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Himalaya

Day 104: Gantey

Michael Palin - HimalayaBreakfast conversation is dominated by wet bed stories. As the only one whose hot-water bottle didn't leak, I feel rather left out.

My Bhutanese host and guide has been up for some time doing crossword puzzles, to which he's addicted. Dasho Benji ('call me Benji') is what one might call a larger than life figure. A colourful character. He's the King's cousin, and, over a period of 30 years, has held positions of power in Bhutan from Home Affairs to Chief Justice to Minister of the Environment. No longer a member of the government, he uses his considerable influence to pursue the environmental causes that are his first love. He also likes to go to Calcutta for golf and horse racing and is generous with his drink. He makes no apologies for enjoying the fast life, but now, at the age of 60, he's having to move into the middle lane as his body registers the toll of many happily misspent years. His broad, ruddy face is dominated by a pair of deep-set, ever so slightly bloodshot eyes, which seem naturally attuned to merriment and give little indication of the hard times he has known. His father, who was Prime Minister of Bhutan, was assassinated while in office.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 104: Gantey
  • Country/sea: Bhutan
  • Place: Gantey
  • Book page no: 240

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