001 Punaka Dzong
June, 2000. I spent three weeks trekking in Bhutan with my long time friends Jay and Allan. We had talked for several years about doing something special when we turned 50. Our time in Bhutan was the adventure we were looking for. After a 24 hour plane journey we landed in Paro, Bhutan after stops in Bangkok and Calcutta. Immediately we are struck by the differences as we walk through town. Everyone is dressed in the traditional clothes and few cars are on the street. In the parks, men are practicing the national sport, archery. After a days rest we set out on our 80 mile trek, crossing 2 passes over 16,000'. While June is the start of the monsoon season and we have lots of cloudy, drizzly weather, it does keep other tourists away. The Buddhist culture and easy pace of life is evident everywhere. As we trek, we are invited into many homes and dzongs(temples). We end our trek in Thimpu, the capital. Thimpu has NO traffic lights due to almost no automobile traffic. Bhutan only has a few thousand tourists a year pass through the country and TV and the internet have yet to make major changes in the culture. The sad thing is, it is just a matter of time before that changes.