Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dance, dance, dance...

Dancing is a frequently found hobby in Bhutan. The twenty dzongkhags all have a similar style, but there are a few different movements that emphasize the culture. Dancing these days is now done mostly by girls, but boys also have a unique way of Bhutanese dancing.
I, for instance, love dancing with my Bhutanese friends Chimi and Gyem, both naturals. "Cheerleaders" dance at archery matches, and have a special short dance when they get a good hit.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Follower of the Gautama

Have you heard of the Buddha (also called the Gautama), Guru Rinpoche, or Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel? All these three auspicious characters in the Bhutanese history have: either killed all the demons in Bhutan, or saved Bhutan from the armies of other countries, or did auspicious deeds for many famous kings, or... Well, I guess you got the idea. Monks in Bhutan follow either of these leaders. Monks in Bhutan follow Buddhism, the teaching of Zhabdrung, Buddha and Guru.
Anyway, don't be too surprised to see a monk with his mobile phone clasped to his ear, or a monk enjoying a leisurely ride in a car (or even driving one!). Monks now don't have the serious sense of religion that I think monks back then had.
Bhutanese citizens can be very touchy about their religion, so a bit of teasing or a hot debate about religion may be enough for you to end up without any friends... or get thrown into jail.

Our gang of dogs

I used to have 4 dogs (and ten puppies), all stray dogs, and now 3 of them (and 1 puppy) happily lick me whenever they get the chance to. "But what about the fourth one?" is the expected question. Well, the cutest of my dogs passed away. R.I.P. And that doesn’t mean ripped in pieces. Just.. died. Because of some kind of virus or bacteria, I guess. But another reason that could perhaps be the cause is that someone deliberately poisoned the food. That dog’s name was Puppy, and he was the biggest of my dogs. An auburn coloured one is called Sushi, a frizzly cute golden young adult called Toto (but she’s actually a girl, as we figured out!), and a golden calm mother called Pinky. I’ve already told you that we also had 10 puppies to care for. Pinky and Toto were to blame. Pinky had a litter of six and Toto gave birth to four. Five were happily given away, one disappeared, two were unpurposely taken, and finally we were only left with one puppy, by the name of White Paws. Now we have a total of 4 dogs.
I forgot to tell you that Pinky is a very extraordinary dog.

  1. She can climb a ladder. We think she must be a circus dog!
  2. She bites all her puppies and Toto especially (Toto is also her daughter)
  3. Extraordinarily, she's not forgiving and loving like dogs are supposed to be.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stray dogs in Bhutan

The population of dogs in Bhutan might be bigger than the human population. Everywhere you look, if you notice, your eyes are met by a scraggly-looking dog or even a gang of them staring at you maliciously. You might suppose incorrectly that the stray dogs are dangerous and bite often. That’s not true. They are usually frightened of humans and any sharp movement may cause them to be nervous and likelier to attack.
These gangs keep up people all night with their barking, howling, whining or what not. So bring your earplugs if you want to get a good night's sleep.
And, when you see all these pet dogs, don't suppose that there's a pet shop around. People sometimes tame stray dogs. So if you feel that you like one especially, don't hesitate. Unless, of course, it doesn't even let you get near.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Let's play chunki!

“What is chunki?” you might ask. Well, chunki is a small plaything made of a collection of rubbers tied together. The rubbers are usually black and a new chunki can give you black stains on your hands. It is played by hitting it against the side of your foot, and as it flies down again, to hit it again. All this might seem very confusing, but the thing is to get the knack of it! Chunki is played by almost all the children in Thimphu, and they love it. But don’t get the wrong idea - I’ve seen lots of adults enjoying it too! So mind you catch the hang of it, and hopefully you’ll hang on to it. The biggest amount of times you hit it in a row are popularly called your chunki maximum, and your normal hits are called your chunki average.