"Is there a hotel?" I said, making a circular gesture with my hand to show I meant in the local area.
The policeman nodded, "Hotel," he said with a broad grin, and pointed across the dusty street, "hotel is there."
I'd ridden only 65 kilometers and the road had been excellent, but the heat was getting to me. I had to get off the road and fast. I pushed my bike down the dirt path that served as the village's Main Street and stopped at a shop selling backpacks. "Hotel?" I asked the proprietor.
"Yes, yes, very fine hotel!" He pointed to a dilapidated building across the road.
Just then, another man approached. "Yes, sir," he said, " you are looking for a room?"
"Just for the night..."
"Very good, sir, please to follow me." He was about forty, well dressed, and his English wasn't bad.
I went with him. We walked into what looked like a restaurant and he bid me sit down at one of the tables. "Soft drink?" He asked.
"If it's cold," I replied. My head was swimming from the heat.
He said something to the man running the place and In a flash two Ice-cold Pepsi Colas were produced. Someone turned on the fan just as I took the first slug of that miraculous fizzy ambrosia and I swear to god I was transported. I went into a trance.
When I came to, the joint was full. Around me stood 10 or 12 of what I deemed to be the village elders. A younger man took up a seat next to mine. By his meticulous dress and majesterial bearing, I assumed he was the Brahmin; the Main Man.
"I am honored to meet you, sir," he said, holding his hands together in that Nepalease gesture of greeting that is a bit like a praying.
I nodded and returned the greeting. "It's a real pleasure to meet you, too," I said, a little woozily.
There was a long pause. Finally, the Brahmin said, "If you will finish your drink, I will show you to your room."
I threw back the last of my Pepsi and followed my new friend out of the restaurant. The crowd, which now spilled out into the street, parted to let us through. We walked a few blocks, down a dirt path and arrived at a large 3 story, concrete building. "This is my home," he said, "I will be honored if you will stay with my family and me for the night. I have a small room, but if you don't mind, it should do nicely."
We climbed a flight of steep steps to the guest room. It was small alright, not much bigger than the twin bed that sat wedged up against one wall. It looked pleasant enough, but there was no fan.
The Brahmin looked around, "I am so sorry," he said, "I thought there was a fan. Well, no problem, I will find you a room elsewhere."
We walked back to the village and took up seats at what looked to be the local gathering place. He gestured to one of the men sitting nearby and said something to him. The man took off at a run and returned in about 10 minutes. They conversed for a moment, then, the Brahmin turned to me."We have found you a room with a fan," he said, "please to come with me."
We walked back to the first place I'd stopped at and went in. The Brahmin said something to the manager, who snapped to and led us upstairs to a tiny, dusty room. There were no beds, just a couple of bare wood palates, but by god there was a fan.
"This will do just fine," I said and shook the Brahmin's hand.
"You will have no problems," he said, taking on a serious aire, "if you are in need of anything tell the manager and he will come and get me. I will see to it. Also, be assured that you and your belongings are secure. You are under my protection."