Mette Rolff’s Nordic blond hair was pulled back neat against the nape of her neck as she gazed across the Copenhagen skyline from her apartment window. “I loved the Chitwan jungle, but it was a trying time.” She smiled evasively, but the understatement did not hide the pain behind her eyes. “But life has moved on, let’s not dwell on those days.” Turning to me she crossed her delicate ankles and once again blocked the conversation, shying away from sharing any indiscretions with her young visitor.
I was visiting Denmark ostensibly to promote Nepal, but was hoping to glean from Mette more about her time in Chitwan during the early 1960s, married to John Coapman, the Indian-born son of American missionaries who had first built Tiger Tops Hotel, as it was then called. Never having met him, I had a shadowy image of a big blustery man with a rifle slung across his shoulders, a sort of South Asian Hemingway figure without the charm or the writing.