Thamel nights

Kathmandu Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 17 › view all entries

Ste leaves for Pokhara the next day. I hope this has nothing to do with the two hour lecture I give him over breakfast on the hideous corruption, authoritarianism and petty stupidity of the British police force. I feel a little bad about it. The guy's just too easy a target - he never answers back.

It's good he's gone though, because the second he gets in the taxi, it's clear that a massive weight lifts off Alison's shoulders. Suddenly, she's her happy, bouncy self again. We go for a wander round Thamel and end up spending hours in a jewellery shop with me putting beads in my dreads and Alison making necklaces. We make friends with the guys in the shop and take over the CD player. Before we leave we make a bet with them - they put one of Alison's necklace designs on display and see if someone buys it before we leave Nepal. If they do, she gets half the money. If not, she pays for the beads and takes it herself. We shall see...

It's good to spend a day just with Alison again. We chill out around shops and cafes in Thamel all afternoon, until power comes on at 6 and once again I lose her to the internet and 4 hour long phone conversations with Ineke. I head back to the room, and on the way run into Charlie and ask what he and Kishan are up to. He tells me that he is "going to Electric Pagoda to eat Katarina's pancakes", and Kishan has "gone with a bus load of people to smoke a joint on a hill". As with most of Charlie's explanations, this confuses me more than it helps me, so I just go up to the room and read for a bit until Kishan crashes in with a large bag of weed, "presents" for me (a green bead, a pink flower, and two squares of random silver stuff that he found on the ground somewhere), and a very long and mostly unintelligible explanation of where he's been that I give up trying to understand. We smoke a joint and head out.

Armed with a bottle of raksi, we head to Electric Pagoda, only to find that Charlie's just left. (No pancakes, apparently.) We chill there for a bit, but it's pretty dead. The only real attractions are a cool looking French guy and the Nepali rastas jamming guitars and drums, and Lalu rolling cocaine joints. But after a few of those I have too much energy to sit around, so we head on to Tongues and Tales. Here we find loud psytrance, Charlie, a drunken Alison, and an even drunker Sagun, so we stick around for a while. Then the music changes to Shakira, and me and Charlie insist it's time to go. We end up in Full Moon, where there's good reggae playing and a cool crowd, including all the Iranian guys from Persian Kebab. Everyone is by now fairly shitfaced, including me, and the rest of the night is a vaguely remembered series of increasingly bizarre conversations. We stay until 3am when they finally kick us out, and I finish the night by passing out on Charlie's bed watching (guess what!) Phish live in concert.

The next day is just as lazy - or perhaps "uncultured" would be a better description - as the day before. But I remember to pick up my Pakistani visa in the morning, so at least that task is delt with. They give me the three months I asked for as well, which I'm happy about. Apart from that I do pretty much nothing until sunset, just chill out, read and talk to Alison and Charlie.

Kishan finds me about 7 and I go for a smoke with him and the other sauringi guys at the Gandharba arts and culture place. Then we pick up Alison and head for Electric Pagoda where Katarina actually is, somewhat bizarrely, cooking pancakes. After about an hour of mishaps, (including Charlie vomiting everywhere and going home to take yet more codeine,) she perfects the art, and starts handing out pancakes to everyone at the bar. No-one can quite work out why but hey, we're not complaining.

Later we head to Funky Buddha for Friday night trance. Silke is there, and Sagun, Lucky, Ouppa and the other Iranian guys. After a few hours of dancing and drinking, Alison and I get talking to Silke, and finally hear what really happened with her and Charlie. It takes about two hours to finish the story, as wherever we try to hide we keep being interrupted by each of our friends in turn, who refuse to acknowledge our right to 'girl talk', but it's worth the wait. It involves two different guys, copious amounts of drugs, and a fake wedding that was accidentally broadcast on Nepali TV. By the end we can understand exactly why Charlie seems so fucked up at the moment.

The vibe at Funky Buddha gets pretty dirty by about 2am, with a few minor fights and people getting kicked out, so we head back. I wake up Alison at 11.45 the next morning, screaming "GET UP GET UP GET UP WE NEED TO ORDER BREAKFAST BEFORE 12 SO I CAN HAVE BAKED BEANS!!!" I drag her out of bed and down the stairs and 10 minutes later we're at the restaurant, where I then decide I don't want baked beans after all. She is not happy.

Then it's time to pack and head for Pokhara. I feel really sad to leave our little home on the roof terrace, and write a message to Charlie in felt tip on his door, saying goodbye and telling him to save our room for us and not let any strangers take it. I feel confident that Charlie is more than capable of scaring anyone he doesn't like into leaving. Kishan turns up to say goodbye, and we amuse ourselves while packing by laughing at his Nepali accent.

"Kishan, say 'sati'."


"Say 'sansay'."


"Now say 'sprite'."


"No, SPRITE! Not Esprite! Sprite!"


I don't understand. Why is it that all over India and Nepal people can say words beginning with 's' in their own language, but any English word beginning with 's' they insist on putting an 'e' sound before? I can't work it out at all. I try for 10 minutes, and by the end Kishan still seems physically incapable of saying 'sprite'. Very odd. I then try to teach him to say 'virgin', and we spend another 10 minutes yelling at each other -







Which I guess is pretty ironic in the cirumstances. Luckily Kishan has a sense of humour and finds my teasing as funny as I do. When I yell at him yet again for his complete incompetence at rolling joints, he laughs so hard he can't stand up. Either he's a total masochist or I'm just the least intimidating person in the world. Either way, it's fun. I feel sad to say goodbye to him, though I'll see him in Thamel in a week, or possibly go and stay in his village for a few days. That would be cool.

Before I leave he does a really weird thing. He sniffs my arm like he's doing a line, and says "you're white cocaine."

I spend the next hour trying to work out if I've been complimented or insulted.

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photo by: sharonburgher