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By A. K. Hellum

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On top of these they put vats of tar to heat. They mix the tar with the gravel, and then men wheel the mix with wheelbarrows to the parts of the road to be repaired. Because the roads are all handmade, they are only as wide as absolutely necessary. They twist and turn their way across the rough terrain that is Bhutan. Roads built any other way would probably not last one season, as a monk had told me long before. He had told me that the mountains are unstable in Bhutan and weather is indiscriminate in its harshness during monsoon rains, and in winter with snows and ice.

19 A Painter's Year in the Forests of Bhutan 20 At other times Bhutanese people must put up with the ineptitudes of the foreigner. " Nowhere else is this more evident than in archery matches. The Bhutanese are remarkably good archers, hitting targets that are so small you can hardly see them. But most of the time they patiently put up with the problems foreigners have in coping with everyday little things, such as lack of electric power, lack of "water, too many house flies, and the like. One morning in the same hotel where the waiter shared his blood, the place was infested with flies that walked all over my food.

There either is a breakdown or there is none. To plan for a disaster which has not occurred is in the realm of paranoia, not reality. I remember one day when the water supply to my apartment had failed yet another time, and I drove into Thimphu to buy breakfast at the Druk Hotel rather than worry about what was wrong. As I parked my car by the hotel, by some open ground, I heard a rattling sound as the wind blew around the corner of the hotel. I went to check and found a patch of thorn apples. The seed heads on these datura plants rattle in the wind.

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