Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slumber party in my hotel room!

I’m having a slumber party in my room! A couple of my Nepali colleagues asked if they could crash at my pad after dinner last night because it would have been way too difficult to go home late at night to their homes just to return to Thamel again in the morning. Of course, I said yes! How fun would that be! I would just have to get permission from the hotel’s front desk attendant. I was confident it wouldn’t be a problem because even though I have only been here 4 days, it feels like home to me! In fact, when I asked Abhay if my friends could stay with me, he said, “Of course, this is your home, you can do whatever you want!” Wow! Cool! Awesome! It would have been totally awful if he had said no, as it was late, my friends were already in tow, and it was pouring buckets of rain outside! But he didn’t and I really didn’t think he would as this is Nepal!

But here’s what’s even more awesome, I didn’t get charged extra for a third person and he even gave us extra towels and bottled water. You must think I am staying at a fancy hotel that caters to the rich and famous, right? Nope. This is a budget hotel. The cheapest I could find on the internet that had moderate ratings. It is so budget that I had to ask if I could get a different room than the one I was first assigned to as that room had virtually no natural light and was rather depressing. It did have a balcony, but it looked out onto a construction site and was clearly where one went to smoke (I really didn’t want to share a balcony with someone who smoked). But what was I to expect? My criteria had been that it must have running hot water and wi-fi. Not too demanding. I scoped out the rest of the building and found a room on the street side with big windows with a corridor view of the hills, that was fortunately available, so there I was placed. Many people prefer not to be streetside, but hey, I’ll take light over noise! With load-shedding happening daily (no electricity for at least 12 hours per day or night), having natural light is a big PLUS!

So did it still fulfill the two criteria? Hot running water and wi-fi? Umm, let’s say the water did run, but what came out was at first, scary. Dark orange water. This has really got to be rust, please tell me it is rust, and indeed it was. I let the water run until relatively clear, and now it just smells like iron. Even my Nepali friend slumbering with me exclaimed, “Jackie, I hope you are not drinking this water!”. I assured her that I was not, but said, if I did I wouldn’t have to worry about getting anemia! Okay, when a Nepali warns you about the water, that’s bad. Next, wi-fi, I need wi-fi. How would I continue to feed my addiction without wi-fi?! Yes, it had wi-fi, but only if I stuck my hand here and there to get some connectivity. Oh no, that won’t work! But whew, Ahbay informed me that I just needed to jump on another router. Yay! So with those two criteria met, I was set.

Oh, there are a few other things like a broken drain pipe and only one small light bulb that is about to also go, but hey, at least the pipe is outside of my room and fortunately it is not the toilet’s drain pipe and I have a headlamp with lots of extra batteries (btw, the pipe was finally 'fixed'). Despite all of this, I would not trade this room, this huge window that looks down on a rooftop garden and has a great view corridor, and most of all, the wonderful staff of friendly young gentlemen for any other place here in Thamel. This place may be ‘budget’, but it is rich in hospitality and is truly a Nepali experience! Namaste.

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