After a much needed night of good sleep, our exploration of Bhutan began today by seeing some of the highlights of Paro. Bhumika and Tashi continued as our guides and took us to the College of Education in Paro to look around and visit with some of the faculty. The campus of the College of Education is relatively new and stunning – with buildings built with traditional architecture and paintings on the buildings. At the College, we were able to meet with the Dean of Research, Rinchen. He met with us over tea and explained the role of the College of Education as a training institution for pre-service and in-service teachers as well as for school leaders. We also discussed the challenge of making education a highly valued profession by society as well as by prospective teachers; a challenge that seems common to both Bhutan and the United States, probably around the world.

Our afternoon took us to the National Museum of Bhutan that sits near the watchtower (a historic building originally built in 1649) above the city of Paro. The Museum was relocated from the watchtower to a newer building next to it in 2011 after a strong earthquake in 2011 caused structural damage to the watchtower that is still being repaired. We were able to see beautiful masks and tapestries from Bhutan as well as a new exhibit on the natural history of Bhutan (no pictures allowed here). The view of the Paro valley from the watchtower and museum is spectacular and we enjoyed wandering around the cypress tree and rose bush (not in bloom during the winter months) lined paths.

Our team is doing well overall. Dr. Doug Wachob is working hard to stick up for himself as the only male member of our group. Dr. Kate Welsh is serving as an extra guide for our group since she was able to visit Bhutan in March 2011 with a delegation from the University of Wyoming. Tracy Logan enjoys learning about the architecture and art we are surrounded by. All of us are enjoying LOTS of delicious food, and we are trying hard to stay warm – the temperatures outside get down to the 30s overnight but there is no central heating so inside is often colder than outside.