Monday, February 28, 2005

Paro to Thimphu

This morning we took a short "trek" to a monestery on a cliff. It is in a spectacular location, impossible to imagine how it was constructed over one thousand years ago. Unfortunately I learned as we were heading up to it, that it had been burned down in 1999. Suspicion is that some of the treasures there were robbed, and the fire was to cover it. An immense tragedy.

The monestery has been reconstructed, and it still looks amazing. The story is that the founder rode in on the back of a tigress, and seeing the building on the cliff, you can almost believe it. The views from the trail are spectacular, either looking up the cliff at the buildings, or down the mountain at the fields below.

I have been having some back trouble. Oddly the hardest thing today was the ride to the hike. Once I started walking, I was fine, but it was very difficult to get comfortable in the car first thing in the morning. It came on rather suddenly, and I hope it goes away suddenly too, but that seems unlikely.

The ride to Thimphu was about two hours, not good for my back. I did see a good bit of the countryside, the road runs mostly along the river, which cuts a relatively narrow channel and has only a few fields alongside it. There is a monument at the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu rivers, as well as a police checkpoint. It was a bit of a surprise to me, but we passed through it no problem. Thimphu looks much like Paro, but it seems to have more than one street. I was told it is the only world capital without a traffic light, and I have not yet seen one.

I am still enjoying the refreshingly cool weather. After the plane landed, I was walking around in the air, almost bathing in it. Much prefer this to the heat of India.


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