A dog with laryngitis wakes me up before dawn in Thimpu, barking in hoarse, half-hearted spurts. The light rises over the rooftops of the capital city, catching a large Buddha statue in profile against the misty hills.
On the drive to the central states, we pass a small valley choked with mist. The characteristic square roofs of the Bhutanese buildings peek out of the mist, and orange light adds a tinge of color to the scene.
The road to the central states, like all Bhutanese roads, hug the hills and the mountainsides. Wide enough for two cars, and often without a guardrail separating the road from the sheer drop of cliff, the roads of Bhutan are not for the faint. Thankfully I have experience riding shotgun in the crazy traffic of Bangkok and Bombay and the highways of Vietnam, where in the middle of the night, you could be on a highway speeding toward a cargo truck while overtaking a slower vehicle on your lane, only to veer into safety and continued well being at the last minute. I was prepared; I could stare through the windshield of the vehicle looking for images and considerably ignore that there was nothing much separating me from a fall to certain death at elevations of hundreds of feet.
Love is like this: you feel like dying, but you are absolutely alive.