Tag Archives: Gho

Chili on the willy

The Director General (DG) of the organization has got a promotion, well done DG! He and the misses are packing their bags off to greener pastures.  To send him on his way he kindly had an event to celebrate the occasion.

I was left behind at the office.

Little old me was not extended an invite.  On their realization that I was on my lonesome, a driver was dispatch to collect from the office.  We stopped on-route to pick up a scarf from a clothes store.  I was given a crash course on how to present this white silk scarf embroidered with eight auspicious lucky signs.  I arrived and was greeted by the DG on the lawn where tents had been erected for the occasion.  He is wearing a pure silk, brightly hand embroidered, gho with leather knee high embroidered boots, a sword attached to his belt ran from his hip to his shin.  The sword was presented to him, similar to a knighthood, by the king.  He escorts me into his home, leads me down a long corridor to a room at the far end.  I enter this small room, with traditional bright Bhutanese hangings adorning the walls.  The patchwork of yellow, red, blue, green and white are found throughout many building.  Butter lamps (gold chalices) line, three or four deep, in neat rows along two tables against the walls, burn off the oil placed within with an aromatic smell.  I have entered the prayer room.  I have the silk scarf in the left hand, neatly folded in a particular manner along one seam.  The DG turns to face me, I stand before him and gently toss the scarf across my right forearm while keeping hold of the other end with my left hand and in Dzongkha (the native dialect) I congratulate him, I bow low and extend my arms to offer him the scarf.

I have taken part in my first official celebration.

I return to the party outside were we drink, snack and chat.  Food is a buffet and chillies once again are the order of the day.  There is a red and green chilli salad, I kid you not…all chilli with a dressing.  Then there is also pork and chillies, I swear I had to search for a few morsels of pork underneath a mountain of chilli.  I was warned off the natural yoghurt as it is an acquired taste, something I should try another time.  I return with my pork marinated in chilli and the Bhutanese red rice and yes that’s because of its colour, quite nice actually.  Some of the traditional dancers and singers entertain us as we relax (check out the vid http://youtu.be/WomBWkAIR3U).

I have also moved into a noice apartment in, what I’m sure, is the Beverly Hills of Thimphu, also pictured and much nicer than the previous apartment.  Gone are my days of Bhutan clubbing!  I did find myself drinking straight whiskey in “Tiger Bar” last Friday and signing “With or Without You” on the Karaoke machine.  Bhutan LOVES karaoke, it’s a pity about my singing.  I just got the internet connected at home last night and so I get to update you all.  I did spend all last weekend scrubbing the place and I’ve thoroughly disinfected it and am ready for visitors.  It’s all going well and next week I plan to visit the neighboring town of Paro in the east for their festival or Tsechu.

As promised, check me out in my gho!

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Its all Go, I mean gho

Over the weekend I walked up the Tashichho Dzong or “The Fortress of the Glorious Religion” nestled neatly in a valley beside the crystal clear water of the Wang Chhu River, it serves as both the government’s administration centre, in south of the rectangular building, and a monastic centre in the northern section.  This outer building surrounds a courtyard in which you find a central building and the king’s office.  It’s a majestic building and open to tourists at the weekend.  This central building is probably six to seven stories high while the surrounding buildings are three to five stories high.  It was all build in the 17th century and as still is the tradition, no plans were made and no nails or metal of any kind is used in its construction.  The chief engineer knew how he wanted it designed, in his head and that was enough.  Its solid stone walls are capped with ornate wooden structures and roofs.  The highest points, at the four corners of the structure and the central king’s office, are capped with gold and red roofs.  Entering the main courtyard you cannot be but impressed by the imposing structure and is white washed walls.  These craftsmen are to be admired.

While I was in the Dzong I entered the main temple were around thirty young red robed, shaven head monks, some as young as 11 I’d imagine, were chanting and praying.  Five drums and two 3 meter long horns kept the chanting in time while incense burned in front of a 6 meter high Buddha.  The sound and smell was hypnotic.

These monks, who are in training, are part of the group that remained in Thimphu for the winter.  As we make our way into spring the local guys find it hard and each morning a member of staff usually has to dress me again to the laughs of my co-workers in the middle of the office.  I wear knee length socks and have large white cuffs.  Sounds interesting eh!  Photo’s to follow next week.

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