Hari the bastard

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
It was definitely a hotel

Flag of Nepal  , Karnālī Zone,
Monday, March 7, 2011

 ...The next day I fell in the river a little bit whilst attempting an early morning wash. The result was having to continue the days walk in my flip flops. In a complete reversal of fortunes however, within the hour we had bagged ourselves a ride with US Aid. The Toyota Landcruiser they'd bought themselves with the charity money just ate up the kilometres and by the time they dropped us off, there were just 30Kms to Jumla.
 
We bussed it for a short while, got bored, then started walking again. We went off-road for a while and created a stir in some of the villages before stopping for lunch at a place called Tatopani (yep... Daal Bhat) and taking a shower in the local hot spring (Tatopani means 'hot water') much to the spectacle of the locals. Afterwards we got a lift on another bus that took us all the way into Jumla.
 
Not exactly what you would call beautiful, or even moderately pretty, Jumla's probably what you would describe as a frontier town. All red brick buildings sporting corrugated tin roofs accessed by trampled earth roads. Amazingly nothing Nepali made could be bought there, all produce seemingly flown in from China. I understood Nepal pretty well now though, and knew some politicians somewhere were earning a lot of backshish from the lucrative China contract.
 
Despite the place being ugly, we decided to rest up for a day before we went trekking for real. Whilst wandering the backstreets of Jumla we were approached by a local (lunatic) called Hari, who seemed to have a knack for accidentally meeting every single tourist who passes through his town. He invited us to his home for a cup of tea and seeing as Jumla was boring, we agreed. As we drank he showed us some books filled with comments from fellow tourists. We found an entry by Trent Holden of lonely planet (bastard) and some entries by Sam and Megan. Despite finding nothing untoward in the content, I did acknowledge that a fair few pages had been torn out. 
 
Later that evening we went back to Hari's for dinner. He immediately tried to make us write in his book, I decided to leave it until after dinner. Hari then proceeded to spend the night trying to make us buy things from his shop (at inflated prices), we bought some whisky, but negotiated the conversation away when he started trying to sell us everything else he had for sale. At this point I decided to write my loaded message in his notebook, who'd have thought this was just the tip of the iceberg and that the evening would turn a lot more sinister...
 
...Hari spent the rest of the evening trying to marry me off to his 9 year old daughter. Phrases popped up like "I've talked it through with her, and she wants to marry a European" and "you can get married at 13 here". As I was explaining that he should wait 9 or 10 years, then let her decide, there was something of a communication breakdown and Hari interpreted it as me agreeing to somesort of deal. His eyes lit up and he started shaking my hand with the two of his. Rich started laughing uncontrolably, and realisation suddenly dawning, I backtracked at monumental speed. Towards the end of this discourse a tall narrow window opened to the adjoining room and we were met with the big beaming smile of Hari's 9 year old daughter. The intense manic look on her face in the gap in the wall was frighteningly similar to that infamous scene in 'The Shining' and made the hairs on my neck stand on end... Figuring this to be a good time to leave, we finished our alcohol and headed back to the hotel.
 
The next morning we readied ourselves for our attempt at trekking. How I'd got myself in this position I wasn't sure, I vaguely remembered explaining to people how I couldn't be bothered with trekking, yet here  I was. Best not fight it though. We took some photos of the lonely planet the only other tourist (an ex-military serious trekker from the US called Joel) was carrying, then headed off towards Rara lake... 
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