Going rogue in Nepal
As a wise Ass once said: when in a foreign land it is best to try to blend in. Try to be as inconspicuous as possible even if you are 6’3”, have hair the colour of Ring Road dust, and have cultivated the habit of frequently saying “Namaste” and “Dhanyabad” to perfect strangers.
Just like the Romans, when in Nepal behave like the Nepalis. And throw away those tourist guidebooks that mislead visitors by inventing words like “Subha Prabhat” when we had perfectly useful morning greetings like “Did you empty your bowels today?”
To do as Nepalis do, you have to start with bodily functions like eating and attending to calls from nature:
l If your hosts invite you for tea, try your best to emulate the loud slurping sound that not only draws attention to the fact that you are taking pleasure from the offering but also helps cool the tea as it enters your gullet.
It is considered polite in our society to burp loudly and heartily while partaking of a family meal in order to compliment the hosts on the repast. If it is exceptionally scrumptious, and just belching doesn’t do it justice, you may want add more well-deserved accolade and audibly pass wind at the table.
Visitors will have noticed that there are no toilets on Nepal’s highways. This is deliberate. The driver will usually stop at a scenic spot and encourage passengers to line up and take a collective whiz while admiring the best of what Nepal has to offer in terms of flora and fauna.
Expats who have successfully gone native advise newcomers to take on local habits in order to make themselves indistinguishable from Nepalis:
If you have stayed long enough you are bound to have a colony of lice in your scalp, armpit and possibly even cockpit. Nit-picking is therefore a perfectly accepted and hygienic past-time. After necessary introductions, feel free to offer passengers seated next to you on a bus to engage in some mutual nit-picking.
The reason many foreigners decide to retire in Nepal is because we have no rules governing how people with advanced halitosis should pick their teeth in public. There is complete freedom within Nepal’s territorial waters as far as self-exploration of the oral cavity is concerned.
The nose is another orifice that we Nepalis are proud to call our own. As a foreigner, there is no better compliment you can pay your host than picking your nose while engaging in conversation. It will prove that you respect our cultural traditions, while at the same time ensuring that your nasal passage is squeaky clean.
Because of space constraints we cannot go into Nepal’s laissez faire attitudes about mining ear wax, clearing the throat and spitting in public. Suffice it to say that engaging in these activities will prove to all and sundry that you have gone rogue.