Yellow Jacketed Horseman
I love how this photo captures the convergence and influence of western style with traditional ways in Bhutan. Tenzing prized his beautiful yellow leather jacket. Even though we were on a remote trek and the temperatures got down to as low as -10C/20F this was the warmest item of clothing he brought with him and he wore it all the time.
On our way to a high altitude pass (16,500') we were surprised by the strains of dance music as we were passed by this styling young Bhutanese horseman. With gelled up hair and great aviator sun glasses, he was grooving and dancing to the music player in his hand.
This is a proud elderly farmer working while dressed in the traditional Bhutanese male attire, the gho. His farm was at least 25 km from the nearest road. His plot of land was very rocky and appeared very difficult to farm. He was quite elderly but looked extremely fit and healthy. A very physically demanding life.
My wife and I were on a day hike from the Jomolhari base camp when we came upon a primitive yak herders' tent and nervously watched from a distance as they castrated a yak. We carried on our hike and on our return by their camp they waved us over and invited us in for butter tea. They were extremely gracious hosts and we felt like we were taken back into time, that is until they pulled out their cell phones. Another example of new technology and old ways colliding.
Festival Eyes 2
A second photo from the Bumthang festival. This young boy was so excited and curious about everything that he seemed to be vibrating at times.
Brother and Sister
I love the look of contentment on the young girl. Children are so visible and active in Bhutan. They are holding school supplies that my friend Sally had handed out.
Black Necked Crane Celebration
In camp, our trekking guides and horsemen would play informal games for hours. In this photo they are playing a game similar to Bocce or lawn darts, but using rocks. The man on the left is doing a celebration dance often used by archers (archery is the national sport) that simulates the mating dance of the Black-Necked Cranes. Bhutanese men are thought by many to be some of the most handsome in the world.
We went to a traditional Tshechu religious festival in the village of Bumthang - a gathering that goes for several days. The highlight was seeing the families all dressed up and the excitement and curiosity in the eyes of children.
The last two kings of Bhutan have made education a priority and essentially all children now go to school. This girl lived in a village at least 35 kms from road access. My understanding is that some children will walk several hours to and from school each day. I found it intriguing to imagine how day to day life is when you live this remotely.
We came across this very outgoing young girl who immediately asked if we were going to "her village" and offered advice and information as if it was really HER village. I gave her a Canada pin and it was received as if it was a valuable treasure.
Girl in Jean Jacket
I like this young girl's fashion statement with her western jean jacket and bright red shoes - it totally reminds me of my daughter at that age.
This market lady in Paro was selling a rock hard cheese made with Yak Milk that you suck on that is popular with the locals but we never developed a taste for it.