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Day 104: Gantey

Michael Palin - HimalayaIn the afternoon we ride a pair of small and very truculent horses up the hill to get a wider view of the valley. Last night's snow lies crisp and even up here, and we unpack our lunch and make a fire.

Benji, once again, didn't see us do this. So strict are the environmental laws in Bhutan's national parks that timber and branches must be left where they fall, and cannot be moved by anyone without special permission. As 28 per cent of Bhutan is designated national park, there's a lot of firewood going begging.

Benji points above us, to the hanging lichens that cover the trees like dust sheets in a shuttered-up house, 'This is an indicator of good-quality air, you know. Shows the air is very good up here.'

We return the horses to the park-keeper and walk back through the village. The houses are good-looking, rectangular in plan and usually of two storeys, the lower one for livestock, the upper for the family, with an open loggia below the roof, not for cocktails or deck chairs at sunset, but for drying crops and storing wood and cattle fodder.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 104: Gantey
  • Country/sea: Bhutan
  • Place: Gantey
  • Book page no: 242

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