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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Humble Abode

I created this lovely video tour of my apartment, but technical difficulties have kept it in the editing room so
I have settled for a written version (but if you're interested check back because I am determined to get that
video up one way or another!)

Upon our arrival in Bumthang on Sunday evening, I discovered I still had no place to live. The original site had been chosen by people not from the area and when the Rangers went to get the keys, they deemed it unacceptable. Apparently it was way too big, quite far from work, and haunted. (Yes, haunted). That idea was scrapped and after an all day scramble, they found me a new place to settle down. Located in Dekiling village in Bumthang, I have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, second-story apartment... it rents for $76 a month.

This is not like an apartment back in America. While it is quite large, it has no heat, no insulation, no hot water, no closets, and the kitchen's furnishings begin and end with some shelves. We had to bring in a table to set my glorified camp stove on. I have a propane tank connected to the stove and pretty much live off pasta, rice, eggs, assorted vegetables, and fruits.

Of the two bathrooms, only one has a functioning toilet so the other has been deemed the "laundry room." There isn't a mirror (which may be a blessing in disguise) and the "shower" is a set of knobs that stick out from the cement wall at waist level. Washing my hair is a chore and involves boiling 3 liters of water, pouring it in a bucket, adding cold water and lathering up from there; bathing occurs in the same fashion. Laundry is done a similar manner and by hand, one item at a time. I have clotheslines outside but the wind lately has scattered clothing up and down the street so I just drape wet clothes over the many doors and they drip dry... eventually.

My bedroom is where I spend the majority of my time when home. My heat source is a 3 foot tall rectangular unit that plugs into the wall and heats the room well enough. Initially the bed that was brought was only 5' 6'' long since it was for a female and here they barely hit 5'. That had to be removed and now I sleep one a wood plank bed that is 6 feet long. On top of that is a 3 inch foam matress, a sheet, my sleeping bag (complete with liner) and two heavy blankets. Thats all that is in the room. My clothes are laid out on the floor on the extra mat and sheets brought for camping.

Being on the second story gives me added security and there is only one set of very steep and narrow stairs that lead to my front door. The landlord lives on the floor above me with his wife and 5 daughters. I am lucky that he speaks English and is working on getting me a brokhuri (type of wood stove) to help with the heat. So far I am making it okay and have had no major problems. It takes a little getting used to but I am getting there. Besides, I just have to look out my windows to be reminded to the best feature.. the view.

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