Saturday, June 26, 2010

Last Weekend in Thimpu

We ended our time in Thimpu with a hike to Cheri Temple. We didn't get permits, but we lucked out and met the majesty's assistant again and a nice monk, so we got in to three of the temples. Monsoon season has started and now we have water pouring into our guesthouse. But we are flying out on Monday, pray for good weather! We will spend tomorrow in Paro then have 13 hour lay over in India, not looking foward to that. Bye Bhutan, it was great!

Last Day of Clinic

This was our housekeeper's baby. So cute, I watched her while her mom worked. I think they are Nepalise or Southern Bhutanese because of the darker skin.

Dad and Dr. Sonam in the ortho ward. It was a good experience to work at the hospital. Dad got to teach the doctors about nerve repairs and rotator cuff tears as well as teach the ortho-tech students. I learned how to assist and suture in the OT. I also spent time in the NICU teaching and helping to initiate protocols. Medicine here is very different than the US, but it was interesting to see things such TB of the spine and osteomyelitis.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Cool

Dad and I received gifts from the Queen mother of Bhutan! How cool is that? She was one of Dad's patients and she gave us each a wool textile and 2 books on Bhutan that she wrote.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Masked Dances

Here they are purifying the grounds.

This is a reincarnated Lama who danced, which is a rare occurrence. Maybe we get triple merits for seeing this!

Bumthang Festival

Yes that is what you think that guy is holding in his right hand. This is the festival jester. The 2 clowns or jesters go around the festival with phalluses or penises and joke around with the crowd and dancers. It isn't that out of place though because the Bhutanese hang phallic figures from the roof of their houses or paint it on the walls more as a symbol for protection than sexuality.

The women dancers.

The jester trying to thrust his wooden penis at me. Quite a unique experience

Women dancers dressed in the Kira and Tego.

Festival in Bumthang at the temple.

The cutest little kid dressed in his gho at the festival.

This temple is very holy. I can't remember all the background, but the holiest water in Bhutan is found here. Here I am coming out of a rock tunnel cleansed of all my sins. You enter one side and if you come out the other you are cleared of all your sins. If you get stuck in between then there is some demon in you.

Dad getting cleansed of his sins. Karma is big here and so is earning merits. You hope that you get enough merits to get yourself to heaven. You get merits for doing things such as walking around the chortens, turning prayer wheels, and watching festivals. You get double merits if you do these on an auspicious day, but you also get double sin if you sin on an auspicious day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Long Weekend Out

The Punakha Dzong. We took a 5 day trip over to Trongsa, Bumthang for the festival or sechu (all Bhutanese spelling might be wrong), then back over to Punakha. The roads are nuts. They are single lane rough and rugged cut into steep mountains so there is a drop off cliff with no guard rail to break your fall if you happen to over correct (and sadly we did see this, all 4 passengers died). Thankful we had a great driver and I'm still alive but I couldn't eat for 4 days because I started the trip already nauseous with a stomach thing and the roads kept it going for me, but it was good to see more of Bhutan. I will get some festival pictures up later, but dad can tell you about it because he got more of the story than I did.

Punakha Valley. A view from the roof of a chorten. We got to have juice in the Lama's house because our driver's brother was the Lama of this Chorten.

I love this. The men and women carry their kids on their backs like this with a Kopne. Sonam's sister weaved me one and it is beautiful. I watched women weaving garments thread-by-thread and there is no way I would have the patience for that.

The fertility temple in Punakha "Chimi Lhakma." It was an auspicious day (The reincarnated Buddha's birthday) so many people were making the walk through rice patties to give and get blessings. Sonam said that I needed to go, so I got blessed by the monk and asked that someday I will have healthy and happy kids. I rolled three dice and lucky me I rolled an auspicious number which is very good. Then the monk had me draw a card from a stack and I guess my first child will be a girl who I should name Chimi Durma. Chimi is the name of the temple meaning "no dog" and Durma is for Terra- the mother of all buddhas or deities and the goddess of wealth.

I can't remember what this temple is called, but I think it is in Phobjikha- valley of the black necked cranes. All the temples start to run together but I am beginning to get the essentials or basics in Buddhist rituals and stories of all the reincarnated Lama's and Buddha's and what demon was subdued where. They teach all these stories in school, but they get complicated.