Bhutan = Everything in this country is RED!

Bhutan will be remembered as a country with a lot of red. This color brings up various memories and associations depending on the context. It can mean: Communism, love, passion, anger, violence, blood, Valentine, cheap lounge chairs in a fast food restaurant, and commercialism (most of the successful brand logos bear red). In Bhutan, red is Buddhism, originating from the robe of monks and nuns. The Bhutanese national flag shows off red as a deference to the Buddhist heritage.

The roofs are red, because that signifies the Buddhist heritage.

The roofs are red, because that signifies the Buddhist heritage.

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The rice is red.

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Even the green beans look red!

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The corn looks red.

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Beer is red.

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The butter tea I received looked red!

I am not going to sit around here and pretend like Bhutan is a rarefied quaint little exotic country. It has its shit. Bhutan has its fair share of trouble with census. Domestic violence is widespread. When asked if corruption exists in Bhutan, a Bhutanese man answered very politically:

“Bhutan is a free country and corruption is like stars. They are there during the daytime but no one takes any notice of it. You can only see the stars in the dark during the night-time.”

Nicely put! That said, Paro definitely makes you feel as if you are in some romanticized fictional kingdom in one of the Jataka tales, with the beloved King and Queen. This city has only 55,000 inhabitants. The farm houses look intricately designed with floral details and yet strike you as minimalistic and elegant. The soil is rich, with the stream flowing through the city, allowing people to grow red rice, potatoes and buckwheat. Wild flowers are everywhere!

I feel alive here.

 

Motto for Thingyan

Thingyan is coming right up in a week.

There are all these party stages in my neighborhood, and the permission to build one mandat costs between US$ 15,000 if you have connections to US$ 25,000 if you are anybody. This is Myanmar after all!

I have seen the state of water quality in Inya Lake. So you will not see me anywhere near those parties during Thingyan. Time to hide out somewhere.

Happy New Year!

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Blue Green Days

1. Do you ever think you know more intimate details about the five characters in HIMYM (been nine years!) than some people around you? Is that sad or is this a relief?

Overlooked blue dome, teak stairs and marble floors

Overlooked blue dome, teak stairs and marble floors

2. Bizarre coincidences and comic ironies within the past 12 months. Is it so Neanderthal of me to start wondering if the universe is trying to teach me something? If so, what’s your message, Universe?! Is there an app for it?

Art Nouveau tiles in a building my parents held their wedding reception dinner

Art Nouveau tiles in a building my parents held their wedding reception dinner

3. Got counted in Census this morning! First time since 1983. Census in Myanmar is going really, really great…Not.

Light switches in an abandoned building I may or may not have sneaked in

Light switches in an abandoned building I may or may not have sneaked in

4. Closure. How does one find closure when one loses a loved one to such bizarre event like MH370? That’s always my worst fear whenever I board Golden Myanmar after a mini argument with someone.

River Art Gallery II: Gill has wonderful taste in art

River Art Gallery II: Gill has wonderful taste in art

5. Life goal #45,023 = To send a telegraph from Yangon’s Telegraph Office??? Who wants a telegraph from Myanmar?!!!

Sentimental streaks for irrelevant technology

Irrelevant technology in an irrelevant office: What does “Telegraph Office” entail in 2014 really?