The Himalayan Wilderness and the Catch.
Well, I found the catch to my fantasy hotel. After about an hour of trying to figure out just how to get to this bloody village, I decided to sod it and went and asked a taxi driver, out of interest, how much it would be for a private car.
Before I knew it I was entertaining a crowd of about 15 taxi drivers, all chipping in about this taxi ride to Kanda, and bearing in mind, before you judge me, that I was severely dehydrated and tired from the bus journey, I agreed to let one of them take me to Kanda for 20 quid. At the time I was quite pleased at such a bargain, I mean 20 quid for a 6 hour private cab through some tropical hills, not too shabby. But then I thought ‘oh yes nice one, let a strange foreign man drive you 6 hours out into the Himalayan wilderness, and give him and all his friends the details, yes, that is an EXCELLENT idea, well fucking done.’ I panicked, and went back to my magic hotel to speak to my magic little hotel manager, who won me over with his enthusiasm for Shakespeare. He said he’d arrange a taxi for the same price, and I could be sure it was safe, so I agreed.
The next morning, at 7am, a man turned up at my door… it wasn’t Monty, the street cabby I’d spoken to, but it was an hour early to be the hotel driver… who was this man?? (And yes, that’s right, I had given the street cabby my hotel room number, like an arsehole.) The man was really nice, but I managed to figure out he was Monty’s friend, so I had to tell him that actually no, I wouldn’t be needing his services today…his little face fell, so I tipped him to assuage my guilt, and he was couteous but said ‘ma’am, this is not right, hotel manager will cheat you.’ And walked away dejectedly. But I thought better safe than sorry, so went and got my bag to take down to the hotel driver an hour later. Catch number one, I picked up my bag and it was crawling with giant ants, but I was running out of time so I had to just grit my teeth and hope they were just on the outside of it… catch number two, that weasel of a hotel manager did cheat me, he took payment for the taxi as I left and kept it for himself, so I had to pay the driver again on the other side! Turns out you can’t trust someone based soley on the fact that they like Shakespeare. Fancy that.
Anyway, I made it safe and sound to Kanda at least, without being lured out into the mountains and drugged and robbed. So I let the 20 quid extra wave. Managed to follow a school boy to Mr Verma’s house, which was down a slippery cobbley path about 20 minutes, and clomped into what turned out to be their living room in my sodden muddy shoes… I didn’t realise at first because it had a stone floor so I thought it would be okay, but his wife was like ‘ay ay, shoes!’ And Mr Verma was like ‘its okay, just get some clothes out of your bag and go and change’, so I opened my bag and a thousand giant black ants came crawling out of my bag and all over their floor and just everywhere and it was like one of those nightmares… so I made a really great first impression.
BUT since then I’ve had a really great time and the family are lovely and fascinatingly traditional, and there are two more volunteers here now so I am in very good company all round! Was just me for the first 2 days though, which was WIERD…