Now that I have been in Bhutan, living and working, I am beginning to have a few things to relate besides travel commentary. Last Sunday I walked from here to the next village via the old “road”. This is a route, probably hundreds of years old, which was the main access through Gaselo to the next Village. It is well laid out, an efficient traverse along one side of the gorge and out along the opposite slope. Only a few miles but beautiful. In many places there are old stones placed as uneven stairs or stepping stones, easy to use and better than slip sliding in the mud and dirt. The tiny villages are scattered about everywhere there is a bit of arable land. Often quite steep but terraced with some gentle spots for building. The houses of the villages do not appear to have any pattern. There is enough open space between to walk, sometimes areas that look almost lawn like. A bit like a nice campground with tents scattered about. It a little disconcerting for us who live in the realm of private property who can be worried about walking where we should not. Seems as though everywhere here one is welcome to pass wherever it looks good.
This fits with the incredible communal sociability of the Bhutanese. They are in and out of each other’s places all the time. Very few secrets of any kind. Salary is handed out and discussed openly. Students standings and exam results from last year are posted. Offenses at school can be punished by the students doing prostrations in front of the whole school during morning assembly. Everyone is open and accepting of all that goes on around them. The Bhutanese hold in very high regard a respect for the earth and all its inhabitants but this does not include in the least the American idea of respect for privacy. Although Bhutanese put a padlock on everything and tell you to be careful because not everyone is to be trusted the doors are generally not very secure and in general people are very trusting. Apparently people will take things if they are available, sort of like finders keepers, but a simple lock is a reminder to let things be. In general it is a very honest and open society that wants to get along and do well. I very much like this aspect of the culture as it does lead me to understand that people in larger groups can live so openly. Of course a small, cohesive, homogenous society like the Bhutanese is much more conducive to this way of life than a huge, incredibly varied and diverse society like we have in the US.