My friend was hugely interested in the operations. At last he said:
"We have no stones in our country. Before a house can be built, a road must be laid down to bring the stones for the house. And before the road can be built, a railway must be laid down to bring the stones for the road from God knows where--Finland, perhaps. The railway? It is laid, at first, on wood."
It struck me as an extraordinary statement. But I found it sufficiently true when I visited his country some eight years later.