Today I went for a run. Initially I thought the altitude may be a force to be reckoned with… Ha. I ran down a dirt path, passing several adults and children on my right and three stray dogs on my left. Over the music on my ipod I heard a scuffle and witnessed my first dog fight. Nobody flinched or looked twice, at which point I tried to play it cool and not shout, “Is anyone seeing this?!?! We all good here?”
I felt relieved to be on a paved road moments later. The roads in Bhutan are quite narrow. There are few cars on the road, but everyone honks at you as they pass. Not a “Hey baby, going my way honk?” honk, but more like a, “It looks like I am about to run your ass over, but I see you, so I may just come close.”
Last night at dinner, I was fortunate to hear the story of an old women who was mauled to death by her ox, which her family consequently sold. Luckily oxen don’t come with Carfax reports in Bhutan. No wonder the next scene freaked me out a bit.
As I took in the lovely scenery during the downhill portion of my run, around the corner came two cows. Behind them were four little boys chasing the cows with sticks. I still have a hard time telling how old the children are here, but I am getting better. In the midst of the whole scene, all I could notice was that they were about shoulder high. My mind was jumping around to more applicable thoughts such as, “Holy crap! Those cows are hauling! They are on each side of the road and I will have to go through the middle of them. They each have horns; sharp ones. Will I get the wrath of the irritation these kids caused?”
Traveling teaches you to read the faces of the people around you to assess situations. As I saw the boys laughing I tried to play it cool, but in my head as I crossed through the middle of the beasts I thought silently, "F***, F***, F***, No throwing F bombs in Bhutan, Jennifer, but F***."
The cows passed and each boy smiled, shouting a greeting. The last of the four kids used his little hand to give me an endearing swift pat on the shoulder. “Hi!” he smiled, but I knew in the back of his mind he was thinking, “Got ya ma’am, should’ve seen your face. See you again this time tomorrow!”
On my way back up the hill, I saw what appeared to be the same cows below me caged up. I thought, “Who’s laughing now”, at which point I had to instantly check myself and laugh at my ridiculousness.
I think I will pitch an idea to NBC when I get back to California: Wipeout Bhutan Style. Why leap through man made spinning obstacles when you can take on a pack of wild dogs, while dodging the arrows of real archery playing children in ghos.