Across Continents

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Differences of opinion

Brief rest stop. Chance for a quick coffee before continuing the bus journey back north. I’d missed the signs. Failed to register our driver’s comments. Nothing fancy. Any colour you liked. Just so long as it was black. Add your own milk if you wanted. Ask for a double frappe skinny latte at your peril. I’d gotten away with ordering a couple of long blacks because, well, that’s what you got. Shared with Gurnam.

We’d met the previous evening in Franz Josef Youth Hostel. Hadn’t been an auspicious start. There’d been differences of opinion. Confidently asserted on both sides. Nepal. Gurnam favouring foreigners rates for visitors. Whereas I was vehemently against such things. Resolute in wanting to pay only what a local would. No more. No less. Not to be seen as a meal ticket. A cash cow. Eventually conceding that if, as she’d suggested, tourists consumed far more resources than a Nepalese ever would, paying more wasn’t unreasonable. A fair charge.

If I’d feared a frosty start, my nervousness soon allayed. Instead chatting until gone midnight. Continuing the next day on the bus. Librarians. Her profession. Suggesting they seemed generally reluctant to recognise the inevitable waning of print media. The need to see themselves as managers of information rather than custodians of books. Lest they soon be marginalised. Which’d be a shame. Because few know how to best exploit the knowledge they have. Problem is, most people think they do. She’d agreed.

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