Thimphu, Bhutan Downtown Thimphu THE traffic cop Kitchen goods store in Thimphu  As you can see, modern appliences are readily available in Myanmar.  Walmart is planning stores there. Electronics shop
Thimphu shops  The blue signs with white lettering meet government standards, though some shops have broken out of that mold. More modern signage Fashion shop Fabric shop  Most of the fabric comes from India.  The fabric in front of the counter is destined for the traditional men's clothing, the gho.  The men in the image are wearing these.  The cloth behind the counter will be made into keras, the ankle length dresses worn by women. Phallus shop  The phallus is said to ward off evil spirits.
Bhutan countryside Rice paddies  In March, the paddies lie fallow. A mountain (name forgotten)  The "real mountains" are the ones which are snow-covered all year.  The Bhutanese feel that if one had to remember all the others, there would be too many. Temple detail Man turning prayer wheel at temple
Student monks at a dzong  Dzongs are fortified monasteries.  Here, the seated monks are defending Buddha'a teachings.  The standing ones are trying to refute them.  It's similar to the Jewish pilpul. Mural in a dzong Spirit catcher  Note the bidirectional phallus cross-piece. Monk along the road  Our guide, a former monk, knew this man and we stopped to greet him. Paro market
Whisks and brooms Chilli pepper  The basic spice of Bhutanese cooking. Goenpo's family  Goenpo, left, our guide, his mother, and his sister. Archer  Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Compound bow  The bows used by most Bhutanese archers come from Ohio and frequently cost more than $1,000.
Archery target  From over a hundred yards away, the target itself looks like a small spot. Carving student at craft school Finished example Sewing student  For beginners, the exercise is just following the line.  The sewing machine has no thread nor needle. Mask being finished
Masks drying Students in the crafts school Weaver  Note the strap around his butt - that's the tensioner for the warp. Weaving detail  The main warp threads are passed with a shuttle, but the intricate patterns are hand woven. Metal worker
Silver worker making a bowl Chasing a silver bowl Preparing the bark for paper  The next images are at a paper factory where paper is hand made from the inner bark of the Daphne. Separating the fibers Mashing the fibers
Picking up a page  The bath is a slurry of paper fibers.  The worker dips in a frame with a screen of bamboo fibers to form a new sheet of paper. New sheet Putting a sheet on a pile Pressing the water out of a pile of sheets Putting sheets on hot plates to dry
Door detail Old ladies praying  The one on the right is the photographer's wife. Entrance to the Takin preserve  The Takin is the national animal, an endangered species with its own genus. Takins in the preserve Mr. Takin
Shrines along the road Typical Indian ornamented truck Truck detail Festival at the Punakha dzong Singers and clowns
Masked monk Another Musicians blowing long horns Bang! Farm house
Stable  This had originally been the house.  When the larger one was built, this was given to the farm animals. Winnowing rice Splitting wood Drying herbal tea and distilling rice wine Farm wife
Farmer Preparing tree seeds for pressing  The seeds are gathered from a local tree, cooked, ground, and pressed to get cooking oil. Cooking the seeds Pressing the seeds Woman washing clothes
Kitten meets child Loading a horse with a sack of cow dung Dogs playing Paro dzong Dzong entrance
Dzong detail Mural Poetry pattern  Starting anywhere and taking the next few squared up, down, or sideways yields a poem. Inside dzong Monks dining
Guardian Prayer flags Farmer making adobe bricks  Many buildings in the countryside are made either of adobe bricks or packed dirt. The making of a new farm house  Here, the walls are packed dirt, carried up by the man on the ladder and pounded into place by the women atop the wall. Adding formwork
Securing the forms Completed forms Making the crown of the house Keyed join The main door  The main door is the first part of the house to be erected.  It is placed on an auspicious day chosen by an astrologer.
Door blessing  After the door is placed, it is blessed by Buddhist monks who leave a bag of spices as a blessing. Lumber for the house Attic of an old farm house The farm house's general purpose room The farm house's shrine room
The family's photos Paro dzong on the first festival day Detail of festival Fesitval musicians Dancers
Clowns wrestling  The clown in stripes is deemed an intruder.  The others try to drive him out.  Eventually, they make peace with each other, a story about tolerance. The Hunter  The central character in an old tale being reinacted at the Paro Buddhist festival, the wicked hunter is cajoled into repentance by clowns.  The actors in these morality plays are monks. Clown at Paro festival  The clowns are not only background levity at the festival, but prompters for the dancers lest they forget their parts.  The role is similar to the Shakespearian jester.  Lay people take these roles.