Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gross National Happiness and Plants that Eat Meat?

Did you know that in Bhutan, the main indicator of quality of life and overall success of the country is not Gross Domestic Product (like in all other nations), but Gross National Happiness? That's what my professor-mentor-boss told me as we were kayaking down some rapids in the rainforest the other day. We had such a great day (last saturday), going along the rapids, knocking into rocks, exploring a small village and it's many medicinal plants. oh and earlier that day, we got to see a bunch of the carnivorous (they eat anything from flies to small mice) pitcher plants, and an orangutan showing off his graceful cirque du soleil-esque movements along the trees at the orangutan rehabilitation center here.

This week was one of some serious adjustments, especially having to wake up 6am daily. Spent time figuring out what it is i will be doing in the lab, and starting to plan experiments with the grad student i'm working with. AMCAS application finally was processed, and I got a few secondaries done (for those nyc schools i'm most interested in). That process has def been a source of some anxiety, much more than snakes or leeches i might encounter in the rainforest.

People at SBC (research station) are def making the adjustment easier, exhibiting genuine niceness and interest that I rarely encounter in the city, to be quite frank. The only thing is I feel like they are too nice sometimes. They keep treating me to meals, and one guy was going to offer me a room in his house for free. I'm happy I got him to agree to letting me pay rent, just cause it would be terribly unfair otherwise.

Today, I signed this research agreement with the State Secretary of Sarawak, which was a pretty important moment and symbolized the real beginning of my research experience here. And I move into my home here on Sunday.

New Foods that I have tried so far:
Laksa, Midin, Mee Hoon, Nasi Lemak, dragonfruit, starfruit, mangosteen, rambutan, lady fingers, sweet and sour fried fish, roti canai, Char kway teow, claypot chicken rice, sambal and so many more. mmmmmmm

note: picture of kuching laksa at top is one i got from another dude's blog ( was in too much of a trance upon trying this to even take a snapshot of it.

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