Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dochula Tsetchu

Last week there was a festival held at Dochula, one of the high road passes, and having just had my own gho made to fit me (traditional Bhutanese male dress) I thought I would go and don my new threads as well as see some traditional dances and beautiful textiles. The location was wonderful. Usually these festivals are held at temples or fortresses but this was held atop a grassy field overlooking the valley below and clouds above. Weather was cold but could not have been any more lovely.  I finally got to meet the queen (but not the king) and talked with her for a bit. Beautiful, intelligent and friendly... great combination for a queen. I saw some dances I hadn't seen before, masks I had never seen and had a very enjoyable time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Hike To Meet a Rinpoche...

My friend Mei was visiting Bhutan for almost two weeks and when here we got to do some nice hikes together. A devout Buddhist, seeing temples and meeting lamas and rinpoches was high on her list.  In Thimphu there is a young rinpoche who it is very difficult to meet with but she got an audience to talk briefly to him.  I went up for the hike as I don't get to go on many hikes here and hardly meet holy men. Not that I necessarily believe in them or what they have to say, but it's still nice to experience other cultures.  I also thought that if I was going to meet a holy man that I should dress in traditional garb, even if the dress I had borrowed was a bit small for me. The hike itself was very nice and the temples beautiful as always.  The rinpoche didn't speak english but he said some things to us (mostly to Mei as she was the reason we were there and I was just a hanger on.) and gave us something to chew on and a string around our neck.  Afterwards we left and walked back down. It's truly a shame that I don't get out much more as the nature here is truly breathtaking and the air is oh so very clean.

Karma... is repeating itself

Written on December 3rd

Last time when I was nearing my exit from Bhutan I noticed that my credit card was near expiring. I diligently worked to get a replacement card to me here before I left, and had numerous hurdles to jump though. Turns out getting anything to Bhutan is always a hassle. I was able to eventually just mail it to my company's BKK work office and pick it up when I landed from from someone in that office. 

Well… last night I was extremely tired when moving from lodge to lodge late at night and at some point my waller fell out. With that was 1 credit card, 1 debit card, my work ID and about $30usd in cash.  The money I view as a donation made to whomever finds it. $30 may not mean so much to an American but to your typical rice farmer here in Bhutan it means a lot more. So I'm happy to make someone's day a lot nicer.  I remember when I was a child and I'd find $5 on the ground, it was such a huge thing (heck I still get excited about finding quarters!) so I'm happy to return the favour to the world. But having to deal with getting a credit and debit card mailed here is such a pain in the butt. I'm hoping this time it's less of a hassle, as I only have about 12 days left and could really use my cards once I get to Thailand after this.

Here's hoping it all works out!

Update:  After numerous long phone calls with bank representatives I have finally worked something out to possibly have a card sent here or maybe just waiting for me at the airport. But in better karma news, the day after I lost my wallet I was given a very generous tip by some guests I did work with.  Money comes and money goes and in the end it always all works out. Svaha!!/स्वाहा (sanskrit for "so be it")

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Visiting Gangtey and the Black Neck Cranes

The black neck cranes are coming back from Tibet and I was fortunate to get to see some while in Gangtey recently.  Every year they make a migration from Bhutan to Tibet and then back. It never ceases to fail and they stay in these two magical countries.  

Besides cranes, it's now the seasons for yak's to be omnipresent in the valley. On the way out of town we saw a massive beautiful grey one and also caught a lovely few of Jomolohari, one of the highest peaks in the country.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bumthang Tsechu

A great benefit to being at festivals in Bhutan is to see people in their finest formal attire. Bright silk kira's and gho's are abundant. In these photos I try to capture some of the dancers as well as people dressed in their best.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bumthang Fire Dance

I was sent to Bumthang to help the spa staff during the busy few days of the Bumthan Tsetchu (festival). The lodge usually has 1-4 rooms of occupancy as it's a bit remote but these days it was completely full.  The benefit of being out there during this time was that I got to see the festival as well, at least most of it.  The festival begins with a fire burning festival that was quite impressive.  Hanging fiery trees or shrubs are hung around a gate like object while people run through to, I'm guessing, cleanse sins.  I ran through, and was afraid of catching on fire as I was dressed in numerous layers of clothes to ward of the near freezing cold. brrrr….