Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bhutan on my mind...

Pale_blue_skyBhutan was on my mind quite a lot lately. Maybe because of a dream I had the other night. Oh shut up! Not THAT kind of dream! What were you thinking???

I dreamt I was back in Bhutan. And in fact, I do indeed want to return.

My last journey was cut short due to the lame attempts at terrorist activity by the local Maoist rebels. And instead of exploring more of the country, at the recommendation of my tour operator we made a mad dash for the border. I understand it was for my own safety and protection. And I did get a refund for the “unused” days of my pre-paid trip.

But I think that for my next expedition to Bhutan, I will use a different company. And why wouldn’t I? There are more than 300 tour operators in Bhutan alone, and they all need to make a living somehow, you know? And that’s not even counting those outside the country. They’re all supposed to be government approved, they have to be in order to apply for visas for their clients, and provide the same level of service.

To be perfectly honest, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my previous company. From the looks of it, they actually seemed better than some others I noticed along the way. The guide was super-knowledgeable and went above and beyond his call of duty. The driver had nerves of steel, and even let me behind the wheel for a while - very much against the law. And the boss took upon himself to arrange permits for places normally not open to tourists. All under the assumption that I was a practicing Buddhist - that one semester spent at a Buddhist university sure came in handy.

So, how am I going to pick a new tour company? Why do you think I insisted on bringing back a Bhutanese phone book with me? Because I like to carry heavy objects around for kicks and giggles? Duh!

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