Saturday, November 29, 2014

People of Bhutan

Bhutan is a wonderful place to take photos of people. The Bhutanese are very friendly, and our guides said that if people don't speak English, just pantomime taking a photo, and they will almost always smile and nod to say "Of course!" Here are some of my favorite snaps of the Bhutanese people.

At a ceremonial gathering, this grandpa urged his granddaughter to look at the camera:

The ceremony involved giving out hot tea and cooked rice to anybody who wanted. But that's all you got--rice. No bowl, no utensils. That was just fine with folks:

The national costume for men is a kimono-like, knee-length jacket called a "Gho." Bhutanese men wear the Gho whenever they are at work; otherwise, they are free to wear Western clothes if they wish:

But they can wear whatever footgear they prefer:

When it's hot, men often slip off the sleeves of their Gho and let it flop over their tightly wrapped sash around their hips:

Boys also wear the Gho:

Or not:

The national sport in Bhutan is archery, which is enjoyed using both the traditional bows and the modern, composite bows:

In general, the Bhutanese keep their traditions alive but also embrace the new:

Some things are done the same way they've been done for hundreds of years. Like harvesting the rice crop with hand tools:

She's harvesting rice while wielding a mean-looking sickle and toting her water in a Coke bottle:

The Buddhist monks of Bhutan wear red robes. The monk at the left had a detail at his waist that caught my eye:

Here it is!:

The traditional dress for Bhutanese women is a short jacket and long, slim skirt. In the week and a half that I was there, I saw maybe one chubby Bhutanese woman; otherwise, every woman looks fantastic in the slim skirt.

These young ladies were bellhops in one hotel we visited:

About 2/3 to 3/4 of the population in Bhutan practices Buddhism; the rest are Hindu, pretty much. This is the face of a huge Buddha statue that looks out over the capitol city of Thimpu. We were told there is a $10 million diamond in the center of Buddha's forehead:

Monasteries, temples, stupas (dome-shaped shrines), and prayer wheels are everywhere. Some prayer wheels are driven by water; this one rotated on kid power:

Everywhere we went, older ladies and their wonderful wrinkles caught my eye:

Old people often carried their prayer beads with them in public. Younger people, our guide told us, don't have the time to use the beads during the day, so they tend to use them when they are at home, before or after work:

The Bhutanese are a smiley, friendly people who seem genuinely happy to have visitors in their beautiful country: 

I loved meeting them and traipsing around their lovely countryside.

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