Just as we were all about to give up on Nepal comes the happy news that three of the country’s tourist spots
were voted among the World’s Top 75 Destinations by Wonderlust Magazine this week. (Up to this point everything in this column is true. - Ministry of Information and Communicable Diseases).
The three spots are: the World’s Highest Mountain Chomolungma, the World’s Deepest Gorge Kali Gandaki and I think the last one is the World’s Fastest Clock at Ghantaghar, but let me make a mental note to double check that, and get back to you.
These recognitions put Nepal right up there among the world’s top destinations even though as a nation we may not know precisely what our destination is at any given moment in time. For a country that can’t seem to figure out where it is we are going, we sure as hell are getting there fast. And that’s what counts.
Coming so soon after the Conde Nasty Traveller Awards 2015 recognised Nepal in two prestigious categories: Hardest Place to Get Into and Hardest Place to Get Out Of in recognition of our top-secret tourism strategy to make Nepal as challenging a place to visit as possible so as to preserve our mystique and aura. Only the really adventurous, the really determined, and the really foolish will venture our way. So far, we are doing great.
Which is why we treat our guests as gods by keeping visa procedures
as cumbersome as possible at the Tribhuvan Unintentional Airport so that we can separate the wheat from the chaff or, in certain cases, separate the goats from the sheep.
But in the unlikely event that a hapless tourist does manage to somehow slip into Nepal, the idea is to prevent him/her/it from leaving. (New Nepal promo slogan: ‘Visit Nepal and Stay There!’). For this, our grovelment has hit on a cunning plan: strictly limiting the number of outbound airline seats available, and from time to time to close down the airport for four straight days without any prior notice.
But what will tourists who can’t leave do while in Nepal? For this, we have organised a plethora of ten unique attractions:
Thamel Trash Heap. Nepal’s USP is that our tourist ghettos are different from tourist ghettos in Bangkok or Istanbul. That’s right, no other country invests so much in piling trash along its tourist hub as effectively as we do.
2. Poo on Mt Everest
. From now on GONe will pay mountaineers to climb Mt Everest so that they can poo on the summit and make it the highest mountain not just in the Turd World, but in the planet as a hole.
Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). We will do this by ensuring that the international airport has fat, well-fed rats scurrying around the arrival concourse.
Fast-track queue. Arriving Nepali passengers will henceforth have to spend no more than three hours waiting in line at immigration. Tourists will have to wait longer to give them a chance to hit the ground running and acclimatise to the Nepali custom of not doing today what can be done tomorrow.
A free sauna has been installed at the departure gate so that dear and departing passengers can relax, sweat like pigs, and pass out if they so wish in case they haven’t already been knocked unconscious by odours emanating from the nearby arsenal.
Passengers must have noticed that there are no clocks in the entire airport premises. This is deliberate. It is to give visiting tourists the impression that time stands still in Shangrila. (Flight Attendant: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Gods and Goddesses, we have just landed in Kathmandu, where the local time does not exist.”)
Our divine visitors now have gender segregated pre-boarding security checks where they receive a free shiatsu of their kundalinis, and have their wallets mandatorily inspected for tips by uniformed masseurs.
The carousel area now has extra trolleys which are equipped with NASA-designed state-of-the-art oval wheels to give extra traction. Passengers also have a choice of extreme left-leaning or extreme right-leaning trolleys depending on their political affiliation.
The airport’s baggage belts have been deliberately switched off so that the luggage will take till infinity to arrive. This is a test: are you going to say “Om” and be zen-like about it or are you going to complain? If you are a whiner then, let’s face it, Nepal is not for you.
The country may have gone back 50 years but it is still ahead of its time because we have Ghantaghar, the world’s Fastest Clock.
The gate, Ted Atkins
Holy guacamole, Ass