I have been in Nepal for a while now. I can feel my English habits and expectations slipping away and being replaced by new, more reserved, more, well, Nepalese, counterparts.
It’s little things. I find myself lowering my eyes away from Western women in vest tops as though this is shameful attire (it’s considered underwear here); I can’t hand money over without holding my elbow with the other hand; and I automatically put my hands into the prayer position to say ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’.
And I’m slowing down. I no longer expect internet access to work first time. Or second time. Or at all. Electricity is a bonus.
I look forward to my daily portion of lentils and rice, I balk at paying tourist prices in restaurants, preferring to eat lunch each day from the same street vendor for 50NPR (about 30p, although I do realise she is still charging me a tourist price, it’s 20NPR for locals)! It’s an interesting dish, a mish-mash of pulses, dried noodles and boiled potatoes flavoured with chillie, coriander, fish sauce and various other yet-to-be-identified spices; served on a sheet of newspaper with a little homemade cardboard spoon. Delicious.
I’m even picking up the body language, Ferg asked me if I wanted to order anything off a menu and I responded by wobbling my head from side the side, the definitive Nepalese gesture, which I seems to mean anything from “OK” to, “Whatever”, to “I might have understood you or I might not.”
Anyway, got to go, I’m off to go and fetch some firewood in a bamboo backpack and carry some water on my head. Or maybe there’s still a bit of English left in me yet.