Okay. So one of my ideas of HELL is having to spend more than 15 minutes with someone I don’t know, being polite and stifling my sense of increasing boredom – and probably fury – if they trot out a lot of platitudes, cliches, smug insularity, ignorance OR excessive ‘niceness.’
Therefore, the idea of hiring a ‘guide’ has always seemed a bit . . . ‘icky’ to me. I mean, IMAGINE being trapped in someone’s company for days and having to be NICE to them – let alone pay them. Actually, there’s a funny story about this young nincompoop who was supposed to lead me and a friend up Shala River . . . but you’ll have to come visit to get that one. It’s pretty hilarious. At least we thought so. In retrospect. At the time, only my friend restrained me from murder. (For more nightmare guides, see also – if you can find it in print: Martha Gellhorn’s story “Mr. Ma’s Tigers.”)
However! It is nonetheless true that around here, in many situations you will get much further, and deeper, if you have someone trustworthy (AND likeable) to show you around, and get you in the door as it were with the “real” Tropoja. In other cases a good guide can quite possibly prevent you from encountering death-inducing situations (writes the woman who spent a night in a tree, sticking out of the side of a cliff, as a tree branch was the only horizontal perch to be found having – I might add – set out at 2pm in a sundress and tennis shoes claiming “I’m just going for a walk”). Therefore, we’ve been on the lookout for years, for guides who we can actually wholeheartedly recommend. So! Welcome to our (growing) gallery of guides, who we actually like as people, welcome the opportunity to spend time with and actively work with.
Put another way: If someone as cranky as ME likes them, I’m pretty confident you will too. Or (to be fair) you’re on the wrong website.