Searching for the face of Bhutan

I wish lived in a different, less politically-correct age, so I could write like
Norman Lewis, who wrote that “The mulatta girls of Havana were seen to flaunt
the biggest posteriors and the narrowest waists in the world”.
I’d write
that in this queue, waiting to check in to the flight to Paro, there are
Indians – plump, handsome little men doing business in the perfume trade. And
there are Asians: Louis Vuitton-toting Japanese, Chinese from Shenzen.  And then there are those whose faces are
blurred by geography: a group of people who look like they’ve been mashed
between the two super-countries of India and China.
Dark skin and
full lips of an Asian face, but straight narrow noses and small eyes, the eyes
of a mountain race who were born closer to the sun than the rest of us.
The check-in counter
is down the back of Bangkok airport, along with Uzbekistan and Israeli
air, but the airport is eerily deserted. Amongst the luggage, I count 15
flat-screen tvs and six clear plastic carry bags stuffed with duvets and a
large dog, yelping his distress from his cage.
I can hear
other Australians behind me, some serious cameras slung nonchalantly over
shoulders, but at 5.10am, they’re already talking gear. 
Bhutan, I’m ready.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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