Nepal

Image (5)Nepal 2

We could scarcely afford to make this trip as a family, but after spending entire lives in Southern Asia our children needed to see exotic Nepal before finally saying goodbye to the sub-continent 1985 and heading to a new assignment location in Singapore where they would further their education.

Our small aircraft taxied into the Katmandu airport; noses of our two children pressed firmly against the windows observing the change in culture while breathtaking scenes of the Himalayas exploded in the background.

Between work assignments I was able to spend accumulated holiday time with the family as they explored this wonderland. On everyone’s list of Nepal “must do’s” is an early morning flight along the Himalayan spine. Gleaming spires of familiar mountains catch rays of the rising sun and hurl them into the plane. The 6 am flight around these majestic mountains is a popular tourist activity, so we were lined up bright and early next morning with cameras at the ready for our tourist experience.

After such a trip there are few activities to match the thrill of Himalaya viewing. We had time before flying back to India after completing our tour, so decided to check Katmandu Bazaar area and see if there was anything unique to take with us to remember the occasion. We’d spent a good portion of our lives in Hindu culture, so Nepal temples held little interest for us. We were beginning to feel tired and decided to return to our hotel.

As often happens in this part of the world we were adopted by a ‘helpful’ tout who urged us to stop and examine trinkets along the way. Such people expect to be rewarded for their valuable time, and cannot comprehend it when you decline their services. Some of them can become belligerent and it’s often prudent to reward and send them away rather than create an embarrassing scene to be enjoyed by an inevitable instant crowd.

Not wanting the wares offered us by this tout we were treated to a torrent of abuse interspersed with the most colorful language I’d heard since army days. Our children pressed close, and looked inquiringly at us as we sped toward the hotel with our unwanted guest in hot pursuit shouting abuse. We’d quite enough of our trip to Nepal!

Making enquiries from respectable local people we learned it was drug filled expatriate hippies who taught these colorful English words and unhealthy practices to the touts and bazaar merchants. They demonstrated the dregs of Western Culture to the people of Nepal. How glad I was to learn there were other foreigners in Nepal who had a different orientation. The English Language School in Katmandu operated by a Mission taught a better part of our Western culture, and Western Development Agencies were respected because they were there to help rather than exploit the local population.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014. All rights reserved”

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Madhu says:

    Have yet to visit Nepal. The fly by the Himalayas is high on my bucket list. The touts are part of the Nepal experience from what I hear from other travelers.
    PS: I have been getting the warning when I click on your name link as well. In fact right now the ‘https’ and the lock icon on my address bar – preceding your URL- are both crossed out in red!

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    1. I don’t know what to do about that. I know I have a good virus control program and firewall. I notice it directs to a http site rather than a https site. I wonder if that is the problem. Will take a look at that possibility. Thanks for flagging it again.

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  2. Stunning photos. “drug filled expatriate hippies who taught these colorful English words and unhealthy practices to the touts and bazaar merchants.” HUH!

    Ian, when I tapped your username (by your gravatar) in a comment you left to get here, I got a warning that said it was an untrusted connection and gave me the option to “get outa here!” A scary page. You want to look into that bc it’s an unfriendly road block for readers who want to chk out your site.

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    1. I get that message about WordPress whenever I sign in or out so figured it must be that they didn’t have a trusted web site certificate with Microsoft and have been ignoring it. I have a good virus and firewall program so don’t know how to fix that. Is this the first time you’ve had that problem?

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      1. I went into my security settings and added it to my trusted sites. Let’s see if you still have that problem.

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  3. Mags Corner says:

    That must be a fantastic place to see. How fortunate your girls are to have seen so much beauty and learn all they have about so many parts of the world. Another enjoyable post sweet Ian. Hugs

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    1. Well my girls seem to have enjoyed their travels as they grew up. They along with their families still travel whenever they can. There is so much to see in our world.

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  4. Jane Thorne says:

    Great story Ian and what a memory of Nepal. Some travel in light and some leave a stain….you are light. x

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    1. How nice! What a goal to aim for.

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  5. I had to laugh, sorry. I suspect a couple of friends from my past might have been the hippie teachers you speak of, thought they weren’t drugged out ner’do wells. Katmandu is one of those places, though high in the mountains I have on my bucket list, it is fascinating and beautiful.

    Your travels amaze Ian. Your family are fortunate in their experiences.

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    1. My travels amaze me when I look back on them too. I’m a country boy whose ambition as a teen was to be a partner in the CPA firm I worked for in a small town. But life turned out to be a whole lot more interesting than that. I guess I went through my hippie years and wouldn’t have been much different to the friends you talked about. lol. I’m glad that I did a reality check in my early 20s and saw what a shallow life that was.

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  6. borika45 says:

    I agree with jstanfield. your amazing stories and travelogues would make a fabulous family treasure to hand down. this piece reminded me of the time our daughter taught in Nepal as a volunteer for a year. If you two got together, you could probably write a book!

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    1. As I recall, Coralie stayed with us in Singapore on her return from Nepal. That was a long time ago Barb.

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  7. Eric Alagan says:

    You’re shared another vignette of your varied experience, Ian and I thank you for this. Plus I quite enjoyed that part about the ‘helpful tout’. LOL! People do tend to pick up the worst very quickly.

    Recently, a lost Bangladeshi worker – there are thousands in Singapore, toiling away in construction sites – accosted me for directions. I say accosted as he was quite rude but I put this down to the raw environment he worked in. I pointed him in the right direction but he insisted that it was the wrong direction. Sorry, but I live here and I think I know this place better. He was insistent – spoke fairly good English too. When I shook my head and replied that I can’t really help him – he spewed vulgarities! Can you believe that?

    I made clear that one more word and I will give him a knuckle sandwich.

    He ran across the road – into screeching traffic – stood on the opposite side and continued to spew vulgarities. I was pretty convinced by then that he didn’t have all his marbles.

    Well, I called the cops, gave them a description and the direction he took off and went my way.

    Coming back to your Nepal trip – I’ve yet to do the Himalayas and hope to get round to it in the next few years – Inshallah!

    Jane is right – you’re building a treasure trove of life experiences which I’m sure your grandchildren will value. With modern technology it gets easier to compile journals, memoirs and autobiographies – complete with embedded photos and videos.

    All good wishes,
    Eric

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    1. Thanks Eric. Your comment reminded me of an experience I had in Singapore long ago. I had to proceed to Dhaka on business and queued up behind a long line of Bangladesh workers with an incredible amount of luggage obviously going home on vacation from their work in Singapore at the Air Canada economy counter. One well dressed Bangladeshi ran up and down the line organizing them. Then I was in for a sight I won’t forget. Each worker began putting on one pair of jeans on top of another and another along with similar treatment of jackets. The end result was each looked like you would imagine humpty dumpty looked like. The counter guy had been watching this and came and plucked me from the long line taking me to the 1st class counter and giving me an upgraded ticket. On the plane the garments were stripped off in the aisles and stored in the overhead lockers and under seats so they could sit comfortably. Just before we landed in Dhaka those layers of garments went on again. It must have been quite uncomfortable! I understood why when I got through customs and immigration, for outside a business man with a truck was collecting the garments as they were peeled off and doing an inventory as he did. Then he paid each “clothes horse” a few rupees and they went on their way. A very interesting way to avoid paying customs duty!

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  8. billgncs says:

    Thanks for a look at a place I only imagined

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    1. The scenery is absolutely amazing. The Himalayas are impressive in the distance from North India but they tower over you in Nepal. It’s quite an experience to be there. There’s an atmosphere that cannot be explained but has to be felt.

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  9. jstansfeld says:

    Ian:
    As always I enjoyed this travel post laced with details of your family. Thank you. I hope that you are compiling these into a book for your grand-children – they would treasure it.
    Jane

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    1. Thank you for reading my blogs on a regular basis. I feel very privileged having a genuine author on my list of friends. When I completed my writing diploma after retirement I can remember reading a section on biographies. One of the comments was most people consider their experiences unique, but publishers may consider one in a thousand worth the effort of printing. Hopefully my grand children will value these experiences more. lol.

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