Thursday September 30, 2003 6:49 AM
I woke up dreaming about travel gear, that for sure is not the best dream that I could have had, but nonetheless that was my dream. The last time I was in Katmandu, it was very cold and uncomfortable, this time the weather is perfect. Not to hot, and not to cold, perfect for walking around, browsing, and a great time to trek… the reason I am here is the time of year. March and Septembers is supposed to be when the people climb Mount Everest.
Nevertheless, here I am dreaming about all the gear and realizing this is my chance to make a good tip. I can take real pictures of maybe 500 different types of travel products. This place is gear heaven and I can photograph, price, and explain all the gear toys in the world.
ANGER IN NEPAL
Katmandu is full of young men or boys that walk up and want you to buy either Marijuana, games, tiger balm, or other items. They are very annoying and similar to India people they will try to make you commit or make you feel guilty. Yesterday a boy walked up and said,
“I remember you. Remember me when I was small?”
“How long ago?”
“I was very young and he shows his hand being a very small boy.”
“I was here 9 months ago or so and you did not grow that much in 6 months. I do not know you.”
He had earlier said that I would give him 10 Dollars, now this is not a normal beggar, this is some real jerk. I also at the same time have this little but nice girl wanting me to buy small hand like bags following me, so we have walked about one and one-half blocks and I cannot get them to leave. I finally am tired of them and stop. I put my hands out and wave for them to proceed and leave me, I do this sometimes when people are bothering me or just walk into a shop, but nonetheless these kids could work. The young girl was working and just being too much on the guilt sale and not the normal sale.
Therefore, both were trying to extort by making me annoyed, out-lasting me, or making me feel guilty to buy or the boy just wanted 10 dollars. When I sort of pushed them along, the boy said,
“Never touch a Nepali.”
I looked at him as if I wanted to break his neck, which by the way I did, and he looked at me with extreme anger. I did not say anything because he wanted a fight and kept walking, plus I had no guilt because I did not push him, I put my hand on his back. Nonetheless, these people were too close in a crowded street and could have been trying to put their hands in my pockets and steal money, I never allow people to get this close to me and walk because they will bump and grab at my pockets.
However, when I walked away the boy starts to holler something as if I was hurting him then a few Nepal people looked at me. I think they knew him and knew he was a jerk, but what could happen is I could stop and explain and the other could enter into the extortion. Everyone on the street is in the extortion or guilt business and not just him, a good shop owner or a real shop may stop him or her, but the street vendors would gang up on me. In any situation in any country in the world if it is an argument between a local and foreigner the local will win. The solution is to leave and not talk, never try to explain, talk or look around, just walk away. However, really, there are many solutions and each situation is different.
Yesterday was a strike so there were more boys and men around selling drugs or maybe drinking. They sell or make moonshine here and I took photos of this the last time I was here, so there are many men sort of laying or passed out on the street in some locations.
I had a discussion with a man the other day and he kept saying that the Maoist would never hurt anyone, but I said they blow up bombs. Yesterday they blew up or destroyed like four vans or buses. Nobody was hurt but when you start carrying a gun or using bombs people get hurt by accident or silliness. Boys with guns are not safe.
My Canadian friend Jack used to always comment on the Mexican Military, as he said that nothing worst than giving a non-professional a gun. Truthfully, in my opinion saying that, military in other countries have such bad training and they are carrying machine guns.
Nevertheless, I said to the man that a bomb could kill a tourist by accident. I was told right before I came that the Maoist beat up an American. This was by a man and girl traveler that said the Maoist held them hostage for a very short time and wanted money.
But the point I made with my Nepal friend was,
“You can go to countries where there is NO chance of being hurt.”
He said, you are afraid. I had just shown the group of people photos of Mass Graves in Iraq so he was doing this macho thing like you are a wimp, but everyone in the room was laughing because they all knew they would not go to Iraq under any condition. Plus I gave the guy the macho look like do not be disrespectful and he stood down knowing he was out of line.
What is sad is there are bombs, strikes and other types of violence everyday and the Nepal people in the name of making money keep saying,
“You will have no problem.”
But they will not deny normally there is a chance of being killed, not a big chance but probably 10 times more than Thailand. I really feel this is dysfunctional behavior on both the Nepal people and the Tourist as both just pretend there is no danger; the better option is to understand the danger and be precautious. The normal way to deal with danger is just to deny there is a problem or to not come, to think, understand, and deal with the danger is not normal. Sort of as how the UN deals with problems, wait until they become extreme emergencies instead of prevention.
ANGEL ON THE BALCONY
On a very pleasant thought I have been exchanging smiles, glances, and waving at what feels to be a wonderful beautiful girl that lives in the next building across the balconies from me. I have this balcony and she live in this house as the multilevel home with lots of small balconies. I can walk out of my room and she will come out of the house, smile like sunshine, and then I cannot help myself and I smile. This girls had a good heart and life is very good. Hard to talk with her as she has the normal group of family member protecting her, she is about 24 and they still protect girls here until they get married, so to get closer I would have do some diplomacy and prove I am being a good guy. The bad part is this would be the real and complete actions of courting a girl to marry and anything less than sincere courtship and I would be bounced off the situation.