of smoke shops and Nepali names

Since I have about ten days more left in this part of the country, I thought I'd do daily posts about things I've been noticing. Or, stuff that's been happening.

Today was the last day of a 3-day break before the start of my final session of teaching. I wandered off to San Francisco (a 30-min train trip) and set out to explore Haight-Ashbury. H-A, for those of yous who are interested, is like a large (but seedier) Thamel. Or, for the non-Nepali reader(s), H-A is where the Grateful Dead used to live (or had a house). It's where the "summer of love" (apparently) happened so loads of folks flock down there to check it out (or so it seemed). I'm still unsure what the "summer of love" was about.*

During the course of the afternoon, I was sat at a park when a bloke wandered up (blokes tend to wander up fairly often in Berkeley/SF I've noticed). Bloke had a fairly ripe smell about him (SF is seriously lacking in public showers, it seems).
Said bloke started talking (most folks are v chatty here):

Bloke (waving what looked like a lit ciggie): want a smoke?
Me: No
Bloke: why?
Me: I don't smoke
Bloke: You have an accent. Where're you from?
Me: Nepal
Bloke: Oh, that's why you don't smoke then. I hear you eat ganja over there--ganja cakes?
Me: silence

So, it's nice that people know about Nepal. It's nice that half the shops seem to sell stuff from Nepal. It's nice that there are loads of Nepali restaurants about. But, it's not that nice that a lot of this association is to do with ganja**. We do have non potheads about as well--not that yous would know it if you were here. Most smoke (head) shops even have Nepali names, including one called Annapurna in Berkeley. Yes, well, from Goddess to one of the highest mountains in the world to a head shop. Oh why didn't some enterprising Nepali trademark the bloody name? An excellent money-making opportunity lost right there.

* I suppose I should Google it at some point or I'll just wait to get back to TUWSNBN and ask one of my fellow Americans there.

** Though perhaps ganja can't be much worse than being known as the royal familiy-murdering, politically-unstable, anachronistic country that the Northern Danes seemed to think we were.

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