Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Excessively Exuberant Hospitality: The Danger of Revisiting Nepal

My husband is seriously hung over. It's painful to hear, even through the crackly, echoing 7,500-mile phone line.

He's returned to Nepal to hike his beloved Annapurna Circuit again. I stayed back in the US this time, because after three months there last winter, I'm still Nepal-ed out. I don't like hiking in mountains - who's kidding, I loathe hiking in mountains. Nepal has outstanding natural beauty and great shopping; but if you're not a native, a mountain hiker or an aid worker, it gets pretty dull after awhile.

It's also lonelier for a woman to visit Nepal because local women are not social with outsiders unless you live there year-round. As in many countries, the men are out and about while the women stay at home. All of the friends and acquaintances we made last winter are male. Hence the hangover. So delighted were the old gang to see my husband return, that they've been celebrating for four solid days and nights. Although these men are in their 40s and 50s, they drink like American teenagers with a blithe disregard for mixing liquors. "First a glass of beer, then a whiskey, then a glass of wine, and then they start with the beer all over again," my husband sighed.

On the good side, my husband has now been to native Nepali nightclubs, complete with dancing girls, where regular tourists are rarely invited. "The whole room was just Nepalis. I was the only Westerner." There are so many clubs targeting tourists and rich locals in Nepal that we hadn't suspected the existence of separate clubs for the locals-only.

As soon as my husband woke up and could get his legs under him this morning, he headed out to start his trek. His liver just can't take much more of Nepali hospitality.

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