Saving the World – And the Contents of a Pouch

Listen to this hopeful and brilliant TED talk by an intelligent and sound soul. Humor and sensibility are essential in this approach. This is Bhutan and its people in a nutshell.

My contribution is my own pouch findings in Bhutan…Tshering will show you the whole potential of his Gho.


Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past

For Paula this Sunday – Pilgrim on her way to Taktshang Goemba, Tiger’s Nest Monastery.








Rinpung Dzong – Bhutan and Its People

The Paro Dzong is bigger than you first think. As I wrote before, it houses an administration as well as a monastic part.

We walked back there in the afternoon during the Tsechu, to take a closer look.

1974 Bhutan opened up to the world, and some years ago they invited the great leaders of the outside world, to show their winning concept. Not all leaders came, of course, but those who listened must have been impressed. This tiny Himalayan nation, surrounded by much larger countries with massive populations and economies – seem to stand tall in their beliefs and try to follow the road chosen.

Bhutan combines Gross National Happiness (explained further down) with democracy and Buddhism. A concept they try to convey to the world as well. In fact, the Resolution of Happiness was adopted by the UN’s National Assembly in 2011, leading to World Happiness Day now being celebrated across the globe annually on March 20.


The Watch Tower used to house the National Museum, but the tower was damaged in an earthquake, so the museum was now set up in a building nearby.

Going down again we passed some sellers. Their hats and clothes tell about their origin – they are Layaps, living in the north western parts of Bhutan, at almost 4000 meters. Until the 1980s the Layaps lived in complete isolation from the rest of the country.

A rapidly growing economy has resulted in increased consumerism – leading to imports mostly from India. The government decided to place a ban on many imports, including cars, but it remains to be seen if globalization and everything in its wake can be sufficiently kept at bay. Let us hope so. The King and the Government seem very determined.

Modernity is coming though. Cell phones and heavy camera equipment already in Paro – and dogs on leash in Thimpu. But – Thimpu is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. There is still a policeman in a box, in the middle of the street, gracefully waving the traffic in the right direction.


Gross National Happiness (GNH) in short, is:

  • based on core Buddhist and human values
  • a measurable index and a counterpoint to the economists Gross National Product
  • a philosophy placing real value on cultural heritage, health, education, good governance, ecological diversity and individual well-being

According to our local guide, Rinzen, there is a validation before a decision is taken, and after the implementation of it. If people are not getting/did not get happier out of this – the concept will be dropped.

Bhutan is the world’s only carbon-negative country. Just Imagine. And, this is true.



Black & White Sunday – After and Before

Paula’s After and Before is a fun way of looking at your photos in colour and black and white. And looking at others’ as well. Think again!








CFFC: Rain or Rainbows

For Cee this week – Rain or Rainbows – luckily I found both!

And I could not resist my pretty little Swiss girls either – surely they are little rainbows both of them?

Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge: Bikes of Any Kind


I loved meeting this happy guy last summer – and he let me take a photo of him and his old military bike. So I guess it fits Cee’s ”bikes of any kind”.




Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past Y4-03

For Paula at Lost in Translation.


This is the Roman bridge in Verzasca valley, Switzerland. In fact, my favorite bridge – in a very special and surprising landscape. A real treasure of the past.


WPC: A Face in the Crowd


Erica, at WordPress, gives us the task to show anonymity, a face in the crowd – referring to the days when she was too afraid to ask people for a photo. I am still there…but on my way to overcome it. I still take photos from behind though, or with a long lens, if I am not in the mood for asking.

This series, taken some years ago on the beach( in a warmer country than mine) shows how well we can express ourselves – even in the anonymity of silhouettes.

Keep an eye on the man…

… he expresses himself…


CFFC: Letter V – Needs to start with V and have at least 6 letters

For Cee’s letter V this week – Gran Canaria, vacation. Upcoming: Letter V – Needs to start with V and have at least 6 letters (vintage, vagrant, vacation, velvet, vizors, vegetable, volume)