Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crazy Chillips -- Expats in Bhutan

Note: This blog is to be read in a dry British accent in the style of old fashioned anthropologists... with your pinky held up!

Chillip: n. a white foreigner in Bhutan. Could describe both those working and those on vacation.

Observe the chillips in their natural environment. See how they congregate at the Zone, Cafe Klein and Ambient Cafe. Like parched animals approaching a watering hole, they find any place with non-instant coffee and free wifi. Most can be seen on their computers or reading books: typically some sort of guide to Buddhism in Bhutan, trekking, or ironically, “The Art of War.” You can spot a tourist as one reading “Beyond the Earth and Sky” or “Radio Shangri La,” two memoirs by chillips who have lived in Bhutan.

The most fascinating chillips to observe are those who work in Thimphu, rather than the tourists. These chillips establish their station through regular interaction with cafe proprietors and other chillips who spend time there. They are so articulated by other chillips as “regulars.” It is then that other pre-established chillips will begin to notice them and, at the critical transforming moment, will sit at their table and start a conversation.

There are some chillips though who seem to be ostracized by this “regular” community. This is especially obvious if you observe the way they wear the national dress of Kira and Gho. It is survival of the fittest and chillips who have learned to wear this dress properly can be seen giggling or openly laughing at the “sloppy” and disheveled appearance when chillips try to put them on without the help of a local.

At the point when the chillip has become a part of the community and he/she will be invited to special gatherings. Those chillips who are working hard to integrate in the community are able to infuse their gatherings with locals as well. Quiet now as we approach one of these groups. You will see the evening start at one of the favorite local watering holes, specifically ones that serve beer.

The chillips seem to be fixated on food throughout their conversation. They discuss the best items on the menu, then which of the Bhutanese dishes they have learned to make, comparing strategies for lessening the spice. And finally, you will notice how they end up talking about the food they cannot find here in Bhutan and how to creatively make it out of what is available.

Quick, watch as they decide who's apartment they will migrate too. Once inside, the group will continue to drink while listening to “western music.” At about 10:00pm, the internal clocks inform chillips that it is once again time to migrate. They will arrive at Om Cafe at about 10:30 to book a room for Kareoke. The chillips choose songs characteristic of their past including those by the Beatles, Queen, and Lincoln Park. 

Watch as the chillips then move to Space 34, the most busiest and most popular night club in Thimphu. Here they will listen to tasteless pop, techno and electronic music while dancing in their group. Sometimes they will mix with locals while dancing but the wild dancing style of the chillip can sometimes deter the unknown local from approaching.

The club closes sometime between 1am and 3am (longer if a member of the royal family is spotted and wishes for the club to remain open later) and the chillips split into groups based on their destination: an after party on the side of a mountain or to return home to sleep.

--- Heather Wilson ---

1 comment:


    I AM GETTING TIRED of the bad news, and of being bombarded daily by it!

     The US isn't the same country it used to be! I love it BUT I also want to be and feel safe
     Aren´t things now getting quite dangerous in many ways for us?
     Inside our own country: Fear of terrorists attacks and rising crime is now becoming frightening...
     The relation that the US has with some countries is becoming very hostile and is fast becoming Very Dangerous.
     Think about North Korea, Iran , ISIS, ETA, AL Qaeda and others…
     This is Adding An Enormous Amount Of Stress To An Already Stressful Life and this is not healthy for us.


     We think to ourselves 'we've got to treat ourselves better. We deserve to live in a quiet place, less anxious and experience a normal life.'
     That’s right ! And you're not alone if you feel this way.
     The view of life inside the US is very different from many other parts of the world… and it seems to be getting worse.
     BUT some countries are peaceful and hardly even aware of these situations.
     In reality there are places that we can live and enjoy life the way we deserve to live.


     For instance, Peru in particular, is not far away and yet is a peaceful, democratic, beautiful and for the most part, inexpensive country.
     When you listen to the news in Peru, it’s almost always about internal issues, and very seldom do you get the feeling that life on earth is about to end.
     There are no world wars to worry about and the 'weight' of bad news seems so much farther away.
     Has it ever crossed your mind to move to a quiet city in Peru? No? Well perhaps it should!
     In the last decade there has been a substantial increase in the number of American, Canadian and European expats taking up residency in Peru and loving it! Most people never want to leave.
     Consider buying a piece of land close to Machu Picchu in the Urubamba Valley for instance, or in the mountains of Peru or in the jungle or Why not in the more than 1500 miles of beautiful beaches in Peru?
     There are a lot of very quiet cities that are already getting a number of American and European expats that are absolutely LOVING it. Why not you?
     Interested? Write to us:
     Have a look at the many properties available for you at
     If you want to see even more, contact us, and we will find you your dream property.
     Call us in the US at 954- 540-8503 or in Peru (English spoken) at (+51) 987 823 922