Thailand and Bhutan

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Traveling to Punakha Dzong in March 2010

Thailand and Bhutan are places of contrasts; ancient and modern, past and present flow together in a kind of perfect dance.  In terms of material culture and the structure of the communities, often both past and present live side by side….not really seamlessly, but certainly together.

Our travels to Thailand and Bhutan definitely reflect the challenges both societies face in addressing modern issues like global warming or economic determinism….the questions we will encounter and will certainly inform our trip.

The photo above, of Punakha Dzong was taken traveling in a mini-bus on a small two-lane dirt and gravel road in Wangduphodrang province in Bhutan.  The Dzong stands as it has for more than 500 years sitting between two rivers.  The building itself houses government officials and monks (sometimes one and the same), young folks attending monastic training, and a giant hive of bees living above the front entrance way to the building.

This building, constructed of something very much like adobe and cement mortar, reminded us of churches in New Mexico built during the Spanish period.  The massive walls, thick enough to support the tall sides of the structure, represent the power and authority of the building itself.  The solid, white walls stand out from the hills that surround the structure making a clear distinction between this building and the environment around it.

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