On the road with Thinley
FOLLOW THE READER
WOLLSTONECRAFT, NSW IT was a make-or-break moment. My husband and I flew into Bhutan’s Paro airport for a twoweek tour with a driver cum guide. A fortnight is a long time. What if he drove like a maniac or was unsociable?
Thinley introduced himself and placed a white silk khata scarf around each of our necks as a customary Bhutanese greeting. The traditional men’s dress is the gho, a long robe hoisted to knee length and held in place with a woven cloth belt. The men also wear knee-length socks and leather shoes, trainers or trekking boots. Thinley was dressed just so and looked striking.
What was he thinking of us two senior citizens? Surely he reckoned we would never make the hike up to the Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous monastery. After all, he had accomplished the Snowman Trek eight times — it’s one of the most difficult in the world with a duration of 25 days and a maximum elevation of more than 5000m.
He was charmingly diplomatic when we asked about the Tiger’s Nest. ‘‘Some clients do and some don’t,’’ he replied. We declined.
Thinley was a delight. He arrived early each morning, with a spotless vehicle ready to do battle with the poor roads and armed with the timetable of road closures for construction. He also never exceeded 40km/h.
My husband and Thinley shared ‘‘boys’ stuff’’ as they watched sporting events such as archery and an outdoor darts game called khuru. I marvelled at the rhododendrons and the beauty of forested mountains. We shared endless cups of tea on a harmonious adventure. Send your 400-word contribution to our Follow the Reader column: travel@theaustralian. com.au. Published columnists will receive a $100 voucher for Colorado shoes. Colorado (now stocked by Williams stores) specialises in men’s and women’s lifestyle footwear. More: colorado.com.au; williamsshoes.com.au.