Yes it is quite wonderful here,
I only arrived in Bhutan, Thimpu, 3 days ago...many many new impressions...and yet all is familiar
Tho has been appointed GNH program coordinator here in Bhutan and in
our already very rich and complex life we are trying to find a new harmony and balance.
I join Tho here a few weeks before going to Vietnam for my work for Eurasia,
Here is "my side of the story" for those of you who would like to hear how things
Tho has already his very interesting blog...so I'll just add some of my impressions or anecdotes also to keep myself a track of the events and so that I do not "drown" you with my personal e mails...
Arriving in Bhutan is impressive..the
altitude, the tranquility...the search for a sustainable modernity...
After a first day meeting Tho's new colleagues and friends, joining a meeting and getting a brief on the advancement of the project, we joined a pilgrimage together as a team: DR
Samdou, Julie, Tandin, Sherub Tho and me,
Here my account:
The pilgrimage/hike yesterday was great...a bit "much" for me, on my only second day in Bhutan...it went up to 3050M!
It was a very nice walk but rather steep, and
as we walked as a Sangha, I had to stay in the flow of the group...and at some moments I felt the altitude and effort!
We were welcomed up at the monastery by lamas in red robes with trompets and cymbals....just like in Tintin in Tibet,(my two
grandson's Ilya and Alexis know this story well!)....and yes the Yeti has been seen in Bhutan!
More on the pilgrimage on Tho's blog: havinhtho.blogspot.com
Nature looks very lush! many birds, butterflies, flowers...wonderful big trees,
even up at 3050m
Every walk here is right away steep as we start from 2400m in Thimpu which is in a narrow valley and all the hills and monasteries around are easily at 3000m or more,
Luckily , on our pilgrimage yesterday, I put
on my Kira (traditional dress) only once up there...I would have fainted otherwise...the belt is tied sooo tight!!!! I avoided all prostrations during the ceremony....At 3050m, still adjusting to the altitude, with a very tight belt it would have been dangerous!
The dresscode in Bhutan is very precice and complex, which scalf to wear how and when.....at what occasion
I am not sure I think Kira is comfortable...but may be one has to get used to it. It is actually just a big handwoven cloth tied around
the waist held by a big belt with a rather "stiff" west.
It is required for bhutanese on all official occasions to wear Kira or Go (traditional dress for men),
Foreigners are free to wear suit and tye, or elegant dress for ladies on official occasions
: official occasion means going to an office for instance, or any formal meeting, any fomal invitation, outing or monastery (like yesterday)
Tho needs help from his colleagues to put on the GO...it is also very complex, but I agree it does fit
him ! Everyone says he looks like the bhutanese foreign minister or they just say he looks stunningly (handsome) bhutanese!
Yes Tho looks totally native in GO....Me I guess I stick out with my hair and all...
My first impression
is that people here seem very elegant and "at ease". One can see that Bhutan NEVER has been colonized and that it is a kingdom, so there is a natural "pride"(in the good sens) to be bhutanese.
Today we take it easy as tomorow Tho starts his work
again and on friday we all go fo a few days to Bumthang to visit the site of th GNH center and "our" future home there.
Today is a big holliday . Buddha's first sermon. We should have gone to a ceremony, but I needed to sleep longer. I feel I
need some rest, I am still adjusting to the height, all the new impressions and the jetlag. Also my time before leaving was quite stressful...and, there is a lot to take in for me!
Go 's and Kira's can be VERY expensive! Really nice
Kira's can be up to 1000$! Mine costs about 200$ with west and blouse and all(you can find cheaper one's) I had a west made which is not ready yet so I borrowed one from Tandin's mum yesterday. Tho's Go cost only about 30$ so this price is quite ok.
Any of you who come for a visit I suggest you to buy a GO or Kira once you are here as being with Tho you certainly will be invited to some official event!
Tho starts to be part of bhutanese "society". Many people know him or know of him.
They all seem very happy that Tho is "carrying" the GNH project. Many people say it is KARMA...and it does feel like that...
He seems very happy here,
They also do love that he has "royal" family background..in a monarchy these things mean
something...(as an austrian I can imagine how it feels...here they all like titles etc)
By the way he is called by everyone: Dr Tho...sounds a bit like Dr No
And of course his openess to the very intricate bhutanese..spiritual/buddhist
mindset, is very appreciated.
The weather is fine. It is monsoon, but really compared with Hue it rains very little, yesterday hardly at all, but of course it is overcast and cloudy
Looking out of our window I could be in St luc...allmost
Tho's flat is very quiet an comfortable, there is a small stream near by...so I always think it is raining...but actually it is only the sound of running water, which is soothing
I wonder how our home will be in Bhumthang? I guess more rustic?
I send you all my love and I think of you