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Author Topic: The Kingdom of Bhutan 不丹王国 (Spring 2013)  (Read 16067 times)
chin
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« on: 04 April 2013, 18:48:41 »

I am still travelling in Bhutan now. I will post pictures here after I return home. I have taken so far >2500 pictures, and most likely finish the trip with 3000 plus time shutter pressed. It will take some time to process the pictures.

But I am starting the topic now, because I am asking my friends' opinion on something I am getting here.
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chin
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« Reply #1 on: 04 April 2013, 19:05:49 »

I travel to different places few times a year but don't usually buy souvenir. I wasn't planning to buy any in Bhutan but ended up spending quite some money on two kinds of items.

The first is cordyceps 虫草 and the second nice Bhutanese weavings.

When I came to the country, I did not know that Bhutanese harvest cordyceps. One day when we drove pass a rural area near Bumthang, my guide was telling us that the people there used to be very poor. But recently (perhaps just over 10 years ago) they found that they can harvest cordyceps and sell the worms at very high prices. The system of how it work is that at around June, they will harvest and dry the worms. Not everyone can harvest the worms. Each family or village has a quota and they rotate the quota to limit how many people can harvest the worms, and the harvesting period is only one month. Then they will collectively sell the whole stock in an auction. At the beginning of July, the prices will be fixed by the auction or tender, then in about 2 weeks the buyers woud need to complete the transaction with cash.

I did not know what cordyceps means, but after the description, I figured that it's 冬虫夏草 in Chinese. When I was small, my mum used to made soup with this stuff. That was long time ago. About 15 years ago, I read an article that the price of cordyceps has gone up so much that lots of people in Tibet are harvesting the worm and destroyed the environment in the process.

Out of curiousity, I called some people and found out the retail price of cordyceps in HK. I was a bit shocked since I have not had this stuff for well over 20 years. Anyway I asked my guide if he can find some for me.

It happened that our driver's brother is one of those who harvested before. So they start to call people to see if they still have some kept at home. After a few days, they collected from a few sources a bunch of cordyceps.
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chin
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« Reply #2 on: 04 April 2013, 19:07:58 »

Wongyan was kind enough to texted me some hint on cordycepts. Anyway here are the pictures of what I have collected in the last few days.

This is sample 1, only have 20 pieces or so. I am using the iPhone 4 as background so you can estimate the size.


* Bhutan_Cordycep_1.jpg (125.76 KB, 912x608 - viewed 904 times.)

* Bhutan_Cordycep_1a.jpg (139.92 KB, 912x608 - viewed 592 times.)
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chin
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« Reply #3 on: 04 April 2013, 19:10:11 »

This is sample 2.


* Bhutan_Cordycep_2.jpg (130.45 KB, 912x608 - viewed 880 times.)

* Bhutan_Cordycep_2a.jpg (163.1 KB, 912x608 - viewed 589 times.)
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chin
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« Reply #4 on: 04 April 2013, 19:11:11 »

This is sample 3.


* Bhutan_Cordycep_3.jpg (130.97 KB, 912x608 - viewed 882 times.)

* Bhutan_Cordycep_3a.jpg (290.44 KB, 912x608 - viewed 602 times.)
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chin
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« Reply #5 on: 04 April 2013, 19:12:59 »

Sample 4 are the broken ones. One bag was sold to me supposedly cheaply but I later found out it's not too cheap. The ones in the small bag was given to me (perhaps since I paid so much for sample 3).  Shocked


* Bhutan_Cordycep_4.jpg (130.78 KB, 912x608 - viewed 880 times.)

* Bhutan_Cordycep_4a.jpg (163.29 KB, 912x608 - viewed 576 times.)
« Last Edit: 04 April 2013, 19:37:31 by chin » Logged
chin
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« Reply #6 on: 04 April 2013, 19:16:56 »

So my friends, please feel free to comment.

First, if they are real. They look very much like real worms to me. And they all have fishy smell.

Second, the hard question is if these are the ones with medicinal value. I know the "original" 冬虫夏草 are from Tibet. Even if the fungus are the same, since they fed on the worms, the different type of worms and the different soil in different region may have altered the medicinal value.
« Last Edit: 04 April 2013, 19:37:44 by chin » Logged
chin
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« Reply #7 on: 15 August 2013, 01:22:16 »

It's has been a few months since we got back. I was simply too lazy to process the pictures and write the narratives.

Now there is a request to see certain pictures, I will post the pictures first, maybe writing the narrative later. The pictures are roughly organized by theme.
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« Reply #8 on: 15 August 2013, 01:31:00 »

The first set is Bhutanese people in the Paro Festival.

One of the most interesting attractions for us is the women's skirt.  Grin

OK, it's the weaving that could be very complex and intrigue. Our guide, who is from the east, told us that people in the west (like Paro) would spend a very large sum on a nice weaving cloth that they wear once a year in the festival. We later bought a few pieces of nice ones, at US$1000 to $1800 per piece.

The tops are often silk imported from China, with very Chinese patterns.


* 20130326_DSC04924.jpg (261.31 KB, 667x1000 - viewed 543 times.)

* 20130327_DSC05660.jpg (224.52 KB, 667x1000 - viewed 512 times.)

* 20130327_DSC05563.jpg (159 KB, 667x1000 - viewed 547 times.)
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chin
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« Reply #9 on: 15 August 2013, 01:33:58 »

Kids & old people in the Paro Festival.


* 20130326_DSC05212.jpg (240.16 KB, 667x1000 - viewed 542 times.)

* 20130327_DSC05636.jpg (180.86 KB, 667x1000 - viewed 522 times.)

* 20130327_DSC05729.jpg (197.94 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 548 times.)

* 20130327_DSC05740.jpg (183.8 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 522 times.)
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