Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Friendly Nepali Shouts Me lunch - Annapurna Circuit

A friend recently asked me - how is your Urdu? Not particularly good I had to admit but hey I always give it a shot, my Nepali and Hindi are probably a little better - especially when it comes to ordering chai, chang or Dahl Bhat. I have to say the Nepalese people are great for a bit of banter, always offering a cheeky smile and wanting to interact. They love it if you make an effort with soeaking Nepali and it is a sure way to get a good giggle. It really is one of the great parts of the many experiences I've had trekking and climbing in the Himalayas - the people. Also in mainland India and the Kashmari Himalaya - the people are fantastic but they tend to mello when you're in the more rural or less populated areas as in any culture! My first trip some years ago to trek the Annapurna Circuit was a particularly touching memory of a young cookboy (maybe 17 or 18 years old) I met on the bus ride from Kathmandu to Besisahar. We got chatting and (as often is the case) he was enjoying trying his english skills out on me and finding out about this Bideshi (foreigner) and what this mad kiwi was doing in a bus packed full of locals on his tod. We hit it off and I learnt he was on the long haul, for 8 hours, with me to Besisahar which is where the Annapurna Conservation Area Project and the legendary Annapurna Circuit start. On the way we stopped for lunch - Dahl Bhat (lentils with rice and whatever local veges are in season with chilis and various mouth-watering garnishes) and he was absolute insistent on paying for me despite my protests. "You in my country now" - what a great pride these people have of their culture & country and the enthusiasm they have for tourits! He returned with a huge plate of Dahl Bhat which I tucked into heartily as I sat taking in the local chat and watching life go by. Further on into the bus trip I repaid the compliment buying him a lemonade and a samosa. The bus trip continued through the spectacular countryside, albeit a bumpy ride, it was passed with a new friendship that put a big smile on my face! We were nearing those Himalayas......

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