Getting mistaken as local was one of our highlight during our Nepal trip. It was not only once or twice local people considered us as Nepali as well. It was quite funny actually. 🙂 Prior to flying to Nepal, my secluded mind thought that most Nepalis looked like Indians. Our trip proved we were wrong!
Well, when we were about to board, we started to feel their different features compared to Indians. There were some Nepalis sharing the flight with us. My very first thought was that they looked more like Javanese instead of Indian! My upcoming thought (affirmed by all of us, :p) was that Feliks really resembled a Nepali!
When our travel agent picked us up at Tribuvhan Airport, we started to realize that they do not wholly look like Indian. I knew that there were Tibetan people in Nepal too, but I did not expect they were that mingled. Based on my observation, many of them have mixed feature of Indian and Tibetan. That makes them look good, in our opinion. Arini opined that no wonder they were good looking after reading a book describing Nepali people heritage.
We were sure that the local got confused when looking at us. Hence, when encountering us, they always manage to ask where we were from (which we always answered proudly that we were from Indonesia). It was nice to find out that many Nepali do know where Indonesia is. The fact that Indonesia was once a Hindu country seems to make it easy for them to remember. Several Nepali men were even thrilled to explain that Bali was mentioned in Ramayana story – something that we never heard before.
My own weird story was when we were having dinner at our hotel at Chitwan. The hotel staff was coming to me, handling papers to be filled out, and talking to me in Nepali. It took him three sentences later to realize that I was probably not a Nepali and ask me whether I prefer to speak in English. He could not help but smile and said he did not have any clue that I was not a Nepali. 😀
During the trip, we were not only alleged as a Nepali but also as a Thai or Phillipino (which is pretty common) and even Japanese (I still do not understand why for this one). There were more people who greeted us “sawadeekap” instead of “apa kabar” when we were passing the touristy spots. However, we also met some people who knew that we were Indonesians. When we questioned how come they knew, most of them answered that they once worked in Malaysia and they had many Indonesian co-workers. Even one of waiters in Bhaktapur knew that instant noodle was one of the favorite meals of Indonesians!
Above all, I am quite sure that Nepal is a dream place for Willy. He was praised there! 😀 One sweetest moment was when a Tibetan seller in Pokhara asked him not to forget her. Not wanting to let her down, he asked her to take a picture together so that he would not forget her.
Though at first we were not really comfortable to be confused as a Nepali, at last we accept it and positively thought that maybe, just maybe, they thought we were good looking too.