The Universe

The Day I Rented A Scooter

Today I was chaised by the police, milked the Holy Cow, got invited to attend Nepal’s hospitality and hotel management’s food stand, and was called fat, very politely.

Before I continue this story, I would like to thank the anonymous donor of the Lonely Plant Nepal. Anonymous not out of modesty, but because I really do not know this person at all. When I arrived in Pokhara about ten days ago, he came up to me when I was waiting for my taxi. “Excuse me. I am leaving Nepal today. Would you like to have my Lonely Planet.”
Me: “Yes, I would very much like to.”
“Here you go. Save travels.” And off he went to whereever he came from.

Thank you.

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So I rented a scooter and scootered the day away to all the attractions it laid out for me, after an hour of testrides on the main road. First I tried my luck finding Devi’s Falls (legend says it’s named after a Swiss tourist that fell into it – if this is even true it must be ages ago, because at present you have to be a real idiot (excuse my French) to do this). Initially I did not succeed, and this is where the policemen come in. The map told me to turn right at some point towards the airport. Ofcourse I missed the street and carried on straight ahead. There were loads of people sitting on and around the roundabout and even more in the street I went in. They were walking towards some place. On the left, I saw police, and I got nervous, remembering the time Cherissa and I rented a scooter in Marrakech and had to bribe the police to let us go having gone into a cul-de-sac from the wrong direections. Having a feeling I was going in the wrong direction anyway, I stopped and consulted the Lonely Planet. Yes, pretty sure I passed the street already. I turned my scooter – and saw two policemen hurrying towards me. “Immigration?” they inquired. “No,” I replied, “Devi’s Falls.” I had to go back to the roundabout and turn the corner. That’s what I thought.

Across the street from Devi’s Falls is the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. For 40 rupees you can go one floor down into the fowlest smelling cave where you find a temple. Here it is absolutely forbidden to take pictures. I milked the Holy Cow, also known as the goddess … I threw a marble down a tube and There Was Milk!

For a total of 100 rupees (which comes down to not even one euro), I could go another floor down to check out the back of Devi’s Falls. I was impressed. Especially by how busy it was and how utterly inadequate most women where dressed. I guess for them this is a major event to dress up for. Some girls were even wearing heels. You have to be devoted to climb down those slippery slopes in heels, is all I’m saying.

As Lonely Planet’s simple maps had proven their worth, I bought a coke and decided to try my luck up north.

The sign at the temple I found was quite confusing, but after consulting the person guarding my scooter and mumblikng something about parking tax (the extravagant amout of ten – 10! – rupees), it turned out I was were I thought I was, being Bindhya Basini Temple.

Passing the Gorkha museum – where I didn’t go in, because I was enjoying the scooterride too much – I want to check out the Seti River Dam. If only Nepal had more of these, there would be less to no powercuts…

When I was about to leave this view behind, a Nepali boy (young man?) came up to me, shyly: “Excuse me, ma’am.” He explained that himself and his friends – who all stayed a save distance away – are alle students at the Nepali hotel management and hospitality school of Pokhara. He asked if I knew abouht the street festival that begins on December, 28th to commemorate Western New Year. He said there would be alot of stands selling food and drinks. After ten mi utes of casual conversation, he nervously go to the point. He would like to invite me to come by, because all of them would be there to practice their skill. He even had a ticket for me so that I could get in for free. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I would be leaving before the festival. Instead I excepted his invitation, thanked him politely and in Nepali (danyabad), and drove off.

Then my search for the Bat Cave began. After having followed several different signs, I finally got there. Atthe entrance it very clearly stated it would cost me 20 rupees go get in. Immediately, I was told that I would have to pay 320 rupees. I might be blonde, but I ain’t no fool. As soon as I wanted to walk away, he said it would only be 70 rupees. And I got a guide anyway. It was still more than the sign said, but I had come all this way so I went in.

To exit, we had to climb up a bit and than squeeze our butts through a tiny hole. This requires a bit of technique and upperbody strength. In other words, it didn’t go quite as easy for me as it might for a small, lean Nepali boy (or young man, I can never tell)… While he was pushing my leg up and I was trying to pull myself up, he remarked: “You’re so fat.” Now, the way he said it was not unfriendly nor mean; it was simply a remark. I was surprised nonetheless because it was so unexpected. It could be his thick accent made me understand incorrectly though, because not even five minutes later he asked me for my email, phone number, and Facebook.

After that, I was sick of sightseeing and just drove around enjoying the view very much, not the bumpy roads though!

The day ended with almost being ripped off by the rental company as I supposedly scratched the scooter. As soon as Nadia intervened with her convincing “I am a lawyer and she will only pay if you prove the scratch wasn’t there this morning” speech, the day was saved. We went and had cocktails for Christmas.

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