To recap – I had recently dislocated my shoulder falling into a ditch in a dark night. Grimacing in pain, I soldiered on, attempting to obtain a passport photo for a putative Indian visa. The plan was to return to Nepal following the Indian sojourn for an unexpected rendezvous with Canada’s favourite crooner, Bryan Adams.
The passport photo was thwarted by the city’s failing power grid, and the incompetence of the machine operator. My task unfulfilled, we stumbled back (in the dark) to my lodge, only to find myself, once again, the victim of gravity in the vicinity of an open sewer.
I went in up to my shin.
Now my shoes were soaked. In shit. And other stuff, but predominantly shit. I was wearing one of my only pairs of shoes too (of course, one does not carry a full wardrobe when travelling). They were not waterproof.
(As an aside, my wife always said that they were actually ladies shoes. They probably were, but I liked the way they looked. At least up to that date. I have never worn them since.)
My companion could barely control his mirth. Trying badly to suppress a laugh, he again helped me out of the ditch, once again by my bad arm. I shook the shit from my shoes. Naturally, there was no options for rinsing off my shoes, or my feet, and going barefoot was out of the question. I squelched back to the guest-house, each step squeezing another spray of evil liquid out of my footwear. I stank.
When I returned to my guesthouse, I rinsed off the shoes and dried them on the balcony. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I did keep them, and even took them home. I’m not sure why.
We never did get to India.
And, as it turned out, I couldn’t change my flight back to Australia without purchasing a whole new ticket, and this was not a sound financial investment. My colleagues went to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu to organise their visas, but after a full day in line, they were told that the wheels of the bureaucracy simply did not turn that fast. They opted instead for a mountain trek, from which one of them had to be medically retired, probably from tainted yak cheese.
I felt bad about having to tell the ticket sellers that I couldn’t go to the concert, so resolved to buy a ticket anyway, and try to flog it to a friend. After all, they were coming to deliver it to me personally.
They never turned up, although that may have been a result of my inability to provide an accurate address.
I am yet to experience the legend that is Bryan Adams in concert. My shoulder recovered over the next few weeks. It has never dislocated since, and only twinges in sympathy when I hear ‘Summer of 69’ on the radio.