Travel: Bhutan 2017

October 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

In short, this is a very interesting country to visit with their quirky way of life (personally to me). With a population of 770,000 living in the land size of 39,000km2, there is plenty of peace. Air quality is stunning, skies are clear, (bring sunscreen), food is good, beer is excellent, and culturally very interesting. If you are the sort who needs shopping to thrive/enjoy during your holiday, please stay away. If you however love adventure, the great outdoors and experiencing people who truly live for the moment, this is it. 

 

Mountains and valleys of Bhutan in 2017. Hills and more hillsMountains and valleys of Bhutan in 2017. Rolling hills everywhere.

Food

Well, I have never been one to take photos of the food I consume, I usually barge into the plate, and contemplate later. I must share about two dishes that is staple for Bhutanese. It is the Chili-Cheese & A-Zay (pronounced as A-ZAAAAY). I most probably got the spelling wrong here. These two dishes would not normally be served to foreigners, but after we requested for our guide to give us some chili, he told us about this two. Ever since that meal on the 1st or 2nd day, he would ask that every kitchen we visit, we are given a set of chili-cheese at least. It is really good. 

They fry an assortment of chilies (mainly jalepeno's), and add Yak Cheese and another type (sorry I can't recall). Stir it into rice, pasta, and voila! Super tasty snack! Add it to your vegetable dish or fried chicken, and voila! 

A-Zay is much spicier, which is my favourite. Its main ingredient is dried chili, and again cheese. Pounded together with onions and garlic, its a dry version of chili cheese. 

 

Scenery

Images would work better eh? 

Paro International Airport, BhutanParo International Airport, Paro City, BhutanThey only have one international airport at Bhutan, where only 11 pilots are technically proficient and certified to land. Dzong at PunakhaDzong at PunakhaBeautiful. Grand.

Another trip that I have gone full film, without the convenience of a digital camera (except for the iPhone). Lugging my Fuji GF670, Leica M2 with 3 lens and the simple Point and Shoot Olympus Mju II (3.5/35mm), I hope I caught the essence of the places I visited. Halfway through, the Olympus developed a fault where it failed to focus. It still took the shot, much to my horror as i ended up with 40% of images out of focussed. This is an absolute disaster. I would have to switch it off and turn it back on for it to resume normal operations. 

 

Portrait of TsherngTsherng, Vehicle Captain He drove the entire 9 days alone. The longest trip being 14hr. Without even napping. Man standing alone along the streets of Thimphu in the early morning at 730amThimphu CityA man standing below the building, which happens to have a portrait of their King. They love their king and queen. The city is calm, no crazy vehicle horn, revving of vehicles, cows and tractors blocking the traffic are non-existent, and everybody is well dressed and quiet. 

 

Kids having a wonderful time at a parkJoyThese two little girls were having a good laugh and were sharing a pack of chips in the afternoon sun at a nearby park. While in a simple playground in Paro City, I watched on as these two little girls shared a moment together in the shade, sharing their snacks. They didn't speak, but simply smiled and laughed their hearts out. It could have been a very simple gesture that they did for one another, or it could be their chance to share a snack after a long time. Or it could also be the fact that this was their most important thing to do all day - meet a friend. 

 

Staff cleaning the sifting tray in a local washi paper factoryWork HardStaff at a local 'washi factory'. This was to be my last image in the only roll of film that i had with me in the factory. I got out of the van too quick to think about bringing a spare roll of 35mm film. This was shot on the Legacy 100 film, way too slow an ISO for this indoor scene, hence the moving arm. Nonetheless, a very important image to remind me that we take many many things for granted. Paper being one of them. 

These are handmade papers, made by hand using pulp from the stem of a plant, and cured into sheets that are made into notebooks and envelopes. I bought set of notecards and envelopes as memories, but they are not cheap! 

Staff preparing the pulp for the washi paper. HandmadeStaff preparing the pulp for the washi paper. I had the right lens (Zeiss 25mm/2.8 for this, but little did I know that i only had a few more frames before I finished the whole roll. 

 

A lady hugging her baby as she walks pass a convenience store in Thimphu City, Bhutan. The colours of Bhutan are vibrant!Convenience store, Thimphu CityPeace & Colour I brought 3 cameras for this trip, and on hindsight I should have kept this to two extremely reliable cameras and avoided point and shoot cameras that i have not tried and tested for such occasions. 

To-be-continued....


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