Simon’s 29th Birthday, we decided on a typical boy’s birthday present, no card, just a bottle of whiskey.
The daytime was pretty uneventful; I had a dose of Pokhara-splash-back so I stayed within a 10m radius of the toilet. Sarah and Simon went for coffee and cake and ended up bumping into Stephen who’d just made it into town ready for the birthday night out.
The evening, however, will be a talking point for years to come.
It all started out quite normal, the food was good and the beer was flowing, and we were having a real laugh.
Simon was drinking two drinks to our every one and he was slurring, but it was his birthday right!
We headed out and hit a few bars; we found a bar with a really good live band playing all the old rock classics. It was good times.
Stephen disappeared for a few minutes then came back saying we had to go and sit with some girls he’d met. Carolyn and Jessica, two New Yorkers. Carolyn seemed well travelled and was living in Nepal, we got the impression Jessica had never left the States until a few days ago. Stephen was flirting with Jessica; we all hoped she had a nice personality, if you know what I mean.
Simon, who was seriously slurring by now, and had introduced himself twice, tried it on with Carolyn. Carolyn played it cool and explained that she was a lesbian living in Nepal with her partner. She also said she had a two year old daughter and showed us the pictures. Simon looked on with one eye open.
We continued drinking and laughing, suddenly Simon asked, “Carolyn, will you go out for a drink with me some time?”
“We can, but only as friends. Remember I’m gay.”
“Are you? Gay? What like a lesbian?”
“Not like a lesbian, actually a lesbian”
Another ten minutes went by before Simon asked, “Carolyn, is your husband Nepalese?”
“No Simon, remember the lesbian thing?” Carolyn was taking it all in good jest.
“Oh, sorry.” Slurred Simon, “Is it your son that’s Nepalese?”
“No Simon, I just showed you a picture of my blonde daughter!”
“I think I’m drunk, I’m very sorry. Will you ever forgive me?”
Carolyn walked over to Simon and put her arm round him, “I’ll forgive you if you can remember what my name is.”
Simon, who was staring at the table lifted his head and stared her straight in the face, everyone paused waiting to see if he could remember.
“Is it… ‘Lesbian’?”
A lot of drink got spat across the table as everyone laughed with embarrassing shock. Simon asked what everyone was laughing at.
It was turning into a great night, all of us entertained by Simon.
We drank more, sang more and even danced a little. I may have air guitared with a huge wooden chair that I could hardly lift.
At kicking out time we moved onto the Bamboo Bar our unofficial local. It overlooked the lake and was run by a Walsh woman married to a Nepalese guy. When we got there it was closed. “Open your f###ing bar! We want a drink!” Shouted Simon at the top of his voice. The lights came on and within minutes we were inside. It was the husband who was behind the bar, “Where’s your missus?” asked Simon.
“Thank God, she scares the crap out of me.”
Simon sat down with his bucket of cocktail.
“Is it your mission to offend everyone tonight?” I asked.
“He-he” he giggled, “I don’t mean to offend, but thank god the lesbian has gone, I kept putting my foot in it with her!”
“Simon, she’s sat at the side of you!”
He looked round, Carolyn gave him a little wave from two feet away as he looked at her, Simon screamed like a girl, then apologised seven or eight times.
This was getting funnier by the minute.
Stephen and Jessica disappeared into the darkness not to be seen again that evening.
Simon did a few last minute tequila shots, using pepper instead of salt, and we all headed home. The street was deserted, it was just us and three stray dogs who followed us down the dark high street. I told Simon the dogs were following him because they fancied him.
Suddenly a police van turned up, “Simon! Look Sober!” I shouted. The van stopped at the side of us; there were 8 or 9 police inside. The driver wound down the window, before he could speak Simon stuck his head in the window and shouted “We’re going to ###### some street dogs, wana watch?”
I slapped my hand to my face; I really should have slapped Simon. Sarah grabbed Simon and walked him off. A Policeman in full body armour, gun and wooden stick jumped out, “He’s drunk, we arrest him!” He explained there was a 12:30am curfew in Pokhara and we were still on the street at 2:00am.
I spent the next twenty minutes explaining to the policeman that it was Simon’s birthday and in the British culture it is expected that you should get this drunk on your birthday… “You can’t arrest someone for following their culture, it’s like a Nepalese person coming to Britain and getting arrested for eating rice! Everyone has the right to follow their culture.”
He paused, I thought he might be buying it, before he said, “I think you are full of shit, but I like you. You have ten minutes to get him back to the hotel, we come down this road again in ten minutes, if you are still on the street I will arrest you both.”
I thanked him and double-timed it down the street after Sarah and Simon.
Simon refused to be ordered around by police and stood in one spot, “I’m not going anywhere” we argued for ten minutes until we saw a set of headlights coming down the street. I grabbed Simon in a headlock and dived down a dark ally as the Police car cruised by. It took Sarah and me another 45 minutes to get him back to the hotel.