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Thread: Trekking in the old days

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    My parents trekked through Nepal in like, 82'. Now they weren't the freak street kinda folks, but they did see a whole lot of that culture. I went through my dads old slideshow from that trip and one of the most outstanding images in my mind is that of children no older than 12 rubbing hash in their palms to sell to these "truth" seeking hippies or trustafarians. I smoke myself, but when I go to Nepal and when other tourists land there it shouldn't be a trip dedicated to the consumption of cheap drugs, especially those produced by children. If you need to support a habit let the money go to someone who is in it for reasons other than either being too young and poor. If your really in need of bud take a day out on a bike into kathmandu valley, a solid 2 hours of searching and you'll probably find some growing right on the side of a trail.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by kegarne
    Even since 1997 I reckon Nepal has changed heaps. Back then it was such a pain in the ass to get trekking permits - lining up for hours to submit applications and then coming back at a specific time to pick up the permits in the late afternoon. These days it is so quick and easy.
    Lodges so much better on the AC or Khumbu, electricity everywhere now, yakburgers in Namche - it was dal bhat mostly in '97.
    As Petrus said - no lodges on the way to Mera back then - tents all the way or yak huts.
    But of course this relates to the more popular routes - trekking in the far West wld be more like trekking in the old days I am sure - or even the Makalu region.
    My first trek was in 96, and I can associate with what you say. When I went back in 99 in Khumbu, all of a sudden many lodges on the main trail has "sun-rooms" which have taken hold since. In 96 there was no such thing.
    yakshaver

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by Per
    Yes, and no, Kathmandu was the hippie capital, lots of youngsters came to feel free, the traffic from Istanbul via Kabul was lively, private buses and vans and cars were always parked in Basantipur offering rides for a few dollars to Delhi, Kabul and Istanbul.

    However, these people rarely went trekking.

    The colony of ‘freaks’ between Swayambhunath and Jochen Tole generally avoided physical exertion as much as possible, being constantly stoned does not go well with strenuous hiking, so they tended to go trekking mainly for visa purposes. Of course some of them made minor treks, but generally trekkers were a different type of people. Not much different from today.

    When you look at the locals there is a fundamental divide in Nepalese society between people who drink (Matwalli) and teetotallers (Thagadhari, twice born). The former rarely use cannabis products, prefer various types of booze, whereas the latter use cannabis, often ritually, e.g., when singing bhajans (religious songs).

    In the trekking areas people are generally drinking castes. Even before it was criminalized for foreigners there was no sign of cannabis in any form (except as weed) on the Evererst trek, the locals are really into various beers and distilled stuff. Same went for the Langtang trek and the Thak Khola. The only area where the locals were into using cannabis was just outside Pokhara. The population there is mainly Bahauns, i.e., high caste teetotallers that think it is a sin to drink alcohol. They smoke dried hemp of certain strains, known as ganga, rarely if ever charas (hashish).

    The use of cannabis is almost non-existent among Sherpa, Tamang,, Manangi, Thakalli, Gurung, Jirrels, Magars, Sunwar. An exception is the Kham Magars that grew and produced charas as a cash crop. Newars also belongs to the drinking castes and the only context I have seen them using ganja is for singing bhajans. Some might interpret it as an adaptation to high caste Chetri and Brahman behaviour.

    Whereas rather few people use cannabis in Nepal its usage is much more widespread west of Nepal. Right west of Nepal people are Parbatya (high caste mountain hindus) all the way to Kashmir where people are muslim, and to many alcohol in any form is a larger sin.
    Thanks Per, this explains a lot to me. The comparison of level of sin (alcohol vs cannabis in various forms...) is an interesting one. In our society alcohol is ok and cannabis is not. Although about 80% of the total cost to society from substance use is due to alcohol, 15 % due to tobacco, and only 5% due to cannabis, coccaine, heroine, extasy etc.
    yakshaver

  4. #24

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by yakshaver
    Thanks Per, this explains a lot to me. The comparison of level of sin (alcohol vs cannabis in various forms...) is an interesting one. In our society alcohol is ok and cannabis is not.
    Yes, in Nepal the old constitutional law, the Mulukhi Ain from 1854, divided the people into two large clusters of castes (jatis), Mathwalli (drinking) and Taghadari (twice born). You recognize the twice born by their sacred thread most of them wear.

    The Mulukhi Ain made a virtue of cultural distinction, i.e., what was right for one caste was punishable for another. The twice born really regard drinking as a sin that has to expiated by performing pathya, one or several days of fasting, visiting a holy river, praying at a temple, or some such thing. I spent a lot of time with Newars, and they always made fun about drinking brahmans as they tend to handle alcohol pretty badly, snickering, he, he, there is one that has drunk and he can hardly walk straight.

    The twice born also unfortunately tend to make a nuisance of themselves in bars, as they prefer virgin marriage and lock up their own sisters whilst going after other people´s sisters. So you get their unhealthy view of women in conjunction with their difficulty to handle booze.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    well, I am not so sure about the trekkers who don't smoke and the hippies that did. I met tons of hippies and I was one too. we all trekked everywhere and got stoned. we could get the best gear anywhere and I got stoned with lots of nepalis, indians you name it. its just a question of preference.

    the constant put down of hippies is plain stupid. hippies I knew were very well read, spent a lot of time with locals, were very intrepid and respectful of local tradidions. Actually many hippies did not smoke but meditated. Like I did. Everyone these days sees hippies as the evil ones, the bad people. Its bullshit. I went to Kabul, Turkey all across SE Asia, Thailand you name it. We went on the cheap because we had little money but also wanted to see and meet local people. No hippies were not all dirty and sitting in the dirt. We washed our clothes, traveled light and tried to blend it to make travelling easier. There were a few layabouts but not the majority.

    Travelling in India in those days was really cool. Sri Lanka was a little piece of heaven.

    Trekkers are a mixed bunch. Loud noisy types very often. Ranting about politics and just plain ignorant. I met so many who had no idea of geography never mind local history or customs.

    Afghanistan was wonderful. Pakistan too.

    Thailand was unspoilt.

    Yes. Everywere dope was illegal. People got caught and arrested. But getting stoned was really fine. A wonderful activity. A smoked with plenty of holy men trekking up to Muktinath.

    And, we didn't just wear ugly camping clothes like those boring trekkers.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by Suginami
    the constant put down of hippies is plain stupid. hippies I knew were very well read, spent a lot of time with locals, were very intrepid and respectful of local tradidions.
    Firstly, most of them used too much drugs. They handled the availability of cheap drugs and the freedom they got from their hard currencies (exceptional relative prices) really very badly. A lot of them were kind of drug pilgrims and were constantly stoned.

    Secondly, they kind of made their own niche in the subcontinents social fabric, became like a caste among a million other castes, there were hotels and resturants catering just to them. They kind of lived in their own world, in places such as Kabul, Goa, Kathmandu, Srinagar, Manali. I have met old hippies that spent twenty years in India without learning even rudimentary Hindi. The only interaction with locals were with the people that ran the hotels they staid in, cooked their food, washed their clothes, baked their lemon meringue pies, stitched their clothes, sold them trinkets, supplied them with drugs, etc.

    Thirdly, yes, some were really nice people, well read and interested in local culture, some were just backyard mystics. In any case I would say if it had not been for the first, i.e., far too much drugs, they would have appeared in a much better light. Most locals saw them pretty much as we view drunkards and alcoholics, and preferred to keep a safe distance.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    so you never got loaded and played the bongos? wow. you haven:t lived

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    I can honestly say that I have never played the bongos, that's all I'm going to say on the subject

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    All in all, the situation really isn't that bad. If you enjoy getting messed up, great! At least its not opiates, or anything else you can get in a pile of trouble with, Or coke, or like, human adrenaline glands (blast you black markets!)

    Hell, people here have been throwing down some pretty legit stuff in favor of weed, tobacco has past the point of return, Legalize!

    -Octelophant

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by Suginami
    so you never got loaded and played the bongos? wow. you haven:t lived
    Mr Suginami, Sir,
    I do solemnly declare that I have never had sex with that woman. I also declare that I have never inhaled...
    yakshaver

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