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”