Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Way Things Move in Bhutan

The roads were closed between Paro and Thimphu for the royal couple's visit and I was stranded in Thimphu at the Ambient Café. There are surely much worse places to be stranded! In fact, as always is the case at the Ambient, there was a wonderful parade of familiar faces and fortuitous chance meetings. First I ran into Sonam Choephel, my old friend and attendant of Rinpoche's who just came out of three year retreat. We had a cappuccino and in walked Lama Shenphen who was full of wonderful ideas about potential candidates for the pilot project we are planning at Chokyi Gyatso Iinstitute. Then the Swiss contingent, Casper and Sabine, came in and promised to take me on their next hike. As Lama Shenphen and I discussed the project, I noticed a man seated nearby perk up listening. This is what the Ambient almost seems designed for. So many times I've changed the course of my work due to a simple bit of evesdropping at the Ambient. He came over and introduced himself as Daniel Spitzer and we began talking about our respective projects, his is a hazelnut farming initiative in east Bhutan. Lama went off to help rescue some addicts and Daniel and I sat and talked with no small amount of enthusiasm for nearly an hour. The synergy abounded. On top of all the alignment of our projects, it turns out he was Rinpoche's English teacher back in the 1970s. I think we may have just found our third pilot project! Here's a picture of Lama at the Ambient that I took last year.

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