Bhutan, Meditation, Bread, Learning, Friends, Family, Music, Books, MT

Sunday, May 23, 2010


My brother, Matthew, keeps us informed of his shopping exploits: see here and here.
Not to be outdone by the wee chap, I had to respond.
The rainy season has arrived here in Bhutan. With that has come the rain. It is not a heavy monsoon rain, but is still rather wet. I have never been a big fan of swimming. But warm rain is something I can get used to.
I have a nice cycling jacket which I bought many many years ago. It was on sale ... a second for some reason. Made of GORE-TEX, it keeps out the rain, and lets out my perspiration. Very useful as I slog up the long hill home every school day. As I lovingly placed the jacket over the back of my chair at home, I noticed that the inner layer had perished. The layer that stopped the rain, and breathed my hot air.
I had a nice cycling jacket!
After many enjoyable hours searching all the online bicycle shops in the world, perhaps the universe, I finally placed my order this morning.
Evans Cycles is in the UK. Unlike the Book Depository, their free Worldwide Delivery actually includes Bhutan. Or so they say. Let's see if it gets here before celebrating.
In the meantime, the old jacket will have to suffice.

A Mathematician

The Fields Medal is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics. Did you know that there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics? Any ideas why?
The young (you cannot be over 40 to win the Fields) Russian mathematician, Grigory Perelman, was offered the medal in 2006, along with US$15,000, for his solution of the PoincarĂ©  Conjecture. He refused, claiming that "if the proof is correct then no other recognition is needed." In March of this year, he rejected the Clay prize, a mere one-million-dollars. This time he said that he had all that he wanted. What a nobel person. 
Karma Thinley recently asked me what the PoincarĂ©  Conjecture was about. I told him that it was about mathematics. 
If you want to know more about Perelman or the PoincarĂ©  Conjecture, try the following article, which reviews a biography of Perelman called "Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century."
He Conquered the Conjecture | The New York Review of Books
The writer of the review, John Allen Paulos, has written numerous books on mathematics for the non-mathematician. I will write more about Paulos later. Unless I forget.
If I were offered the Fields Medal, I would also turn it down. Not only do I have all that I want (apart from money, a house, a decent job, and the rest), but I am over 40.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Here, in Bhutan, there are horns. Yaks have horns. And cars have horns.
Cars with horns are not uncommon in NZ, where I come from (in this life).
Most drivers there are used to seeing cyclists. Not so used to seeing people walking on the road. Or cars coming towards you in the middle of the road.
Drivers have to use the horn more here. As well as informing pedestrians to move over, it is used as you round a sharp bend. Hopefully and car coming the other way will watch out. Even more useful if the approaching out-of-sight vehicle is a large Tata truck, careering along at full speed.
When I cycle the Thimphu roads, I hear the horn a lot. It amuses me that they think I cannot hear them coming. Most drivers would not have ridden a bike. The trouble is that I am used to the horn being blown in aggression. My immediate interpretation is that. I forget that they are just politely letting me know. I am slowly adjusting. Sometimes I get a little angry if a car passes without blowing its horn. How impolite!
Other times, like the other day, my reaction is to turn around and glare. An aggressive response from this meek and mild Buddhist wannabe. Or even give the fingers. 
I glared the other day when an approaching car repeatedly blew its horn.
"I know you are coming. What is all the fuss about?"
The approaching car was the Royal Body Guard vehicle that leads the way for His Majesty.