Day 105: Gantey to Thimpu
He himself was the son of farmers and recognizes that, by many international standards, Bhutan remains backward. Literacy is a little over 50 per cent and television only came here five years ago. But though life is hard, he doesn't think this is a bad thing. Unemployment is quite high here and this worries him more than lack of money.
'The Buddhist version of poverty is a situation where you have nothing to contribute.'
He feels that in Bhutan there is still a strong sense of, as he puts it, 'unison with the earth'.
'In San Francisco I felt lost. Everywhere you go you have billboards telling you that you need to buy this or that, or the latest Cherokee four-wheel drive, but here we have different kind of billboards.'
A coach pulls up and a line of docile tourists file past us into the café.
'We have the prayer flags, we have the temples. These are our markers, you know, reminding you, in the Buddhist way, that you are not here for ever.'
Choose another day from Himalaya