Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My first impression of Nepal

Nepal is not how I imagined at all. I imagined snow capped mountains, cold weather and chilly nights around a log fire. In India I picked up lots of winter clothes along the way for Nepal. I should have researched more. It is monsoon season, 35 degrees, humid, sweaty, and hot and has not stopped raining since I arrived. Kathmandu city is like a clean Khosan Road in Bangkok with heaps of bars, restaurants and lots of shops selling everything you can imagine.
After a few days in the city eating momo’s, shopping and making friends with the local street hawkers I headed to Pokhara city. A clean, comfortable  6 hour drive from Kathmandu by tourist bus made a nice change to the Indian bus journeys of 16 hrs or more. Pokhara is a lush green tropical looking city. The city is built around a huge lake with all the guest houses, bars and restaurants dotted alongside the lake. It feels weird seeing so many bars, beer advertisements and people drinking everywhere after being in India. People drink in public here and do not cover up. That is the biggest shock to my system, seeing girls in short dresses, singlets and shorts. I am still covering up and went as far as to wear a singlet but still could not wear shorts. It just feels weird showing so much flesh. It feels like Thailand without sun. Imagine a dull Thailand without a beach. This is it!
I and Ella decided to spend a day checking out the local temples and visiting the biggest pagoda in Pokhara. It started and to rain so we decided to get the bus. After an hour of waiting for the bus I stuck my thumb out to hitch hike and we scored a lift in a flash 4x4 with four Nepali local men. We hopped in the back of the trailer as there was no room inside and prayed the rain would stop. After a bumpy hour up a huge winding steep mountain we arrived at the stupa. Chatting to the men we figured out one was a kernel with the guerkas, one a chairman of a Nepali charity, one a business man and the youngest one of 32 a taxi driver. After looking around the stupa and taking photos they invited us to join them for lunch at their secret local bar. They drove us into the countryside where there was a few bamboo huts in the hills surrounded by rolling green fields and hills. Drinks arrived, bottles of whisky, local millet wine, Australian red wine, beer, buffalo meat, chicken bits, cucumber and chili dip.
I have not had red wine for months. It was amazing. After spending the afternoon with them drinking, eating and chatting they invited us to party. They told us every Saturday was boy’s day when they all meet together and leave their wives and kids at home and it would be a pleasure if we joined them. The youngest kept saying it was a dream comes true we met and he will remember this day forever. We headed into the city and pulled up at a bar called ‘The dancing restaurant’. It was dark, full of restaurant tables and chairs, sofas and had a cat walk with a pole in the centre of the room. Neon lights flashed whilst akon pumped in the back ground. We were swooped on by young Nepali women dressed in tight jeans and low cut tops for our drink order on arrival. Me and Ella told the boys drinks were on us as they footed the bill in the afternoon and we settled into the sofas in our hiking gear wondering whether this was a pick up joint or a restaurant. Drinks and popcorn were served and the music changed. Indian bollywood music pumped out the speakers, the lights went on and a Nepal boy and girl strutted down the catwalk to to the beat. She was dressed in a full Indian sari whilst he wore skinny jeans, skinny t-shirt and a trilby. They danced with each other like it was a high school prom and the men at our table gave the waitresses tips for the female dancer. Next up was a group of young Nepali women bollywood dancing seductively then the finale was a young girl fully clothed swinging around the pole. Sick of wondering I asked ‘Kernel’ was we in a pick up joint and could they buy the dancers. He said no but a few of the men in the group had ‘girlfriends’ here.
Prince the youngest of the group was really drunk and was getting angry with the waitresses. One of the girls would not pay him attention so he threw the silver tray out her hand and started dragging her towards him. None of the men batted an eye lid, she was smiling and people looked on like it was nothing. Me and Ella jumped up and told him to calm down and apologized on behalf of him to the girl. We decided to finish our drinks and leave. Prince would not let us pay the bill and was causing a massive scene so we agreed he could pay. He then took his brother’s wallet and footed the bill with the help of random notes from the other men. We noticed the drinks were 4 times the price of local bars and winked at each other thanking our lucky stars he was acting like a fool footing the bill.
We said our farewells to the other men and thanked them for a good night. We promised to call them whenever we were in town on Saturday and spend a boy’s day with them again. I think I would as long as Prince behaved!
Today Ella was feeling a bit unwell so I decided to take a wander about whilst the rain was off. 5 min of walking and a 30 0dd year old guy stops his motorbike and introduces him. Within 10 min I am on the back of a motorbike with a Nepali vet on call who promises to show me the best sights of the area. We visit temples, caves, local villages and a monastery but he stars to get a bit touchy feely and tells me if I touch him he feels warm?! I decide to make an excuse to leave him and when I refuse to visit his home he spits his dummy out like a child and speeds on the bike. I tell him I must get back to my friend and jump on the next bus me see.Phew! He would never have tried anything I think like Indian men some Nepali men are very immature and act like school kids who have a crush. As soon as they meet you they are thinking of marriage, babies and dates. From now on I will say I am married!

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