are widening the roads to Shangri-la. This has resulted in the buildings being cut down the middle. These buildings remind me of the Hans Christian Andersen story about a half-chick who could not find his place in the world until he became (spoiler alert) a weather vane perched atop a house. Perhaps these half houses are indicators of the same thing on the roof of the world.

Half houses huddled together along the road.
Half houses huddled together along the road.