Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Jo-Tel New and Improved

Just a quick shout out to the guys over at the Jo-Tel. The New Site looks fantastic and with the change in URL it seems they have lost some of their Fans...Please take a look...I heard you can write it off on your taxes!

Damn, all I have are these Nepalese Coins.

Is it wrong that since my return to the states I carry Nepalese coins in my pocket just so I can use the line from "Something About Mary?"

So when did I leave...Where did I go? Well the answer is for the past two weeks I have been in Nepal. My friend and next door neighbor from my childhood...Giles...has an older brother who got married in this swell country. So as Representation of the Stickler Family I had to go. Trust me there wasn't much decision...Nepal for a wedding...Heck yeah I was in.

So after forking out a majority of my savings to the travel agent and a docter...yes, I had to get a number of shots...still not sure why the doc put that thing in my butt though...anyways I was on my way. I flew from LA to Hong Kong, then to Bangkok, then to Kathmandu. 24 hours of flying and I was exhausted!

Now for anyone who has been to Nepal before you will already know this small amount of background information. Nepal is a 5th World Country...yes they have gone above and beyond to become one of the top 15 poorest countries in the world. The Rupee...hopefully spelled correctly has an exchange rate of about 70 to one US Dollar. When a cab ride costs 50 rupees everything is kind of put into perspective.

Now Kathmandu airport is small. Very small. Were talking remember when you were younger and you and your friends would play hide-and-go-seek and you would find that little shed to hide in. Ok picture what that shed looked like and you basically have Kathmandu Airport. Now after having them take 35 dollars from you for a visa, you exit the airport and are rushed by an onslaught of a thousand Nepalese grabbing for your bags, shouting at you to get in there cab, stay at their hotel, give them your money, etc... I thought I was in the clear not to have to deal with these people since someone had sent a car from the hotel. I was wrong.

As I stepped into the sunlight my bags were quickly pulled from me with force. I pleaded I didn't need any help, but they wanted to be helpful. I saw the sign with my name on it and made my way the 15 feet for the van bound for Dwarika hotel. I turn to the guys with my bags and asked for them. They say sure...20 dollars. What! I exclaimed. Yes, I was taken people...they would not give me my bags back till I gave them 20 dollars each. Then the driver goes, "and 2000 for me because I'm driving you to the hotel or you can find a cab!" So That is how I lost my money when I first came to Nepal.

Now Dwarika is a really nice hotel in the middle of a compound. I felt sheltered from the outside world. On arrival I was taken to my room...which turned out not to be my room but it doesn't matter all the rooms were nice. I waited for my friends to return from Sightseeing. Giles, older brother looked a little stressed on first examination. He definitly was...he was getting married the next day...wouldn't you. They filled me in on the rules and gave me my welcome packet that his wife Jarhna had put together. Getting ahead of myself, Jarhna, is from Nepal and Kathmandu. To make their marriage real they had to get married in her town. Things I read in the welcome packet...an intenirary of my entire stay, rules for being in their country...Don't drink the water!, and a list of places to eat where I hopefuly wouldn't be poisoned. I was excited.

The first night was the beginning of the ceremony with the Shaman coming over to the hotel and blessing Bob and his family. It was really cool and fascinating to watch. this was my first experience with Tika (the red stuff that seems to always be on everyones heads, and also part of their blessings.)and wouldn't be the last! We then all went to a 9 course authentic Nepalese Dinner...which rocked my world and taught me the virtues of the toilet. If your ever in Nepal let me reccommend one thing to you all...Momo's! Trust me they became the staple of our trip and the beginning of a very long story...which I will tell Tomorrow!