There are just a few things to remember when meeting His Highness, the King of Bhutan. First, don’t take a picture. Secondly, remove ones hat, and well, I guess there are others, but I was not told of any more. I was never going to meet the king, so why would it matter?
So here we are birding one fine morning in Manas Royal Bhutanese Park, along the Indian border when who should come heading down the forlorn road we were birding on, but the King of Bhutan and his entourage. What does Olaf instinctively do, snap a picture.
|note the kings license plate is just "Bhutan"|
So we kept birding and it was getting hot so we moved in the bus for a moment, to cool down and then the pilot car came around the corner, and the bus stopped and out bounded Olaf to bird and get a better view of the King's Jeep, the only American made car I have seen on this trip so far.
So, around the bend comes the king’s car and it stops! The driver rolls down the window (they drive on the left here and the king is in the other side passenger side of the Jeep). He leans over and asks me. “Seen any good birds?” The King talking to ...me!
At that moment, I had nothing to say, yes, Olaf was totally speechless. I pulled out of it quickly. I literally forced out, “We’ve seen Scarlet minivets…..” Scarlet minivets I think to myself, where did that come from? I also force out, “and lots of hornbills.” I then add, “but luckily, no tigers.”
“There was one on the other side of the park.” The king responds to my addition.
“They can keep it over there.” I snark.
“What do you think of Bhutan?” He asks.
“Wonderful country.” I say. What could I say?
“Thanks for visiting us.” He concludes and the window goes up, and I see the foot go back in the car from the backseat of who I suppose now was a security guard ready to pounce should I do anything odd.
He drives off and I turn around to the pack of the other birders, including lead birder, Aaron Lang. "You didn't take your hat off Olaf!" I did not even turn back around to see the queen go by and the two princes. I smacked myself on the head for being ...an idiot.
|Female scarlet minivet|