Sunday, October 12, 2014

To Market, To Market...

One of my most enduring and enjoyable rituals here is the weekly shopping at the Memorial Sabji (vegetable) Markets. I've done this almost every weekend for 4 years now, and never tire of it. A veritable cornucopia of food from far-flung Bhutanese villages, as well as both common and exotic produce trucked in from India.

It's around a 3kms walk (at altitude!) from my latest apartment to the markets, and I love every step of the scenic trip. I can walk it briskly in 20 minutes, but it usually takes much longer, with frequent stops to talk with shopkeepers, monks, new and old friends, giggling school-kids keen to practise their English language skills, to admire the ever-present views of mountains and rivers, and just to enjoy a peaceful contentment and scenic beauty I've never experienced anywhere else.

Depending upon circumstances, there are several routes to the market, and this picture collage combines a few different ones.

Leaving my place, it appears to be washing-day next door...


My 9th and current apartment, Flyover Plaza...





Around the first corner, a beautiful old traditional building, slowly crumbling, but still inhabited...


Further along, a sacred chhorten, with a huge Bhutan cypress (the national tree) growing within it...






The locals come to spin the prayer wheels for blessings. I usually take the time to do that myself...


Then some familiar Australian Callistemon trees (bottle-brushes), showing their beautiful red flowers...




Time to cross the main highway, but check for traffic first...

The local garbage truck with its strident alarm. People stream out of houses, apartments and offices to dump their rubbish...




I notice new signs have been erected. Then remember that the new Indian Prime Minister has decided his 1st official international trip will be to Bhutan, so an auspicious welcome is being prepared...






School kids line the streets to welcome the entourage...







Another Aussie tree, a black wattle, outside the offices of The Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper...






Across the Wangchu River is the local athletics field...






 And the Bhutan Army Base...


Around the corner and up the hill, a shortcut through a fuel service-station...




Along the river, a beautiful park with a footpath flanked by blooming Forsythia leads to a large statue of Buddha...




Protected by the omnipresent dragons (Druks), after which this kingdom is named (Druk Yul, Land of the Thunder Dragon)...



Continuing down the road past the National Football Stadium (no match today!)...

A short detour to my favourite grocery store...

The girls are waiting for customers...look at Sonam's arms to see why she's grimacing...


It takes a tag-team to make a sale here...


A quick glimpse of progress on my current work site...a new 5-star hotel.


Then past the archery field, home of Bhutan's national sport. They have to shoot over 140 yards (120 metres...longer than a football field!)




Past the Queen's Memorial chhorten...



 A quick stop at my regular snack shop, for a taste of India...pani puris, chana masala and aloo dum...


Past the policeman directing traffic...


 Just laying around...



 A pause while traffic is stopped. An old, diseased willow tree has been chainsawed but won't fall down. So a crew of Thimphu's finest women workers is gathered on the end of a rope to deliver the last rites...and they succeeded admirably!



If you're a vegetarian, look away now, because this is where I buy a half chicken for my once a week curry...



And finally approaching the market area...







 And to my favourite stall, run by yet another Sonam...


 Every market day, a new adventure!











6 comments:

  1. Uncle Shax, thank you for these wonderful - making-me-feel-homesick vibrant pictures of your walk to the market. Great to see familiar faces and places. Wish i could come around! Trust you are fine. Warm regards, Biju. PS - enjoyed the Dochula pictures too, time, i guess, to replace the Fuji!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. would love to hear from you at bijujacobjohn@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sigh .... Can hardly wait to move to Bhutan

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  4. My name is Joe Pinzone and I'm casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We'd love to film in Bhutan and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The contributors on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. If you'd like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone@leopardusa.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

    ReplyDelete
  5. How cool the way all buildings are done in the traditional style. And the girls look happy. Great blog!

    Regards from Chile

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