Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Night out with the locals...

Having got on swimmingly with the local students posted in the ER for the majority of my stay, we decided to celebrate their moving on to internal medicine rotation by having a social evening...

Nhish and I were keen to do the local thing and get a taster of medical student social life here - purely for comparative purposes, you must understand. We were a little baffled when Surya and Sumit were unable to think of anything to do... Eventually we decide on a time to meet and wander down the road to a local "hotel". A few brief exchanges with the waiter in Nepali later and there arrives some snacky things and a bottle of gin... oh dear! Lime gin, no less.

Having sampled it on its own, Nhish and I were rather glad when a bottle of mixer arrived - "mountain dew" (for those of you who don't know or can't remember, this is basically sickly, caffeinated lemonade).

(At this point, I should probably explain that Nhish and I were planning to visit Nagarkot - a small tourist-based village in the mountains on the east border of the Kathmandu valley with panoramic views of the Himalaya - this weekend, and that, ideally, it required us to leave by taxi that evening to catch the sunrise on Saturday and get back to be in the hospital again on Sunday... Suffice it to say, the local students persuaded us that this was "dangerous" - read silly - and that we had to stay with them that night...)

After a few sips, when the conversation started flowing, we (naturally enough for medical students, I suppose) got talking about alcohol dehydrogenase, and more specifically, whether or not Nepali people have any: judging by their performance, I would hazard perhaps not!? ;)

The rest of the evening was spent being grilled on the relative virtues of "upper and lower F" ("upper F" apparently being french kissing...) and having our apparently legendary alcohol tolerance tested to the limits.

I am not normally a spirit drinker (rob and iain - you can just shut the hell up!), and so this concoction took its tole on my relatively quickly. The locals were impressed however, that we continued to drink what was put in front of us (I think they stopped after one or two)!

We had lots of nibbles and some fascinating conversations (apparently) about which nurses we found attractive, over a few more "gindews" (or should that be "mountgins"?) before retiring back to the local halls of residence for some more gindews, combined, I seem to remember, with After Eight mints... After that it all gets a little vague, but I have since been reassured that I was "entertaining"! hmm.

Apparently it is "local tradition" (read: you can't argue with that) that guests do not get out their wallets under any circumstances; I dread to imagine how many month's budgets Nhish and I drank, but we certainly wouldn't have had so much if we realised we wouldn't be allowed to pay for it. But then again, refusing a drink (or any hospitality) is incredibly rude here...

Anyway, in order to compensate the local students, and because it was actually all very fun, Nhish and I have insisted on returning their hospitality (we insisted it was customary in England!) and have arranged to take them out this coming weekend. We will go to Thamel and try to find as British a 'bar' as possible. We debated taking them to Kilroy's (a rather posh international themed restaurant, owned by the same people as K-Too - see previous post), but decided that this might work out a little expensive, even for us westerners.

So I’ll let you know how that goes too, I guess.

Oh yeah - and I’ve been working hard and learning lots; and I’m not worried about finals in the slightest(!)

Love to all.

Nx

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