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Bhutan gets first woman cabbie!

On her first day behind the wheel, several male cabbies stopped to honk and yell at T Lhamo.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 18:00 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Tshering Lhamo, believed to be the first woman taxi driver in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan, has found it to be a man's world, the country's national newspaper Kuensel said on Thursday.

To start with, male taxi drivers teased her at the training course conducted by the Road Safety and Transport Authority.

"I was so embarrassed I quit the course after the first day," Lhamo, 22, told the newspaper.

But she returned two months later and ignored the taunts to go on to pass the driving test, which almost half the men failed.

On her first day behind the wheel, however, several male cabbies stopped to honk and yell at her.

"I think they could not believe what they saw," Lhamo told the newspaper.

"Even the traffic police stopped me several times to check if I had the required licence."

Bhutan, a country of 634,000 people wedged between India and China, has witnessed rapid change since its king decided in 2005 to give up absolute power to prepare for a constitutional monarchy by 2008.

The country's slogan, coined by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, is that gross national happiness is more important than gross national product.

The spirit of change appears to be filtering down to male cabbies. They grudgingly admit that Lhamo is getting more and more customers in the capital Thimphu since she started driving four months ago, the newspaper said.

"She being a woman, I presume passengers trust her more," a male cabbie named Dorji told the newspaper.

First Published: May 30, 2006 17:43 IST