It is said that tourists come to Nepal for its mountains and that they come back for its people. If they come through the Tribhuvan International Airport, the saying may not hold true for all.
“It was so distressing when I arrived at the airport. Many people were there, offering to carry my suitcase or take me to their taxi. One eventually took my suitcase without my telling him to do so, and then ordered me to give him the money,” Jeanne, a French volunteer, says.
When arriving at the Tribhuvan airport, you better have a big backpack than several suitcases and handbags to drag; or you will be the first prey to be hunted. People will gather all around you. You will be gazed, observed, continuously asked. Not close enough to your luggage? Predators will take it without asking. Not confident enough about who comes to pick you up? They will let you believe they are part of your reception committee. Predators are clever when they try to get their prey. They can lure you without you noticing it, waiting with and following the person who welcomes you.
Foreigners are harassed. Fine. At least they merely need to have the confidence to say no, or to give whatever small foreign coin or Nepalese banknote they got. But this person who truly waits for you, this Nepalese among Nepalese, he will certainly have to fight if he makes any comment by trying to calm down predators.
“A foreigner is a guest in Nepal. When you commit an act of aggression against a foreigner, it cannot be but properly punished. Between Nepalese we are able to argue and resolve a dispute. A foreign tourist is not,” Dipesh explains.
Then, the trip will go on with its excitement and adventures, amazing meetings and surprises. You will enjoy every moment of your stay, the unexpected even more than the long-term scheduled ones.
Unfortunately there it is. The upcoming departure is getting closer in time. You pack your bag, and feel the poignant nostalgia involved by any departure, anywhere, at any time of life. This is over, but you keep in mind the entire journey as a precious treasure.
You arrive at the airport again. Yet, it is different this time. Only one or two people ask you for carrying your luggage. You are about to proceed into the “International departures” area when you lift the head to glance at Nepal a last time. You look on the right, and see a crowd ready to jump on new tourists from far away. This time, you are almost jealous to have so little attention.