Friday, March 20, 2015

Are we at 'peak Bhutan' yet?

Masang Gang, Bhutan

I mean, not literally given the mountaineering ban, but Bhutan has been in the western news a whole lot in the past week. Here's a round-up.

Photo by Thinley Namgyel, shared with permission. See the rest of his March 17th match album here.

• The big, big story was football (or soccer, if you insist). Bhutan is officially the lowest ranked national team in FIFA: 209 out of 209. The squad is made up of amateur players except for #7, seen leaping above.

Qualification rounds for the 2018 World Cup have already started for the Asia group and over the past week, Bhutan had a two match series against Sri Lanka (FIFA ranking 174). To the great delight of all Bhutanese and underdog supporters everywhere, the Yellow Dragons won both matches! It must have been marvelous to experience the win at Changlimithang Stadium on Tuesday. The defeat of Sri Lanka means that Bhutan moves forward in the qualification rounds for the first time ever. Check out the press coverage below for more details on the story.

Modest Bhutan begin World Cup adventure
Bhutan bewilder as India, Timor-Leste cruise

Fifa World Cup: Bhutan face Sri Lanka in Asia qualifying opener
Fifa World Cup qualifying: Bhutan in shock win over Sri Lanka
Fifa World Cup qualifiers: Bhutan step closer to Russia 2018

New York Times:
A Moment Atop the World for Bhutan’s Last-Ranked Team
Last-Ranked Bhutan Stuns Sri Lanka a Second Time

The Guardian:
World’s worst team Bhutan kick off 2018 World Cup qualifying with victory
‘World’s worst team’ Bhutan seal shock World Cup qualifier win over Sri Lanka
Bhutan, Bhutan – football chanted like a prayer as World Cup success grips nation

Deadspin Screamer:
Scenes In Colombo As Bhutan Wins In First Ever World Cup Qualifier
Bhutan Wins Again! A Match Report From A Deadspin Reader In Bhutan

'World's worst team' Bhutan make history in World Cup qualifier
Bhutan hoping to parlay World Cup qualifying success into lasting stability

Bhutan, World's Lowest-Ranked Soccer Team, Advances In World Cup Qualifying

• Bhutanese media darling Namgay Zam was interviewed by NPR 'All Things Considered' about the football wins.

• Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay is on a tour of the US at the moment. He was interviewed on PBS's Charlie Rose Show on Tuesday. You should be able to watch the interview here even if you are outside the US.

• Bloomberg talks to the PM about water conservation: Bhutan Wants a Kickstarter Deal From Wall Street to Protect Its Massive Water Supply

• Over on BBC World Service, there's an interesting radio program about Bhutan and linguistics. There are about 18 different languages spoken in the small country.

• Last month, the blog Bhutan Street Fashion was also featured by the BBC. (Check out BSF on FB and Insta)

• From The Atlantic: A Virtual Drive Through Bhutan via Google Street View! Ahhh, #30!

Something about the NY Explorers Club and a search for the Yeti aka Migoi. *shrug*

• To top it all off, in last week's episode of Archer, there was also a little reference to Bhutan!

Screen cap from Archer S6 E10 "Reignition Sequence", FX Productions

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