Tuesday, September 1, 2020

2020 Travel the World - Week 35

I started a Travel the World Series last year. (It should be noted that I did a similar thing in 2018, only it was the 50 states.) For 50 weeks in 2019, I visited a different country (virtually) and shared facts about that country. I then selected one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. Fifty weeks; fifty countries... BUT there are 195 countries in the world so that was just a little over 25% of them. Of course I couldn't stop, so this year I'm continuing with fifty more countries, one per week.

This week's country is...


The Kingdom Of Bhutan is a landlocked country located in Eastern Himalayas in Southeast Asia.

Surrounded by the Himalayas, Bhutan is a small country sandwiched between India and Tibet, just east of Nepal and north of Bangladesh.

Bhutan is roughly half the size of South Carolina. The country is slightly smaller than Switzerland. Much of the terrain is made up of mountainous slopes.

One-third of Bhutan’s population is under the age of 14; its median age is 22.3 years.

The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the kingdom’s best kept open secrets. Fed by the glacial-melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries), have been scouted for kayaking and rafting.

Bhutan is home to at least 59 natural mountain lakes as well as some 2,674 glacial lakes.

There are five national parksfour wildlife sanctuaries and one nature reserve, which together constitute about 43% of Bhutan.

Today, approximately 64% of the total land area of Bhutan is under forest cover.

Bhutan has never been ruled by an external entity, thanks to its inaccessible territory and smart decisions and tactics used by various kings.

Gangkhar Puensum is the highest mountain in Bhutan and has never been conquered. It has an elevation of 7570 metres. Bhutan prohibits access to the mountain since 1987. Before that, many unsuccessful attempts were made to climb the mountain. The first team which tried to attempt the summit could not even find it because the maps were so inaccurate!

Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, which means that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces.

Bhutan has a mandatory national dress code. Men wear traditional, knee-length garments and women must wear ankle-length dresses. The colors give away someone's social class and status.

It’s common for Bhutanese babies to go without a name for a while. Babies are not named immediately after their birth – even for weeks. Bhutanese parents – often traveling a long distance – visit a lama or a monk who names the baby. It is believed that a powerful name chosen by the lama would protect the child.

Another interesting thing about Bhutanese names is that people can have exactly the same name – even in the same family. In addition, males and females can have the same name, too.

The national sport of Bhutan is archery. Basketball and cricket are also gaining popularity.

The national animal of Bhutan is “Takin”, a goat-antelope. It is endemic to Bhutan and feeds on leaves, grass and bamboo shoots. Salt is also an essential part of their diet, so they are also found lurking at various mineral deposits. 

Bhutan is a country that cherishes animals. Bhutanese are not allowed to kill any animals or birds. 

Elephants, water buffalos and deer can be spotted in the tropical forests in the country's south, while wild pigs, musk deer and marmots are common in the higher lying areas.

Anyone found guilty of killing a highly endangered and culturally sacred black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.

Although basic healthcare is free in Bhutan, the country suffers from a serious shortage of doctors. In 2007, the physician density was one doctor per 50,000 people. In contrast, the United States has around 133 doctors per 50,000 residents.

All citizens of Bhutan officially become a year older on New Year’s Day. Bhutanese give more priority to year than month or date, hence the tradition.

Roads are a rather dangerous adventure in Bhutan with steep curves in the mountainous regions. Herds of animals like cows and buffaloes can be found freely roaming on these roads. Even people stop to greet each other in the middle of the way. However, the Bhutanese drive very slowly and cautiously, so traffic lights are not required.

Paro Airport is the only international airport of Bhutan. Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Himalayas, Paro is one of the world’s most challenging airports for pilots. Only eight pilots in the world are currently certified to land here.

Foreign tourists are supposed to pay a minimum tariff of US$250 per day, making Bhutan one of the world’s more expensive destinations.

Bhutan introduced TV in 1999. It was banned until then because the Bhutanese government feared it would corrupt the Buddhist way of life in the country. The first show broadcast was that of the 1998 World Cup Final in France.

Smoking and usage of tobacco products are prohibited in public places in Bhutan like cinema halls, restaurants, streets etc. Designated areas have been created for smokers, and if anyone is caught breaking the law, imprisonment for 3 to 5 years can be imposed. Cultivation, harvesting and sale are also strictly prohibited. This has been done to make Bhutan the first smoke-free nation. 

One of the Himalaya’s most incredible sites, the ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’ in Bhutan is miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of Paro valley. Built-in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, the structure has become the cultural icon of Bhutan.

Bhutanese love to eat spicy food. It is said that they will not eat a dish until it is spicy enough. Chillies are not considered a seasoning, but a vegetable that is important for providing flavor to any meal.

In Bhutanese manners, you should refuse food whenever it’s offered to you. The tradition is to say the words “Meshu Meshu” and cover your mouth with your hands. You can give in, though, after two or three offers.

Bhutan is the only country in the world to officially measure national happiness. The index is known as GNH (Gross National Happiness). 

Since, a majority of the population, practices Buddhism, which teaches love and compassion, the crime rates are very low. Violent crimes are rarely reported.

Inheritance (land, house, and animals) is generally passed to the eldest daughter rather than the eldest son. A man often moves into the home of his new wife until he can "earn his keep."

I decided to let this Bhutan fact be the inspiration for this week's card... Bhutan is the only country in the world where there is a festival to welcome migrating birds.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Sets: Tim Holtz Crazy Birds and Unity Full of Happy Hugs stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Hello Honey CS

Stencils/Ink: Colorful Life Grunge Dots and a Circle from an unknown vendor and Lawn Fawn Inks (Lemonade and Sunflower)

Die: Rubbernecker Nested Rectangle Stitch

Embellishments: Cloud 9 Rain Drops


Gracie said...

Loved all the interesting facts about Bhutan! Thanks for sharing. Your card is absolutely adorable. Love the stenciled circle!

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

Your card is perfect for the festival of migrating birds.

Diana said...

When I was in Bhutan shortly after it opened to Western tourism, it wasn't unusual to see the then-King engaging in a game of pick-up basketball, just like a regular guy! Wonderful country.

kiwimeskreations said...

Wonderful word picture of Bhutan Jeanette, and a fun and fabulous card to celebrate an auspicious festival.
Stay safe

Lynn McAuley said...

Love this awesome layout for your crazy bird!! I am going to be stealing this for sure!!

Shelly Schmidt said...

This is so fun and quite adorable too! Interesting facts about this unspoiled country!!!