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Thimphu, Bhutan

Febuary 28th, 2003

Traditional Bhutanese Archery

Archery was a highlight on the trip. Everyone tried it.

The arrow is made of bamboo, the tip is of iron.

The feathers are from birds of high altitiude, usually soft but long lasting.

It is 150 meters to the target. The target is 12 inches wide. Hitting a Bullseye is worth 3 points. It should be worth a million cuz that's the likely chance you'll hit it.

Hitting the target board, anywhere, is worth two points. Landing within the length of an arrow from the target is worth one point. Winning points are subtracted from the other side's score. First to 25 wins.

You might guess that this is a drinking sport.




HRH and Mele


Don't forget how faraway the target is. It is that white speck way way way down there at the end of the field.

Two Points

HRH picked teams and in the first round Harry Waalkens hit the board!

We are all certain it was an incredible fluke.

Not one shot by anyone else even came close, unless you consider 20 feet away in the ballpark.

Team Photo: Pat, Me, Harry, Mele and Nick

What did Harry do to deserve such great Karma?

My first arrow went 1/2 way down the field. My next one went 2/3rds fo the way.

After all the arrows are shot you walk across the field and retrieve them.

HRH ordered tea and biscuts inbetween rounds. It was all so very civilized.

Other Team Photo: John Sullivan, Guido, Bruce Manson, and HRH.

Miraculously during tea the other team got an arrow in the target, just missing the bullseye by a yak hair.

The Bhutanese archery expert was very impressed, if somewhat confused!



Bhutanese Celebrity
I got to interview Bhutanese Actor/Filmmaker Tsering Gyeltshen, who is a key player at Pekhang Audio Visuals, one of about 4 production companies in Thimphu.

Tshering Gylthen, Creative Directro/Co-Producer at Pekhang Audio Visuals

Will transcribe and post here.



Trip to National Library

This was a sort of fluke for me, as I wanted to go and find the historical document that has the quote Benji said of "the words of the Lama will fly on silver wings."

No one else in the group came with. Tashi and I went alone.

I didn't see carvings like this on other buildings, but then we didn't go to many official buildings, only monastarys

Dr. Yonten Dargye is the Senior Research Officer at the National Library of Bhutan. He gave me a tour. He also surprised both Tashi and I when he said I could video on the first floor. However, he said I could not video on the higher levels.

The first floor awed me.

These are Bhutanese Books.

On the white square there is writing telling what the 'book' is.

I asked Dr. Yonten Dargye to help me find the passage I was looking for.

He took out a scripture and unwrapped it.

The front and back covers are made of wood.

The pages are loose, not bound. The writing is read left to right. The script is Bhutanese, called Dhojoeck. They showed me a chart with their cursive next to Sanskrit. I swear I heard them say it is written differently than Sanskrit but pronouncded the same.

As he puts the scripture back, Dr. Dargye tells me the Library is doing it's own documentary. The Danes have given them quite a bit of money and a state fo the art video camera. They are going to go all over Bhutan and document all the scriptures, especially of Saint's works. They will find out which ones the National Library lacks and make copies. The book press in Bhutan already makes books in the traditional script style. So far only Paro and Thimphu have been documented. It is a long term project.

Besides the video, Thimphu Library is going online. Again the Danes helped with equipment. The Danes are a lost soveriegn kingdom and it is theorized that they are helping the Bhutanese retain their culture in sympathy.

Dr. Yonten Dargye & I, outside National Library front entrance



Maraen Foley's Quicktime video
photos from HRH's party
ecofemme pics


"Reality is that, which if not dealt with properly, will kill you" -Dan Foley

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