Bhutan, Flaky Dog-sitters, and Trivia (Oh My)!

My husband and I met up with our friend Brad at a bar last night, and he let us in on a couple of misfortunes he’s faced over the past couple of days. One, his dog-sitter bailed on him, which would have allowed him to go pick up his new Scottish deerhound puppies. And two, his neighbor/friend Dave, is in Bhutan, and could not fill in as dog-sitter. He has show dogs, and can’t just leave them alone (they have a special diet, need special care, etc.). I like to joke that his dogs tie him down as much as children would!

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Brad with one of his deerhound puppies, 2010

I was puzzled about why someone would want to go to Bhutan…Bhutan Disney? Club Med Bhutan?

“Bhutan?” I asked. “Why would someone go THERE?”

“He’s going hiking in the mountains,” Brad said.

“Oh, OK,” I said. I paused a bit, then said, “Bhutan’s capital is Thimphu.”

“Ha ha,” Brad said.

Funny I remembered that on the spot, I actually tried learning ALL the capitals of the world a while back, but eventually decided to just make sure I knew the “major” world capitals. Though I’m sure I’ll slap myself silly if a trivia game ever requires me to know the capital of Tuvalu, lol… (BTW Tuvalu’s capital is Funafuti, which sounds like an ice cream flavor).

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When I’m taking geography quizzes, I always tend to group together the nations of Brunei, Bahrain and… Bhutan. I think of them as “triplets,” even though they are nothing like each other – and nowhere near each other!

Yeah, we’re kinda nerdy like that! Though I may have been a little clueless about why the Hell someone would want to travel to Bhutan, I wasn’t clueless about the opportunity this presented to me…hmmm I started stroking my non-existent beard and thinking of the possibilities this development presented to me.

“So…this means you’re around this weekend,” I said to Brad. “Can you play in our qualifying game Saturday at Oscar’s? Pretty please? We’ll pick you up and give you a ride?”

“OK,” Brad said.

Not skipping a beat, I said “So this means you’re available Monday night too. Want to join us at our last game of the season at Powell’s since we don’t have a trivia game Wednesday?”

“OK.” If only ALL of my trivia players were as easygoing as Brad! I really, really mean that!

True, we don’t really “need” him to play in this last game at Powell’s, my husband and I have a pretty decent lead there and have been playing by ourselves all season long (except for two games when John came out to play). But for that one last game, it will be good to have the “gang” together. Plus he will help with the sportsball questions!

As for tonight’s game at Oscar’s? I DEFINITELY need him for that game! We need to win this game to earn a spot in the April 15 finals, and he will be key on some of the obscure topics I’ve seen in the trivia games this week, particularly hockey and…Canada. He is fairly knowledgeable about both of those topics and more!

Many moons ago when I used to work as a newspaper reporter, I was a huge fan of doing “sidebars.” In journalist speak, they’re basically “little articles within the article.” For example, when I was doing a story about a teacher traveling to Malawi, I did a little “sidebar” with facts about Malawi, and the copy editors set it within the article. It was a great way to pad out space allowed for stories without bogging the stories down themselves. For this purpose, I always had a World Almanac on my desk (this was before the Internets basically put all of the world’s information at one’s fingertips).

On that note…

Facts About Bhutan

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Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest, seen above) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
  • Governmental Structure: Unitary parliamentary/constitutional monarchy
  • Capital (and most populous city): Thimphu
  • Population: (2016 estimate) 797,765 (165th world ranking), second least populous nation in Asia after Maldives
  • Area: 14,824 square miles (larger than the state of Maryland, smaller than West Virginia)
  • Dominant Religion – Buddhism (74%)
  • Official Language: Dzongkha (means “language of the district”)
  • King: Jigme Khesar Mangyel Wanghuck
  • Prime Minister: Tshering Tobgay
  • Bordering countries: India, China

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