Sunday, July 17, 2011

Coffee is available but probably only because the foreigners demand it. Tea is the preferred beverage, cost likely being a major factor. I've found one cafe which makes a reputable latte and has a good selection of Western food. It is well known to the tourists and ex-pats who frequent the place, making it something other than an authentic Bhutanese experience. None the less, the wireless service is good and it provides an opportunity to relax and write something in a blog for those interested. This jacaranda tree is one of many surrounding the Punakha Dzong is is one of the brightest colored ones I have ever come across. It was almost luminescent in the sunlight. There are also others of various colors but they were not in full bloom this time of year. Apparently in the Spring, the show is quite spectacular.

OK. Here's something to raise some eyebrows. Maybe not strictly orthopaedic, nor even medical, but bound to capture the attention of the Western mind. Bhutan, being a very religious nation, has a long and colorful history, filled with stories, myths and the supernatural. Many religious figures are immortalized in paintings, writings, stories, sculptures and carvings, being considered important by having advanced the Buddhist faith and maybe more significantly, by subduing harmful, evil or destructive demons. For reasons unclear to me, the phallus has become a symbol considered capable of protecting oneself, one's home and family from harmful spirits. Carved specimens are readily available in any handicrafts store and paintings such as the one here are not uncommonly seen decorating the front entrance of stores and homes. There you have it.

I went for a short hike up to the only rock climbing area developed in Bhutan. There are several bolted routes put up but it doesn't look too frequently used based on the amount of moss remaining on the rock surfaces. On the way back I stopped to take a photograph of a child sitting by the roadside.

This was in a neighborhood of extreme poverty, the homes no more than shacks with mud walls and scrap metal roofs. Surprising was how immaculately clean they were.

Before I knew it, I was surrounded by more than a dozen children, screaming with excitement demanding that more and more pictures be taken of them.

They marveled with amusement over the LCD images of them. Unfortunately it was getting dark so I promised them I would return during daylight for another session.

1 comment:

toby said...

Josh, love reading your blog and hearing about your adventures.