Monday, 29 March 2010

Saturday 27th March

After breakfast we visited the Bhutanese Post Office - like something out of the 1920s. There didn't seem much point in posting cards with three days to go. Loads of tourists now in Thimpu and Paro for the Tsechu Festival. It seems strange after not seeing anyone for the preceeding week. Brief visit to a lookout above Thimpu which was surrounded by millions of prayer flags. This was followed by a trip to an odd zoo which is now used as a nature reserve to protect Bhutan's national animal: the Takim. A freaky cross between a sloth, a cow and a goat. This is clearly an evolutionary dead end as it manages to make even cows look athletic. I think the Bhutanese have their work cut out preserving it.

Went to a handicraft school where teenagers are taught traditional vocational skills. Bhutan seems to be slightly backwards looking in its attempts to preserve its heritage. Everything has to be copied exactly with no room for novelty or experimentation. Next a visit to a Shabdrung-era dzong. We are now starting to know our way around Bhutanese Buddhist iconography. Special lectures can be arranged on request...! Having mopped up the sights of Thimpu we drove back to Paro, ready to attend the festival tomorrow.

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