Leaving Melbourne winter and arriving in Kathmandu was something like being slapped around with a hot sweaty dusty doormat, and I really wasnt ready for it.
All of a sudden the 15oz Denim I was wearing seemed totally irrelevant and all I could think about was a shower and stripping down.
Within the first hour I did one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done in the history of traveling. I left my pack in the taxi whilst going in with the taxi’s tout dude to check out a hotel.
I was doing this just to shut him up and eventually as promised take me to the actual hotel I wanted.
So we’re in side for less than two minutes, come back out and the taxi is gone.
With a bunch of snickering construction workers milling about, the tout dude turns to me in response to my disdain, and says “owe my godt, were dis yaw buhg” it was so comical and surreal I had to stop myself from laughing. But I start to size up which part of his huge fat head I will attack.
After a few heated demands, he was legitimately(?) concerned for my bag and we begin running down the street after this taxi. I wonder how dumb we look to everyone around us, another sucker that fell for that scam? Or what the hell is going on there?
So the run ended up turning into us jumping into another taxi, and him directing in Nepali “follow that taxi!”, again too comical to be real and I start to wonder how I’m going to continue this trip without the contents of that bag.
We eventually catch taxi #1, with my bag still inside, and the whole thing turns out to be a mis-understanding. The taxi driver was new and didnt realize he was suppose to wait when we went into the touts hotel. And the tout (a government employee) was commending me for taking a registered taxi, not some random off the street. And “if dis was India, yaw buhg gone forever, bye bye buhg”.
Lesson learnt! Idiot.
Central Thamel, the tourist/backpacker hub, is a labyrinth of poky little streets and laneways all selling exactly the same shit. Its so easy to get lost, try to retrace your steps and you find another shop selling that hiking gear, or another stall with those wood carvings.
Every 30 seconds of walking the streets, one or more of the following happens:
‘Hey Mr! Where you from, ohh Australia, Canberra capital” – this guy wants to be your local friend/guide.
“Hey Mr! How are you? How long you stay in Nepal? You want trek” (pulls out a business card) – this guys wants to be your travel agent.
“(in a whisper) Hey Mr, you want smoke, Hashish? Gunja? I have good one” – this guy wants to be your dealer.
The thing that is absolutely hardest, looking like a white cracker with a blending in possibility of 1%.
I went for a huge walk today, to the local market and around way out of town, and you’d think I was the first white person to ever set foot.
It was the type of situation where you definitely didn’t want to have the camera even bulging out your pocket, and despite having no idea at all you walk with the confidence that you’ve been there for years.
Inbetween glares, I manage a few snaps..
Alu Tikka Chat 100NR, $1.40AU
I’m offline for the next few weeks, check back then.