Memorial Chorten

I took a photo of a temple in Bhutan. These two men sat in those spots for about 30 seconds and then got up and left. I was only able to snap two shots and am happy with the one above. Goes to show you how much being at the right place at the right time makes an impact on photography.

Archery: Bhutan's Equivalent of Golf

When you think of a popular sport where the participants are mostly affluent men, you generally think of golf — at least in the U.S. However, in Bhutan, the most popular participatory sport is archery. That’s not to say that some Bhutanese don’t enjoy golf, but I was told (although, I haven’t fact checked this) that there’s only one golf course in Bhutan.

One of the highlights of my day today was attending an archery match and chatting with the competitors. The way archery is played in Bhutan is quite interesting. Targets are set up 150 meters apart. Members from both teams stand on each side and when one side is shooting, the other side hides behind large green barricades with many arrow scars, until the arrow hits the target. When someone hits the target, all of the team members from that side’s team sing and dance exuberantly in front of the target to celebrate. Every time someone hits a target, they receive a colored flag (depending on the team’s colors, usually red or yellow) that is placed around the waist and hangs down like a skirt.

The game is played to different point systems in different parts of […read more…]

Bhutan

This is a map of Bhutan from Wiki Commons.

Bhutan is a tiny country, about the size of Switzerland, nestled in the Himalayas beneath China (Tibet), surrounded by India on three sides.

All international flights arrive in Paro, which is located in the western part of the country. Two planes fly there once a day. I felt quite comfortable with the pilots as they maneuvered their way through the Himalayas to a small landing strip. As the pilots weaved through, it felt like the scene from Independence Day, where the plane is weaving through the Grand Canyon, just barely making the clearing. Despite all of that, I still felt safe, since the pilots have to be very well trained, which in fact makes them highly sought after.

I am extremely happy to be here. This country has a motto, “low volume, high value tourism,” so its largely unexplored. As a consequence it is not an inexpensive trip; however, it is a more enjoyable and authentic experience compared to countries with no such restrictions, where you are inevitably surrounded by opium smoking backpackers.

Bhutan was made somewhat famous recently when the 4th King pushed for “gross national happiness,” as opposed […read more…]

What to Pack!

Ah, the time has come upon me to pack. I’m generally a last minute packer, although I always tell myself that I’ll do it a few days before the trip. I’ve been asked over and over what it is I pack and how I prepare myself when I go out of the country, so I’ve decided to write a post about it.

Ok–I should first tell you that I normally don’t pack a lot. It also helps that I’m going with my husband, so we can sort of split stuff up, like heavy camera equipment. At all costs, I avoid anything more than carryon bags. I have not had a bag lost/stolen yet (knock on wood) and attempt to avoid that by only taking what I can carry on. The way I look at it is that if I really need another item of clothing, I can always buy something. In most developing nations, it won’t cost me a lot of money to buy a tshirt or other toiletry product. I have to admit that I do always make sure to bring the proper amount of medication or feminine products, as those are not things I want to mess around […read more…]