One thing that has seemed to strike us as particularly different about Nepal than the
USA is how many people have sat down to talk to us or invited us to join them during their
meals. One incident that sticks out happened at KC's restaurant.
We went to KC's for dinner on our second night in Katmandu. We sat on the terrace above
the streets of Thamel (the main backpacker's section of town) and began to eat. A light
rain started to fall, luckily we were under an outcropping on the building so we didn't
get wet. The rest of the terrace was not so fortunate and it cleared out rather quickly.
After about 15 minutes, we were done eating and the rain stopped. The owner, KC's nephew,
offered us a better table directly overlooking the streets below. So we moved and finished
our beer. When we had paid our check and were getting ready to leave, the owner offered us
another beer "...on the house my friends". Being gentleman and not wanting
to offend, we accepted and continued to chat about the weeks plan.
The restaurant was nearly empty and we assumed they wanted to close up and go home, not
so. The owner, Premot (pree-mott), asked if he could join us. Again we accepted and again
he ordered more beer for the three of us, all on the house. We sat for several hours as he
told us stories about Thamel and the rise of his uncle's restaurant. Local legend has it,
due to its famous "sizzling-steak", was one of the three main attractions of the
Thamel area during the sixties when all the travelers used to stay closer to the old city
on "freak street". He told us how he met his indian wife, their courtship,
and Hindu marriage. He told us about how he helped to develop "communication -
centers" (international phone calls, fax and this very email service) for travelers
in Nepal, and we discussed some of the current issues facing business owners like himself
in a place like Katmandu.
When we were all very tired and slightly stupid, we got up to leave. On our way out
Premot invited us to join him the next day at his athletic club for a swim, a game of
squash, a jacuzzi, or a steambath. Amazing, can you imagine the owner of a famous
restaurant, befriending a couple of scrubs like us and inviting them to his health club?!
Only in Nepal!!