Bhutan, the First Hour

Bhutanese Monks

There’s only one “first hour” when you enter a new world. My first hour of being in Bhutan is one of wonder; the wonder of the Himalayan air, the warm, direct greeting of the people and my first taste of true spring in years. The impression of gentleness came next; gentle people, and the gentle clean vibration in the air. Beauty is the third impression, beauty of nature and the people. We were warmly welcomed in the courtyard of a manor house turned inn where we were staying, by the family who owned this property for dozens of generations. The forsythia, daffodils and camellias were all in full bloom. The view to the south was of a 17th century fortress across a wide valley of just-planted rice fields, with the high Himalayas visible to the north. The sun was warm for early spring, the birds were singing and I was at peace, suddenly, exquisitely, and completely at peace. Continue reading Bhutan, the First Hour

Food Preparation – Tools in the Courtyard

wood-food-bowls-indonesiaSome of the most beautiful village implements are those used in the courtyard of a family compound for grinding of corn, soybeans, or pounding of rice.  The spiral teak gears of Thailand and ironwood notched gears of Indonesia are poetry in action and sculpture at rest.  They gain beauty from use and wear, and eventually from disuse, as the elements of nature start to wear away their features. Continue reading Food Preparation – Tools in the Courtyard


bhutan-4-530-drukair-1We were awakened at 5:00am to catch our once-a-day flight from Bhutan’s only airport to Kathmandu. In the end, we took off almost three hours late.  Probably not all that unusual, as Druk Air, the state owned airline, has only two aircraft. One makes the round trip to Bangkok each day, and the other makes the round trip to Calcutta, via Kathmandu, Nepal, each day. That’s it! Both flights out and both flights in are scheduled to depart/arrive at the same time. I guess that allows the airport staff to go home for a four hour lunch break…who knows? In any case, all of our morning logistics and delays were absolutely forgotten after we took off and did a Mt. Everest fly-by. Continue reading Kathmandu


daengDaeng is a gentle soul with deep knowledge of, and an unfailing good eye for, excellent primitive and tribal art. Originally from Sumba Island, he has deep family roots and a house or two there. He is perhaps the most respected tribal arts trader/collector in Indonesia, with an extensive collection of textiles, folk art, and Balinese and Javanese sculpture and artifacts. Continue reading Daeng