A Monastery With a View
BHUTAN, 23 APRIL 2017: It's here that 1000 years ago Bhuddah Two flew onto this ledge on the back of a winged Siberian Tiger. A cliff side monastery was miraculously constructed to pay honor to the site. Today, Taktsang Palphug Monastery is Bhutan's most notable place.
So how does a 54 year old cameraman get up a 10,000ft (8.5 mile round trip) mountain face to photograph the world's most significant Monastery? Bring the people who know the place best with you! For me, getting a tripod, wireless mics, camera, batteries, silks and reflector up a difficult trail, at times meant pulling yourself along by your hands. It would have been an impossible task without having the help of the local people. With no tigers in sight, our team of 4 Bhutanese tough guy's with legs the size of football players, hauled up all the gear; 2 two cameras, lunches, jackets, umbrellas and walking sticks. Bottom line, hiring local crew is a great idea for a hundred reasons. One of the many reasons was learning to suck the stems of blooming Rhododendron, which gave us a burst of energy along the way.
We had the immense privilege of having our guest incarnate Monk Nguyen, walk the entire trail with us. We were taught some of the beautiful ways of the Buddhist religion. They were so warm and loving. Every time I'd slow down to catch my breath, Monk Nguyen would walk over to me with a warm smile, rub my belly and say, "Come on Mister Daree, this is cleaning your body." After a laugh, and a short rest we pushed on. We are blessed to have walked these miles with our new friends. Without their help I would have been lost, eaten by a tiger, or quite literally I would have fallen off the cliff!
The biggest lesson I learned when working in this remote location is to know the terrain, understand the culture and be prepared to anticipate physical demands, especially in an isolated region of the world.
Hats off to the locals for their help, lots of laughter and most importantly, our lasting memories.