Monday, November 7, 2011

Pokhara: back to being a tourist among many, and therefore a bag of money.

Today, I biked around a few towns near Pokhara. Kids flocked to my bicycle, all shouting "hello" or "namaste", which is a little annoying after a while but fine. Some of them started asking "Can I ride your bike?" and I said no, because it's not even mine, and I don't think even I can ride it safely. And as the day progressed, kids started asking stuff that made me feel worse.
"Youspen?" Excuse me? "Supen?" What? "A school pen?" Oh. No.
"Hello! Give me sweets!" Er, no.
"Give me your bike!" What?
"Do you read English?" Yes. He produces a notebook containing a written plea for money for their school.
"Hello. Give money." uuuuuuuugggghhh. There are so many things wrong here. You can't blame the kids; they're kids! So whose fault is this? The other people who gave them money? The parents who don't teach their kids that asking random strangers for money is wrong? Whoever it is that put the parents in such a position that they don't teach their kids that asking random strangers for money is wrong? The general sources of all poverty in this world?

Pokhara, meanwhile, is easy, relatively pricey, and I keep running into minor weasels. For example:
Hotel guy: Hello, just a question, can you move your room tomorrow morning, to one just above, same quality also?
Me: Uh, okay.
Hotel guy: Just because we have a group with three people, and that room also has two beds, same room. [my room has a double and a twin. yes, it's silly for me to have 3 people's worth of beds. I don't understand how moving me to another room with 2 beds fixes it.]
Me: Okay.
Hotel guy: So at maybe 8, 9 o'clock tomorrow?
Me: Well, I'll be going to the Peace Pagoda to catch the sunrise, and I don't know when I'll be back. Can I move now?
Hotel guy: Oh, well, someone is there now.
Me: Okay. Well, maybe later in the morning, that is also fine, 9 or 10 o'clock?
Hotel guy: Okay.
Me: Hey, by the way, I meant to ask you about the price. I was quoted 800 rupees ($10), but then told there was a 10% service charge, and I just don't feel good about paying for that. [truth.]
Hotel guy: [anticipating my request] No no no, you see, right now this is a good price.
Me: See, because, the hotel next door, the Hotel Plaza, they gave me a price of 700, with no charge. [also true. And the Blue Heaven two doors down is a palace, for 800. And they both have 24hr hot water, as does every other 800-rupee hotel. And they're not weaseley. I am overpaying by a couple bucks; enough to rankle me, not enough to actually make me pack up all my stuff and switch.]
Hotel guy: No, not possible.
Me: Okay, okay.
Hotel guy: So it is okay, no need to switch rooms, you go to the Peace Pagoda tomorrow, no problem.
Me: Uh, well I can switch if necessary-
Hotel guy: No, no problem, I just remembered I had a couple other rooms, this room and that room and three beds something something
Me: Okay.

Me: Do you have laundry service?
Other Hotel Guy: Yes, sure. 100 rupees per kilo.
Me: So I can give you my clothes and have them washed by tomorrow?
OHG: Well, maybe tomorrow, maybe next day, depends on weather. We dry them in the sun, so if it is cloudy maybe not tomorrow.
Me: But there are a bunch of spots on the street offering 3-hour laundry. How do they do that, a machine?
OHG: Yes, well sometimes they just say they have a machine and then they actually don't.
Me: Uh, okay. What? So they give you your clothes wet?
[OHG is nodding, smiling, moving on to another conversation topic.]
[Also, OHG is full of crap. The 3-hour laundry places work just fine. Except that one weighed my one change of clothes and tried to charge me for 3kg. I knew that was wrong, as all my stuff together is about 10 lbs, or 4.5kg. I grabbed his spring scale and noticed that the zero point is at 2kg. God!]


  1. If I were in your place I would have been conned out of all my money weeks ago.

  2. oh gosh! that sounds sad (the begging), annoying (the spring scale-wow) and the scams. glad to hear you've evaded some...

    on a random note, i just discovered the dalai lama has a twitter?! could be fake..though he has more than 3 million followers? haha crazy

  3. Yeah, pretty sure it's legit, managed by his organization or something.

  4. If I were in your place, I would probably be in a Nepali prison for choking the hotel guys.
    The scammers haven't changed much from BC, have they? Not that I would know, but that's why I generally frown on indigenous bamboozlers.