Traveling with Murray

I admit it.  I take advantage of Murray.  You see, Murray will talk to anyone. He is interested in what everyone is doing and what they have to say. I just tag along and absorb the experience.

Yesterday, at the Lungchutse Temple, he helped a monk saw a board.  The monk was surprised at the offer of help. I sat, watched, grinned and took pictures.Today, we went to the School of Arts and Crafts. Woodcarving, sculpture, painting, weaving and embroidery are taught there. Tourists are welcome to wander into the classrooms and talk to the students.  When we were in one of the painting classrooms, Murray had a conversation with a few of the students about the drawings they were doing, the proportions used, whether they had sketchbooks and if they could create their own non standard artwork. I listened, looked and absorbed the conversation.

Sketch book of a student studying painting

We hiked up to a temple this morning and Murray tried the butter tea offered to him. He said it tasted like hot butter with a touch of tea. When offered a slice of bread to dip in the tea and eat, he kindly accepted it. A friendly dog became his friend when Murray dropped some bread on the ground. The dog then got the rest of the bread that Murray didn’t want to eat. I watched Murray’s face as he drank and thanked my lucky stars that I am allergic to butter.

So you see how I take advantage of Murray? He is terrific to travel with and causes me to experience all sorts of things that I am too shy to experience on my own.  I am so lucky.

I have to tell you about the strangest animal we saw today.  I thought I had seen pictures of all the animals in the world, but I have never seen a takin.  The story is this.  The Devine Madman was in a village, and the village people cooked a cow and a goat for him to eat.  He ate everything right down to the bones.  When we was done, he put the cow head on the goat bones and miraculously the creature came alive.  And that is how the takin came into being.

Takin

This takin lives in a sanctuary that was created for injured and sick animals, basically a mini-zoo. It had been decided that this facility was not in keeping with Bhutan’s environmental and religious convictions so the animals were released into the wild, but the takins stayed around Thimphu looking for food, and so they were put back into captivity.

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