The Kingdom of Bhutan, shut in on all sides by 20,000
foot high eastern Himalayan mountains, may be the most
isolated country in the world-- a virtue that greatly
appealed to Jimmy Goldsmith. It has only one paved
air strip, under the Tiger Claw Monastery at Paro, so
Jimmy's pilots had to spend a week in the lynx trainer
in London practicing the approach, so they could land
his G-2b yesterday.
In Thimphu, we are met by Prince Lhenduo "Lenny"
Dorji, the King's uncle. Lenny, who helped set
up our trip, was a Charles Bronson look alike. I first
met him Cornell. He then returned to Bhutan, became
prime minister (a position to which the Dorji family
has a hereditary right), then got into trouble and went
into exile in Nepal, where I ran into him again at a
New Year Eve party. Soon afterwards, his niece
married the king, and he was allowed to return to Bhutan.
His attractive 28-year old daughter, Khendum, who flew
in with us, was given the national travel concession
(even though only a few hundred tourists a year were
given visas), so were were treated very well. Lenny
was off to lead a Buddhist procession up a mountain. He
proposes a banquet for us at his home on his return.
Khendum, meanwhile, takes
Jimmy, his girl friend Laure Boulay, and myself of a
tour of the royal palaces, the herbal medicine hospital,
and the archery competition. She says that in
Bhutan there are no lawyers, no television, and no movie
theaters. We also learn divorce is instantaneous,
and, instead of a GNP, there is a National Happiness
Product. The idea of an alternative Utopia favorably