Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
greetings from thimphu!
I wish I had been able to let you know about each day, but since that was not possible, and because today was pretty spectacular I will tell you about today.
The main monk body with the main monk ( who does have a Bhutanese moniker but I cannot spell it )returned to Thimphu, the capital, today from their winter Dzong in much more temperate Punaka. The head monk shares equal power with the king and in respect is like the pope.
The crowds started lining the street as early as 9 am although the processional was not due until around noon. Everyone was dress in their most formal, most colorful attire and lined the street for miles and miles.
When the processional arrived - they had been traveling for two days and stopping to bestow blessings in all of the villages along the way - it turned out to be 2 colorful pick ups with gold relic houses ( dont know what else to call them) festooned with lots and lots of flags and holy scarves. Dignitaries in jeeps and the buses with monks followed.
The head monk, as it turns out, was not feeling well but it really didnt matter. There were onther important monks with places holy water on every single person lined up. The scarves were also placed on the head of all. It took a couple of hours to go just a few blocks.
This all ended with a ceremony by a special sort of brilliantly colored tent. This part, we ordinary people could only see over a wall but as soon as that ended, all of the monks ( many!) processed up the hill to the dzong in a long, orderly line.
Do wish I could attach some pictures here but feel lucky to be able to do this.
Now others are waiting for the computer so I must sign off and hope there is another time before I leave next Wednesday that I can write again.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Hello from Paro, Bhutan....
(We had a very brief scheduled stop at Kolkata. Can you figure out what that is. Took us a bit, I have to admit!)
The trip was fine and the landing even finer after the captain cautioned us with these words: do not be alarmed when you see mountains closer than you ever have. It is our routine landing.
After a sort of spiral through very high mountains suddenly we were right above the airport and just as suddenly on the ground. and in a magic land. The words seem so trite so I hope pictures can follow to give you a better idea.
We were greeted by our guide, Sangay, and our driver ( whose name I failed to get) and then driven the 5 miles( 20 mins ) to Amankora - the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen.
Along the way we were given various bits of information about Paro...the airport was built in 1983, the town in 1985....most of the other details are now lost in a fog of a strange sort of jet lag that refuses actual sleep ( so I am blogging!).
What did stick is that we are addressed here as Om Anne and Om Mary which is Mother Anne and Mother Mary. In conversation that quickly becomes just Om.."yes Om" etc.
Does sound a bit like our good old ummm!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Hello from Bangkok
Leaving tomorrow morning around 3 for the airport and the search for Druk Air. As it operates only a few days a week, as my instructions are : go to straight to KB gate (?)I am not sure how that will go.
For now, all I have to report is that I am here and without a tad of jetlag - a strange benefit of flying in the dark for a day.
I am not sure about what will come next blogwise...access or not...picture posting or not but will do my best to take you along on this amazing journey.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
PLEASE STAY TUNED!
Bhutan is the only fully Buddhist counry. The impact of being in a country that lives according the the Buddhas words could well be significant.
I will be a guest of Dr. Pema Thinley, the Minister of Education. I will be there to work on a photo project that will become a picture book for children about Gross National Happiness, that country's particular and unique governmental priority. A huge subject to be sure and, in a country that is sovisually vivid, my work of finding the small, telling focus will be challenging.
I am expecting this trip to be one of absorbing everything. I may well have to go back to work on the focused pov. Somehow I rather doubt going back woulld be much of a penance!
Anyway, off on a very big adventure that could well be punctuated with internet access. If it is, I will do my best to write in the blog and, if I can figure out how to post a picture on a hotel or cafe computer I will do that.
After Bhutan, I will be going to Japan to greet a baby granddaughter. Bound to be pics there! Check joliejam.
So, please, stay tuned. I will love thinking of you being vicariously on this adventure.
ps as I was writing I just got a call from a friend telling me to watch NBC. Apparantly the today show is in Bhutan. Right time, right place!