During summer 2017 I was hiking with my stepson in the Annapurna region of Nepal. On that hike I called at a tea shop and there was an incident which I filmed which then went viral around the world. The video can be found here: Crazy Nepali Woman attacks British Family on Annapurna Circuit
Until now I have remained silent at the hate which I have received, the death threats and the disgraceful side of humanity that has been laid bare and aimed at me.
Nepal was, and still is one of my favourite places in the world. Rugged mountain ranges, lush green valleys, immense culture, and some of the softest, most gentle human beings that I have ever met who despite a tumultuous history still find goodness in their hearts. Every day is filled with the welcome of genuine individuals who offer hope, warmth and generosity. Hiking in Nepal is second to none, even following absolute decimation by the 2015 earthquake the Nepalis just put things right and moved on regardless. It is this endeavour for happiness, through poverty, hardship, natural disasters and a ruthless history that really does summarise how amazing the Nepalese are.
You shouldn’t haggle over $1.50
I have travelled to many countries throughout Asia and even volunteered at a rural school in India. Not only do I respect cultures, but I admire the discipline and the hope, and I have never ever disrespected any culture, anywhere in the world. On this website there are images of me dressed in a hijab in the Middle East, with my shoulders covered in temples, dressing modestly on beaches etc. It has been suggested to me that I don’t care for culture and that I shouldn’t haggle over a cup of tea when it costs just $1.50. The issue is this, first of all I didn’t haggle. Though in Nepal haggling is part of daily life and culture, on the trails I never haggle, even in the markets of Kathmandu I feel uncomfortable haggling and rarely do. I am the typical tourist in that I know I always pay over the odds for things due to my nature. Secondly, being overcharged in Nepal is commonplace.
Not due to dishonesty, simply due to the fact haggling is expected,
A price will usually be quoted on the very assumption that you will negotiate to a reasonable price. This is not what happened at the Deurali tea house. On the Annapurna prices tend to be relatively fixed, with you paying the same at all places. At the Deurali tea shop I was quoted three times the price. It is irrelevant whether this amounted to $1.50 or not, there are no ATM’s on the trail, trekkers carry only cash and they carry the cash they think they will need. Stories of hikers travelling with hoards of money just does not happen. If I paid 3 times the price for everything I would have left my stepson and I in a very tough position. The simple fact is, I was being ripped off and I paid it, knowing this. I simply made a comment acknowledging that I knew I was being ripped off.
You had your own mug that was 3 times the size
Not true and one of the early lies given out by the woman. When you hike anywhere in the Himalayas there are certain things you must consider. The main one is health. If I was to carry my own mug, I would also need to find a safe place to clean it every time I used it. What is the point in doing that when tea shops provide cups? How impolite would it be bringing my own cup and then giving this to someone to fill. I think that would be rude. Another thing to consider is weight, carrying my own mug would be pointless weight. I do carry a bottle, it is a bottle that filters the water and does not require cleaning, but protects against any waterborne disease, this isn’t needed for hot drinks as the boiling process eliminates any water borne diseases.
You stayed at the tea house and refused to pay
This was the first lie the woman told. Probably in haste as it didn’t take people long to realise this was impossible since she has no rooms at her tea house.
Getting produce to the village is tough
It is, I 100% acknowledge this. I have seen guys in Nepal carrying weight which is at the limits of human capability and it breaks my heart seeing people have to work that hard for such minimal amounts of money. But lets put this into perspective for a moment. (Despite the fact tea is grown locally)
Assuming a tea bag was used, lets say that 1 tea bag is equal to 2 grams.
Lets say that a local will carry 50kg up to the village. That is a total of 50,000 grams or 25,000 tea bags.
At the price of $1.50 per tea bag, that means the load has a value of $37,500
Considering the current GDP per capita is $2,400, that means that one person, for that one load, carried up to the village a load that would represent an average 16 years of earning for the average Nepali. Now lets consider the porter used a horse that can carry 100kg…
Lets be realistic here.
Also, the teashop runs a porter service.
You pulled a knife on the woman
This is the most ridiculous of all the lies that have been touted by the woman. In a recent video she claims that I pulled a knife on her. When I first saw this response I laughed it off due to how ridiculous an accusation it is, but what has stunned me is how many people actually believe this would happen.
In the Annapurna region the people are renowned for being hard working, for being the type of people that are fierce in the face any challenges. That spend their days doing back breaking work that would reduce most of the world to tears. To even contemplate that any tourist would ever, in the middle of the Himalayas and over the price of a cup of tea, would pull a knife out on a local is simply insane. It is so far removed from any reality that it has dumfounded me that people even entertained this would be true.
To pull a knife, or even pick up a weapon in this part of the world against a local would be suicide, not just amongst the locals, but the police too. I would like to think I live in a world where that simply does not happen.
I hit the woman with my walking poles/a stick
Again, this is so far removed from reality that it is pure fantasy.
The ‘truth’ video
In this video it is claimed that I asked the price, then haggled and then threw the money on the floor. This is a lie, I don’t know anyone that would act like that, it is a complete lie.
It is then alleged that I started filming the Nepalese woman with my phone, this is impossible as I use an old phone due to its a very long battery life and that has no recording capability. I had on my chest a GoPro 5 capable of 4k filming, all I have to do is say ‘GoPro record’ and it starts to record. I did take a photograph of the outside of the shop, I was writing an account of my travels and was going to later write about how stopping here would inflate the price of a drink to three times that of other places. It was in fact this attempt at a photograph that triggered the situation.
It is then claimed I pushed the Nepali woman and then pulled out a knife. As I have already explained this is just ridiculous. I will also add that the husband was there the whole time, at no point did he get involved. If what the woman says is true, he would have. It is then claimed I somehow managed to find a log and attempted to hit the woman. Again, not only is this so far removed from my character, that I don’t believe any tourist would even dream of doing this.
This woman has changed her story multiple times, to the point of fantasy.
The reality of what happened is simple. She ripped me off, I commented on it, paid it anyway and then left the shop to take a photograph of the name. She became angry and tried to hit my phone out of my hands, she then tried to me with a stick which I blocked with my walking poles. I then ran, she chased me and threw rocks before outrunning me and then going crazy over me. My stepson was running ahead as I screamed for him to get help, the trail was along a steep banking that would have meant certain death had I fallen and the man my stepson managed to get was not the woman’s brother as she claims.
I put the video on YouTube to show anyone hiking the Annapurna where to avoid and I still stand by that decision. This woman is dangerous, when I reported her behaviour at the next village people laughed at me explaining that this was commonplace, and she is well known for exploding at tourists, knowing she will get away with it due to the nearest police being far away in Manang. Her behaviour was not unique to just me, there have even been people comment on social media and this video that they came across this woman and she went crazy at them too, and one day I really do believe she will kill or seriously injure someone.
The Nepalese tourism board contacted me, and official statements were taken. They are aware of the danger she poses and I stand by my initial naming of the video: Crazy Nepali woman attacks British family on Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
I hope that bringing this woman to the spotlight and that by showing her actions I have in some way warned others of the danger this woman poses to tourists.
Stay safe on the trails.