Bhutan, Travel

Bhutan Celebrates the Birth Anniversary of their Dragon King

The mountainous kingdom of Bhutan celebrated the birthday of its beloved “Dragon King” with an impressive show of synchronized dancing, traditional music, and a “strongest man” competition in the country’s capital earlier this week.

As Bhutan’s 5th King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck turned 36 on Monday, the tiny Himalayan nation observed the national holiday with an array of festive activities.

Hundreds of Bhutanese students danced marching-band style on the pitch of Thimphu’s national stadium for their revered guest (although the King was absent from the ceremony). Residents from across the country attended the event in colorful kira and gho, the country’s national dress.

The festivities continued until the evening, with a surprising death metal concert closing off the night at the capital’s clock tower.

The young King Jigme was crowned King in 2006 after his father abdicated the throne, “gifting” his power to parliamentary democracy.

Bhutan 5th king birthday thimphu national stadium

Attendees share a laugh in the stands as the event begins.

Bhutanese exit and enter the stadium.

Bhutanese exit and enter the stadium.

Bhutan 5th king birthday thimphu national stadium

Students from across the country march across the stadium grounds as the festivities commence.

Bhutan 5th king birthday thimphu national stadium

A man records his child’s performance on his phone.

Bhutan 5th king birthday thimphu national stadium

Student volunteers in community police bibs take their job seriously on the auspicious occasion. Their job role was to monitor security and lend a hand in distributing complimentary juice boxes and chocolate to thousands of attendees.

Students practiced their dances for nearly a year in preparation for the event.

Students practiced their performance for nearly a year in preparation for the event.

In the capital's town square, residents enjoy a carnival, complete with a bouncy castle and a market featuring discounted goods from local merchants.

In the capital’s town square, residents enjoyed a carnival marking the King’s birth. Children played at a bouncy castle; parents shopped at a small fair featuring discounted goods from local merchants.

Bhutan 5th king birthday

Celebrations continued into the evening, with a striking performance by a local death metal cover band.

 

 

Standard
Travel

Cockfights, boat rides & cheesy sunsets: on vacay in the Philippines

A few favorites.

Taking a boat, to a boat, to another boat at sunrise.

A young woman paddles her way through a mangrove channel.

A young woman paddles her way through a mangrove channel.

Daily pickup game in Coron town.

Daily pickup game in Coron town.

Cat, coconuts and nice morning light.

Government offices, Coron town.

Government offices, Coron town.

A woman waits in the shade.

A woman waits in the shade.

Day laborers near the port of Coron.

Day laborers near the port of Coron.

A mini shrine to St. Augustine is seen inside a pharmacy.

A mini shrine to St. Augustine is seen inside a pharmacy.

Tourists and local residents enjoy sunset at Coron's pier.

Tourists and local residents enjoy sunset at Coron’s pier.

A scuba instructor transfers equipment in preparation for the day's dive.

A scuba instructor transfers equipment in preparation for the day’s dive.

High winds and rain move towards docked boats.

High winds and rain move towards docked boats.

A vendor prepares fried potatoes at the pier.

A vendor prepares fried potatoes at the pier.

Outside of the cockfighting ring in Bintuan.

Outside of the cockfighting ring in Bintuan.

Spectators size up the fighting roosters before placing bets at a cockfight at the Bintuan fiesta.

Spectators size up the fighting roosters before placing bets at a cockfight at the Bintuan fiesta.

This cock won the fight but was still badly injured.

This cock won the fight but was still badly injured.

Taking bets at a local cockfight.

Taking bets at a local cockfight.

No trespassing.

No trespassing.

Dive boat at sunrise.

Dive boat at sunrise.

Avoiding sea urchins and pointy coral at low tide.

Avoiding sea urchins and pointy coral at low tide.

Biking through Northern Palawan.

Biking through Northern Palawan.

Fishing nets.

Fishing nets.

Laughing on the ferry.

Laughing on the ferry.

A tourist picks at his sunburnt skin.

A tourist picks at his sunburnt skin.

Cheesy and beautiful.

Cheesy and beautiful.

 

Standard
My Year in Pictures

15 from ’15

medicinal cannabis uk, sativex uk

Jakey works on his computer after taking a dose of cannabis-based medicine at his home in England’s New Forest. The 14-year-old who suffers from cerebral palsy is undergoing the treatment as part of a unique clinical trial which tests the effects of cannabis on spasticity in CP. Shot during filming for my on-going interactive video documentary project, The Case for Cannabis. Watch his story here.

killarney aghadoe horse

A horse walks through the green fields of Aghadoe, Ireland. It didn’t want a carrot but it did stop for a snap.

Amina Khalid fled from war torn Somalia as a teenager. She now heads Peace Begins at Home, an organisation that facilitates intergenerational conflict resolution workshops in the UK. Shot for Initiatives of Change magazine, Changemakers.

Amina Khalid fled from war torn Somalia as a teenager. She now heads Peace Begins at Home, an organisation that facilitates intergenerational conflict resolution workshops in the UK. Shot for Initiatives of Change magazine, Changemakers.

I walked up Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain one day. The Atlantic, Killarney National Park and general craggy goodness were all in view.

I walked up Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain one day. The Atlantic, Killarney National Park and general craggy goodness were all in view.

Kellie Maloney, Frank Maloney

Kellie Maloney is a British transgender boxing promoter formally known as Frank. She is well known as the outspoken manager of the undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. Photographed at her home in Kent for Rolling Stone.

damien walking through the fields

Damien walks through the backyard of his farm. What a strange and special gift, this land.

Dame Julia Cleverdon

Dame Julia Cleverdon is Special Adviser to the Prince’s Charities. Listed by The Times as one of the 50 most influential women in Britain. Shot at her home in North London for Dumbo Feather Magazine.

deon

I got hitched and my best friend(s) came. New York all up in rural Ireland.

george

George suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a progressive, incurable neuropathic disease. After battling depression, addiction and other negative side effects from opiate-based prescribed medicines, he turned to cannabis as an alternative. He is a cannabis advocate courageously campaigning for medicinal access to the drug for himself and others in his position. Photographed inside his personal, medicinal grow room on the Isle of Wight in England for my UK Case for Cannabis project.

skellig, skellig michael, star wars filming ireland

This is my friend and awesome video journalist Rick, on a boat to Skellig Michael. He is trying not to get sea sick. It was a cold and rocky ride. But not as bad as what it must have been like for the 6th century Christian monks who rowed out to the tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to set up shop.

nick at westminster 2

Nicolas suffers from colitis, disc degenerative disease, and fibromyalgia. He uses medicinal cannabis to control the painful symptoms of his chronic illnesses. He is the owner and CEO of UKCBD, a 100% legal, UK-based cannabis oil and hemp product dispensary. Nick has been kind enough to let me film him for the last 18 months as part of the Case for Cannabis project. This was shot on the day we went to Westminster to campaign for medicinal access to raw, herbal cannabis.

broadwayjunction

Coming home. Leaving again. I always shoot the bench at this station as I transfer to and from JFK. It’s always the same, stability in the change.

mom&michal

My sister got married. The women took turns getting gussied up. I’m in the shirt too.

northamptonroof

It was April but it was still frosty in Northampton, my first introduction and home in England. Consistently listed as one of the “Worst Places to Live in the UK”. Not because of the chill.

Rest in peace, Mama.

Standard
Update

Hello

Hello,

It’s been a very busy year.

My pre – New Year’s resolution is to share more work in this space.

At the moment I’m shooting, teaching, collaborating and traveling a lot.

In the interim, I’m pleased to say I have been named the Guardian Student Multimedia Journalist of the Year 2015 for my ongoing interactive video project, The Case for Cannabis.

The project is still in its prototype stage; I am continuing to add voices to this piece and am planning to expand this work into a feature length doc.

I will also be continuing other editorial work (stills & video) in the new year including time back in SE Asia. Yes.

Upcoming travel dates:

Bangkok: Feb 13-15
Bhutan: Feb 15 – May 15

Thanks for having a look.

Be in touch.

K

kara@karafox.com

@karadaniellefox

 

Standard
Medical Cannabis UK, Opinion, Video

Meet George: husband, father and committed activist

George Hutchings is a 47-year-old suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a rare and progressive neurological condition. After a prescribed 65-gram a week dose of opiates and other narcotics nearly cost him his life, George now medicates only with cannabis. It’s the only drug that works, he says.

Watch George’s Story on Vimeo by Kara Fox.

Standard
Live Blog, Local London, Politics, Published

Tower Hamlets Declares New Labour Mayor

Meet my new all-nighter: London election coverage.

Early this morning, London’s East End declared Labour’s John Biggs as elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Biggs beat runner-up and independent candidate Rabina Khan by 6,370 votes.

The win for Biggs is especially poignant for the Labour party in a time when both direction and support of the party remains a challenge.

Biggs, a Labour Party member since 1981, was a Councillor in Tower Hamlets between 1988-2002.

He was defeated by a small margin in the 2014 mayoral election by former mayor Luftur Rahman. The results of that election have since been declared void by the High Court after Rahman was removed from office and found guilty of election fraud earlier this year.

Yesterday’s election re run was peppered with its own scandal – in the lead up to yesterday’s vote, Rahman’s protégé Rabina Khan remained at the centre of a police investigation into alleged fraudulent electioneering practices.

For a more extensive look at the re-run election ballot, check out this coverage.

John Biggs, Tower Hamlet's new Mayor, speaks to members of the press after the election result.

New mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs speaks to members of the press after his acceptance speech.

Independent candidate Rabina Khan left the building quickly after losing the bid for mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Independent candidate Rabina Khan left the building quickly after losing the bid for mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Labour party supporters cheer as the results of the Tower Hamlets mayoral race are declared.

Labour party supporters cheer as the results of the Tower Hamlets mayoral race are declared.

Electoral commission staff begin the verification process at the ExCeL Centre.

Electoral commission staff can barely control their enthusiasm as they begin the verification process at London’s ExCeL Centre.

Standard