Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why I travel

Continuing the interview by Eco-Yogini:

2. What is your most fantastic international “story” from all your fabulous travels?

It's hard to pick one! The best of all, perhaps, was when Mr. Barefoot came to visit me, halfway around the world, not once, but twice! Other memorable experiences were meeting the Crown Prince of Bhutan, and dancing with one of the four Queens. Some of my favorite episodes from my travel blog (sadly neglected ever since I started wedding planning) are here and here.

One of my favorite aspects of travel is seeing ordinary things in a new light. This happened to me a lot in Bhutan, where many people speak English, but have a totally different frame of reference from us in the US. The seeming similarity - hey, we speak the same language - embedded in profound difference - you do what? - led to a lot of amusing moments.

My assistant pointed out some plants he called pohdeydoh, and insisted that I should know what these very common plants were. Being a city girl, I'm not familiar with the growing forms of crops, and even less when they are named in another language. We went round and round, with my assistant assuring me that he was giving me the English name....until finally, oh, yeah, potato!

Another time, he excitedly pointed out 'pig food' to me. Again, as a city girl, I had no idea what pigs eat, and brushed off the comment as just another random piece of trivia. The assistant was insistent that I take a closer look at the plants... and lo and behold, they were the marijuana that grows wild all over the Himalaya! The locals don't use the plant -- it is fed to the pigs, who become extremely contented, fat and happy. Pig fat is a much desired delicacy, necessary for all sorts of celebrations.

An example that seems somewhat appropriate for a wedding blog are the ubiquitous dorjes or "thunderbolts" -- which we might think to be more likely at a bridal shower than at a monastery -- that symbolize protection against evil spirits, and the necessity of wisdom in overcoming ego. Huge phalluses are painted on the sides of houses and hung from the corner rafters to ensure the well-being of their occupants...

and dancing monks, dressed as clowns, and serving the same role as rodeo clowns, wield them during wield them during religious dances. The offer blessings via a tap on the head, and maintain the interest and involvement of the crowd through goofy antics.

I forgot to mention in my first interview post that part of this interview process is passing it on. I'd love to learn more about other bloggers, so if you'd like to be interviewed, leave a comment with your email or website, saying "Interview me!", and I'll send you five personalized questions.

Here are the 'rules':

* leave me a comment with your email address saying: “interview me”
* I will e-mail you five questions of my choice
* you can then answer the questions on your blog {with a link back to my blog}
* you should also post these rules, along with an offer to interview anyone else who emails you, wanting to be interviewed
* anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to answer on their blog
* it would be nice if the questions were individualized for each blogger


Eco Yogini said...

FUN! I loved hearing about the funny mix-ups with language- happened to me all the time in Montreal lol.

Also- your picture with the home "blessing" with description was great. It's one thing to hear about it, but I had no idea they would paint ACTUAL phalli (phalluses?? lol). fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I would totally do this! You can email me at: