Last month I had one of those white people moments where I realised “I must discover myself” and booked tickets to Bhutan. I’m lying. If at 27 you don’t know who you are you should probably shoot yourself. I had wanted to go there for a while as part of my quest to visit every SAARC country (Only Sri Lanka left if you exclude Afghanistan because death) except everyone thinks it is because of The Lunchbox. Regardless, I decided to book myself on one of these package tour things and visit our friendly neighbours to the east and it is finally going to happen in 3 days. It is also the first holiday I’m going to go on alone.
The annoying thing about telling your friends about holidays is that everyone responds with “Why are you going as part of a package that’s no fun!” and even worse “Arre you should have told me I would’ve hooked you up with someone who went there for half the price”. Everyone's obsessed with telling you how best to enjoy your holiday. Personally, I’m looking forward to being herded with 6 random strangers who I’ve never met before for a week. I am hoping that because it is Bhutan it won’t be uncle aunties on a honeymoon or Marwari uncles looking for hookers like in Thailand but some pseudo-spiritual type folks who make having a drink at the end of the day interesting. Best result is that I will get some material and the worst is I’ll be holed up in a hotel room watching Homeland. (Though my hotel has archery training on request – I am hoping someone in my group gets drunk and runs around the lobby threatening to recreate the Mahabharata)
I’m still deciding whether I should just take my cellphone or be that prick with the DSLR who keeps changing lenses and shoves himself in a random crevice just to get a perfect shot of some random mountain while everyone else cools their heels. I’ve also been suitably informed that Paro airport is one of the world’s most dangerous because the 2 kilometre runway lies within three mountains and only 6-8 pilots are qualified enough to land there. Plus the weather forecast says it’ll be raining the day I land. I am mentally preparing to place the emergency oxygen mask on my ass.
I’ve also gone through a list of Do’s and Don’ts that have been sent by the package operator especially for Indians. Not surprisingly, prominent requests include:
- - Not throwing things in lakes (Bro do you even Pan Parag?)
- - Keeping the palm closed while calling out to someone (Eh monk tu roadie banega?)
- - Not leaving a cup of butter tea half sipped (OMG BUTTER TEA SOUNDS DELICIOUS!)
- - Not touching other people’s heads (Say wha? Didn’t know Bhutan had fellow Sikhs)
The only downer so far is that I’m transiting through Kolkata which as a life lesson I have learnt to always avoid because Kolkata.
See you on the other side when I’m done clicking pretentious landscapes. Also, opening applications for trip to Uzbekistan next summer. Super intrigued about its status as a sex tourism capital and it sounds like an absolutely surreal place. Who wants to come along?