Saturday, February 2, 2013

Around Thimphu & orientation

Blog, somehow the word doesn’t sound speedy. Tweet, speedy. Text, speedy, email, sorta speedy, but blog sounds like its lagging. As I have been with entries for the past few days. We are winding up our orientation. Three mornings of some basic Dzongka lessons gave me a pretty good sense about where I stood in terms of having any likelihood of communicating beyond basic English with lots of hand gestures. This method has served me well in the markets here and I am prepared to set a good example of an English speaker for my students. I can handle hello and a few bits of politeness in Dzongka but not much else. Although I do consider myself to have a second language, Spanish, the Romance languages are of less help than English when it comes to hearing the pronunciation of Asian languages.
            We have had taxi practice, cooking demo, health hints, cultural awareness, shopping time, wandering time, bureaucracy time, and a bit of R&R when needed. The females seem to be washing their things out at night as good travelers should whereas all the guys are supporting the hotel laundry service.  My pile of household goods is getting difficult to squirrel away in my room. I was going to do all my cooking with electricity but our program director, Nancy, gave me some definite advice about having a gas burner available so that in the event, perhaps likely, the electricity went out for a while, as in days, I would still be able to cook, bathe, and boil drinking water. Nancy courteously allowed that I could take her advice or not but it seemed clear that my situation would be best served if I had a gas burner. I stuck with simplicity and got a single burner rather than a double, but even that entails a propane tank, regulator, and hose all now added to my pile. I may very well need one of the rooms in my apartment simply to transfer my pile into upon my arrival.
            Cooking was definitely a highlight. Neema led a team of three who took our freshly chopped ingredients and created a number of tasty dishes in what seemed to be a very short period of time. I am sure this was arranged to bolster our confidence in our ability to feed ourselves freshly made, nutritious, and very tasty food as we spread ourselves throughout the country. The days of 3 meals/day at the hotel with hot & cold running water are likely coming to an abrupt end for me rather shortly.
            The session on health was eye opening. Some good reminders and good information. Bottom line, we are on the other side of the world from our usual home. Health care is universal, free to everyone including us as employees. However, the level of care available in most of our settings is pretty basic, but the country isn’t that big so better care is fairly close and we do have access to very good evacuation insurance if needed. Best advice, eat well, drink plenty of clean water.
            Very nice morning walk up to the Buddha on the ridge above town. It is still under construction. All construction, and there is a lot of it going on, looks to be going slowly. Apparently this is due to some manpower shortages. Well, I’ll add a couple of pics and call it good for now. The trucks hauling goods from India are often decked out for good luck. The prayer flags gather in certain spots rather mysteriously.


  1. Hi Brick. I just wanted to say I am really enjoying your blog and pictures. Thank you for sharing your experience with us this way! Kelli

  2. HI Bricker. I finally looked at your blog. Slog, frog, bog, flog, grog, fog, cog, dog. Oh such fun. Not so slow either.,,,well, I was slow to get on it. You do not seem slow to write on it.
    I love it. Love the pictures and the descriptions. Hope things are moving along.
    Nice and snowy in Steamboat. Love and hugs.

  3. Using an electric burner will do you no harm but having a reserved gas burner will be a wise thing to do. You see, you really can’t assure that there will always be a supply of electricity in your place. Because of your passion for cooking, I know you might be very disappointed when the electricity is off. Anyway, I hope you can direct me to a post regarding the dishes that you’re making. Thanks. :D

    -Nohemi Tutterrow-