Photo by Jack Chance

A few weeks ago I was walking out of my friend’s flat in a little apartment building where I was living in Thimphu, Bhutan. It was a crystal clear, sharp blue freezing cold high mountain morning in this valley nestled impossibly in the heart of the Himalayas. Everyone walking past me was on their way to work or to school, men in colorful gho, women in beautiful kira (which are the traditional dress of Bhutan, and which people genuinely do wear every day). The many street dogs were positioned in all their usual spots for observing events. Toddlers in big sweatshirts with their grandmothers walked by on their way uphill to circumnavigate the neighborhood chorten, or stupa, hoping that this time their arms would finally be long enough to push the beautiful red and yellow prayer wheels. Indian truck drivers careened their amazing Tata trucks, wildly painted with extraordinary designs and with almond shaped eyes above the headlights, every kind of prayer bead and talisman swinging from the rear view mirror. Seven sikhs, their heads bared to their hair wraps, ran by in matching warm-up suits as they returned home to their barracks — next door to my flat in fact.Click here to read more on


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