I love celebrating different new years from different cultures. I feel it gives me a lot of new chances to start over. While Nepal has a lot of different ethnicities and 9 different New Years, Baishakh 1st is the national New Year celebration. April 14, 2014 in the Western calendar coincides with Nepali New Year 2071. When I googled how do the Nepalese celebrate it, I found:
People make new resolutions this day. Students plan their study schedule for the year. People exchange gifts and greeting cards.
Not getting trashed and drunk which is how I usually spend my New Years.
I was lucky enough to celebrate it last year in Bhaktapur, Nepal. The celebration there starts with Bisket Jatra. I watched parades, chariot races and families picnicking. They raise a tall pole and the New Year starts when it is pulled down. I was too drunk by the time it came down. I spent the whole evening drinking.
one of the large chariots for the tug of war
locals on a chariot
I arrived in Nepal with plans to abstain from alcohol in hopes I would lose weight over my three-week stay. I abandon that plan in order to celebrate New Years. I decided to celebrate an Eastern holiday with Western traditions?
I have done a lot of travel, but Nepal was one of my favorite countries. I would love to return and hike to the Everest Base Camp. Just the base camp. I am not a mountaineer. I did a three-day trek along the Annapurna circuit to Poon Hill. It was beautiful!
one of the mountains in the Annapurna range
I got very drunk the night before I went on the hike. I forgot about that until now. I met up with a friend of mine from the United States. He just happened to be traveling Nepal and we were both in Pokhara at the same time. We started drinking at lunch. Then at happy hour. I kept meaning to end the night early but the intoxication of beer kept me going. We got very drunk and he ended up in my bed.
I was embarrassed the next morning when my trekking guide was knocking on my door at 7am. I think the guide was embarrassed when he noticed a guy in my room. I told him to give me 10 minutes. I still needed to pack! I was running around my guesthouse room, nude, and trying to pack for a three-day trek. My friend laughed as he helped. The 10 minutes was more like half an hour. We got a late start on the hike. We drove to the start of the trail. (The car he hired was mad about the wait.) I was dreading that day because it was all uphill and I was hungover.
I did not drink during the hike up because I was worried about my performance and endurance. But I ordered beers at the tea houses on the way back down to Pokhara. We arrived in a town and rested before getting the bus back to Pokhara. I ordered some snacks and a beer. I was taking photos of the scenes in the street and people. There was a little girl with curly hair that kept looking at me. I thought she was very cute. Then a little boy walked over and started to talk to me. His English was very good.
I think he said he was 11 years old. I remember he said he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. I told him that was a very good decision. Then he told me I should not be drinking beer. He said “bad people drink beer and smoke cigarettes.” I told him I do not smoke. He said “okay, well, you should not drink beer also. Promise me you will not drink beer no more.” I laughed and told the kid “I am sorry, but I can not make that promise.” He seemed upset.
It is sad that I could not make a promise like that. Maybe I can find that kid next time I go back to Nepal.
I got drunk with my friend when I got back to Pokhara. We hung out with some people he met while I was on my trek. He left us early and I spent the rest of the night with these new people. I was supposed to leave the next morning on a 7am bus to Lumbini. I missed it. I was able to find an overnight bus leaving that evening. I did not sleep well on that bus because I spent the night pushing off roving hands from an Indian guy sitting next to me. He kept trying to put his hand between my legs or on my breasts. I had to keep moving them. I regretted not keeping my nail file with me. I would have been safer on the 7am bus.
Realizing it is Nepali New Year today brings back many great memories of my trip there but also drunk stupidity.
May you embrace the start of a new year and whatever resolutions you care to make!
Mistake # 83- While in Bhaktapur, I met up with a local guy from a travel website. He offered to show me around. A local guide is always a plus but truthfully, I did not want to be alone for the festival. I remember being surprised that this guy’s eyes were a very light brown. I asked him if he was mixed with another race. He said a lot of people ask him that but no, he is full Nepali.
We walked around while he told me some history and stories. He also told me about his wife in Europe. They were waiting for his visa so he could join her. They met while she was traveling in Nepal and fell in love. It sounded beautiful and quick. I was a bit skeptical. I enjoyed the company regardless.
He took me to non-tourist bars. Little, tiny, places. Literally hole-in-the walls. I loved it. I drank and drank. I kept toasting to him “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
I was locked out of my guesthouse by the time I got back. I was mad because even though I knew the guesthouse had a midnight lock time, I specifically asked if they would keep it open later due to the holiday. The owner told me yes. But the security guard fell asleep.
I banged a lot on the door. On the windows. I yelled “WAKE UP!” I threw rocks at upper windows hoping other guests would go down and wake up the guard. I was a drunk, selfish asshole. The local guy I was with kept trying to get me to quiet down.
The guard finally woke up. He let us in. The local guy ended up coming to my room with me. We had crappy, semi-sex. We were both too drunk. The next morning, he helped me find a taxi I needed to get back to Kathmandu. I did not want to look him in his beautiful eyes. I felt so ashamed.
He emailed me a few months ago. He asked if I had plans to return to Nepal. I guess his visa to join his wife never came through.