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Lunch in Bhutan

Some readers may already be familiar with my obsession with Himalayan mountain kingdoms, per my earlier discussion of the "World's Biggest Book" at Suzzalo. Well, yesterday Cathy Ann Taylor of Sobek Mountain Travel came to speak about the Kingdom of Bhutan, and I almost skipped it. I'm glad I went.

The talk began as soon as I poked my head in the door. I was greeted with a Bhutanese hello and the gift of a silk abbot scarf around my neck. The scarf is printed with the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism: parasol, treasure vase, golden fish, conch, wheel of dharma, endless knot, banner, and white lotus.

The presentation itself was half anecdotes, half terrific photos of the land, especially "dzongs" (monasteries), river, and mountains (see them yourself in Sobek slideshow, on the left). About 97% of the Bhutanese population is subsistence farmers and nomadic herders. No one goes hungry but everyone's busy.

Cathy's talk was a guided tour to the Bhutanese culture, geography, and botany including:

  • the sacred mountains, forbidden to climbers since 1997, including the tallest unclimbed peak in the world
  • the "lost kingdom" of Sikkim, now part of India and no longer inhabited by the Lepcha, its original people
  • mountain forests in the tropics at altitudes up to 13,000+ feet
  • crops of millet, amaranthus, rice
  • the typical Himalayan blue poppies, which apparently also grow well in Seattle's climate…
  • yaks, glorious yaks: source of yak cheese, wool, slings
In all, a well-spent lunch. I may never visit Bhutan, but it seems like the last remnant of Shangri-La.

Comments

( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )
bdkellmer
Sep. 1st, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
I'm presuming that was on campus somewhere. Sigh - I would have loved to have gone.
the_monkey_king
Sep. 1st, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, I just lucked into hearing about it. Apparently they only told the climbing and hiking groups.
kistha
Sep. 1st, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
If you are interested in Tibet - you should really read that book I read - "Sky Burialvv - A love story of Tibet."
the_monkey_king
Sep. 1st, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
It's on my list! The library will provide.
gojutremere
Sep. 1st, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Random trivia: The aforementioned blue poppy is the flower which Ras' ah' Ghul tells Bruce Wayne to find in Batman Begins
( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )

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