Existential Panic World Tour Part 3: The Kathmandu Curse

During one of Kathmandu’s many power cuts, a frequent traveler to these parts–a tall, tattooed Rasta guy sporting a Dave Matthew’s T-Shirt, lectured us Nepal Newbies of the Kathmandu curse. I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, huddled around a candle with my fellow travelers. Rasta guy leaned into the candle’s light and after a brief dramatic pause, he declared that everyone who visits Kathmandu gets sick within a week.

Ha, I thought. I had been vaccinated to my eyebrows and I had enough over-the-counter medicine to cripple a pack mule. That is until I was felled by a cheese sandwich. Previously I had eaten in little hole in the wall (literally) places where Nepalis actually ate. One place where I had some stunning lentil curry had no electricity but did have throngs of toothless women in saris. No problem. In another place, I had spicy milk tea in hang-out for Kathmandu’s thin blue line, which consisted of a guy with a camp stove boiling milk and selling chewing tobacco behind a run-down stupa. No sweat. But when I eat a bleedin’ cheese sandwich at a restaurant which featured a menu in three languages and proudly stated that they soaked all of their vegetables in iodined water, that’s when I find myself two hours later hurlin’ in the street.

That night I was plagued by images from the Indian movies I have seen (I’ve see one more film since my last missive, that one equally as bizarre). That weird sniveling villain, those oscillating busoms of the back-up singers danced before my fevered mind. But worst of all, one of the songs from said movies remained fixed in my head playing over and over and over and over.

The next morning, after swilling some Oral Rehydration Salts (the label cheerfully read: “For Diarreha or Cholera!”) I hobbled over to the Nepal International Clinic. The doctor, a Nepali who studied in Canada, listened to my tale of woe, poked at my stomach and then handed me a film canister and told me to provide a stool sample. Talk about performance anxiety. I sheepishly handed the receptionist my “sample,” and ten minutes later I was handed a pocketful of antibiotics.

Overall I’m slowly returning to 100% though that damned Indian tune is still in my head. I’ve spent most of my two days convelesence reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover (the only thing interesting at the local used book store). Tomorrow though, I’m planning on trekking around the Kathmandu valley.

Over and out.

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