The Drive to Thimphu
To blow out the cobwebs of this mild dance embarrassement and a whole week of minimal exercise and excessive marking (115 book reviews and 115 letters to pen pals), I came down to Thimphu with my friend and school librarian-cum-office-assistant-cum-general-procuror-cum-taxi driver, Penpa, who drives us down to Thimphu every Saturday after school, often along with the Games and PE instructor, Ugyen. Ugyen is a twenty-four year old Thimphu native who, in his inimitably good natured and absent-minded style, has been playing the field a bit on his weekend outings and Penpa often delights in telling me of Ugyen’s latest romantic adventures. Ugyen’s obvious embarrassment and vagueness on this topic only adds to the humour of the situation.
“Any plans this weekend, Ugyen?” I will typically ask on these journeys down to town.
“Ah, some work helping my parents, I think,” will be his typical vague answer.
“Helping his attractice, young, female, single parents!” Penpa will interject with glee.
“Ah ha! So that’s what you’re up to! Who’s the special lady, Ugyen?” I will ask.
“Special ladies!” Penpa jumps in with a smile.
“No, no.” Ugyen will protest.
“Ladies! Ugyen! You dawg!”
“Yes! Yes!” Penpa will continue, “One girl is not enough for Ugyen Wangchuk! He has so many girls messaging him that he can’t decide which one to see!”
This kind of banter continues all the way to town, with Penpa stopping from time to time to pick up or drop off extra passengers. On one occasion, a female college-aged student was waiting by the side of the road and gestured for the taxi to stop. Penpa pulled over but for some reason when the girl looked in the cab, she waved it on, indicating that she didn’t want a ride after all.
“Maybe she was frightened of us chillips (foreigners),” Lucy offered.
“No no!” said Penpa, “She was frightened of Ugyen Wangchuk! She knows his reputation!”
We all erupt into fits of laughter – even Ugyen cracking a big smile.