Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Visit Nepal while it’s still dark


There used to be a time when all tourists could do in Nepal was trek to Kala Pattar, chase yetis, and visit the carpet shops at Jawalakhel for a souvenir rug. Today, due to creative promotion and an imaginative product diversification strategy, we are in a position to cash in on a vast new array of activities not only to lure more tourists, but to lengthen the average duration of their stay once here. Our motto is: "Think positive. There is an opportunity inside every crevasse."

So what if only 15 percent of Nepalis have electricity? What we have to remember is that tourists are sick of electricity, that they want to go to a place where there isn't any. This is why we have now started successfully selling our darkness under the "Visit Nepal While It's Still Dark" campaign.

All right, all right, there have been some complaints, including this one from a hard-to-please visitor who wrote in to say: "We booked a tour to Nepal because the travel agent assured us that it was powerless and promised that the whole country would be pitch dark for the duration of our stay. Imagine our dismay when we arrived at Kathmandu airport at two in the morning to see that there was one neon light still on in the arrival area. Our holiday has been ruined, can we get refund?"

Fat chance. We can't please all tourists all the time, and some are rather finicky. But one promo that is working extremely well and shows great potential for growth is the campaign launched by the Ministry of Marxism, Leninism and Tourism to attract Chinese tourists with the "Nepal Cultural Revolution Retrospective".

Now that there is yuan convertibility and Nepal has been declared an "Official Destination", it is now much easier for mainlanders to visit Nepal to see our unique selling point, viz., an actual revolution under construction. The following excerpt from an effective promotional brochure sums it up very nicely: "Miss Mao? The Great Helmsman and the Gang of Four are alive and kicking in Nepal. Get into a time capsule that takes you back to 1960 China. Relive the Great Leap Forward, watch Red Guards in action as they trample Capitalist Roaders and Imperialist Running Dogs."

In order to ensure that tourists don't waste a moment of their limited time while in Nepal, there has also been a highly effective programme to not let them sleep while here. An average tourist has 24 hours at their disposal every day. Unfortunately, they waste about eight hours of this sleeping uselessly in their hotel rooms. In order to add value to their Nepal sojourn, and so they get their money's worth, we are now lining up new nocturnal attractions.

Unfortunately, let's face it, Kathmandu has no night life except the excellent body massage tired motorcyclists get for free at the military checkpoint every time you cross Bagmati Bridge after 8.30 PM. But all is not lost. Private airlines are now acquiring night-vision helicopters to conduct mountain sightseeing flights in the dead of night. Passengers get image-enhancing goggles through which they can admire the scene-scenery of the Himalaya
by starlight.

Pokhara has slightly more nightlife than Kathmandu, but even there tourists have nothing to do after ten o'clock. However, all that is set to change with the installation of extra high-power halogen stage lights on Sarangkot which will illuminate Machapuchre by night.

In this way, we can keep tourists occupied day and night. They will remember Nepal as an area of darkness, and keep coming back.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)