T. Dorji is an powerful man with huge, sinewy calves and a rough black beard and broad shoulders. He moves his horses over the mountains by calling to them, persuading and commanding with a horse language that only they and he understand. He wears a faded gho and torn, green, old-style Chinese army sneakers, but he is a rich man in Bhutan, and lives in a big house just below Drukyl Dzong in Paro. I’ve sat in his temple room and had a meal. He has a big family and they all live in his house. He was part of our trek to Jumolhari a few years ago. Jumolhari is the ‘Mother Mountain,’ the most sacred in Bhutan at 7341 meters. On the way up to Jumolhari base camp we stopped at Shaba the second day. He and the cooks had gone ahead of us and set up the camp. He let his horses go to graze, and then he went out after dinner to round them up. They were tiny dots way up on the mountain by the time twilight came around. They'd wandered pretty far from the camp. I saw him set off into the mountains, and watched until he was a red speck high up in the mountains. When it got dark, we sat around the fire, and I wondered if he'd come back. We got in our tents when it started raining, and fell asleep listening to the storm. It rained all night and, eating breakfast in the kitchen tent the next morning, we saw him walking toward us in the steady drizzle, leading one of the horses, a big smile on his face. It didn't seem to bother him that he was wet to the bone. The other horses were tethered together and munching on oats, their faces covered by feedbags.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
here. Garuda in Buddhist mythology is a birdlike creature, able to move very fast, and make itself large or small or disappear altogether. It can change itself into a human, too. It can swoop down on an enemy and grab it like the snake it holds in its powerful teeth. It's a protector and an enemy of nagas, or earth spirits that usually come in the shape of snakes. It can also rip up whole trees with its claws and destroy villages by creating storms with its wings. The Buddhists believe there were four of them-- like the four direction kings. You can see Garudas in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Mongolia. The main thing is, all over Asia, Garudas are badasses and you shouldn't mess with them. This Garuda is a commission, but I think Namgay is painting another one because he's in that kind of mood.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In Bhutan, the world turns on a cup of tea. If you go for a meeting in an office, someone will bring you a cup of tea. If you go to pick up a friend, you must go inside the friend’s house and have a cup of tea before you set off to wherever you are going. You can count on frequent tea breaks wherever you are. If you’re tired, tea wakes you up, nervous: tea calms you down. If there is a crisis, the first things is to make some tea; it helps sort things out. Regular tea in Bhutan means tea with milk, or Everyday milk powder, and a little sugar. Naja is black tea—with sugar but no milk. We all need a little metaphorical tea in our lives. We need a way to slow down and commune. We need a little nurturing, especially before we tackle something big and ominous. It's a little cup of home. It's remarkable how just that one gesture can renew and revive. I suppose it doesn't have to be tea. But there's nothing like a nice cup of Darjeeling.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Midas Books has done an amazing job with the Korean version of MARRIED TO BHUTAN. Check out this trailer. I just got the book today in the mail and it has tons of pictures. Also the book is BEAUTIFUL! Bhutan is the most photogenic place on earth. I wish I could read Korean, because I think it makes a big difference reading if you can see a place. The trailer has some great images.
Also, the second video by Canada Kimchi is a little long but awesome photos and footage of Bhutan. And the energetic Canadian speaking Korean is a nice touch. He really gets around. He gives a nice tour of Punakha Dzong. At one point he admires the double cross phalluses over the door of someone's house that looks to be near Wangdue, and then he goes inside and at about 8:16 you can see him climb up into the family's temple room. Then he goes and eats with the family.