Touring Thimphu

Trip Start Mar 15, 2008
Trip End Mar 30, 2008

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Touring Thimphu
Dear Readers:
Today is billed on our itinerary as "Unstructured" so that people can pick and choose their activities. We begin with a visit to the "Painting School," where many of the artistic crafts are taught. We observe classes in wood carving, metal engraving, weaving, sculpture, embroidery, tailoring, doll-making, and painting. All the students speak English, so it is fun to converse and ask them questions about their art as we move among them from room to room. A nearby craft shop provides an opportunity to purchase the finished products.
Our next stop is in the hills outside Thimphu at a small zoo showcasing several of the National Animal, the Takin. This animal is unlike any other in the world, and has stumped scientists as to its origins. They have given it a unique classification. Have a look at the photos, and see what you think it looks like. There are also a few deer in the zoo, including a barking deer (it does it when it is frightened, so we didn't hear any samples of its bark).
After a drive to a lookout point to take photos of the Capital Dzong, it is time for lunch at our hotel. Quite a few people break off at this point to spend some free time shopping and exploring in Thimphu. I go to the internet café for a few hours of very slow uploading to my blog.
We meet later at an archery exhibition which is winding down for the day. We are allowed to enter the Capital Dzong precisely at 5pm, as that is when the government offices close. We arrive exactly on time, and have the pleasure of watching the King leave his offices. Unfortunately the guards prevent us from taking any photographs. We spend an hour touring the massive property, and are able to enter the large shrine where the monks pray and which will be the scene of the new King's coronation in a few months.
The final touring event today is a cultural show, enabling us to view more of the dances that we were able to see at the Paro Festival. We enjoy watching the talent of these young performers. It is great to have a relaxing day after the high-energy activities of yesterday!
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