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Balloons of Bhutan, Jonathan Harris

Balloons of Bhutan is a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom.

In late 2007, I spent two weeks in Bhutan, interviewing 117 different people about different aspects of happiness. I asked people to rate their level of happiness between 1 and 10, and then inflated that number of balloons, so very happy people would be given 10 balloons, and very sad people would be given only one. I also asked each person to make a wish, and then wrote that wish on a balloon of their favorite color.

On the final night, all 117 wish balloons were re-inflated and strung up at Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at 10,000 feet, and left to bob up and down in the wind, mingling with thousands of strands of prayer flags. (read more)

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