When I bought my plane ticket to Nepal, the agent reminded me that it was the second peak trekking season, and hotels book up.
I read the guidebook and had an idea what Nepal was like what the people were like. I had been to India twice, and I had seen Nepalis in northern India. I pictured life outside the capital. In my imagination Nepal was not in the 21st-century and not even in some ways in the second half of the 20th century.
Then I emailed a hotel that was recommended in the guide, and Googled for other hotels. And it was a disquieting experience. The Google results returned a couple of hotels with quaint, dated websites. But there was a link to Booking.com, and lo and behold those hotels and other hotels were all listed there.
How was I going to refuse to book through booking.com when it was so easy?
It was all too easy. It robbed me of whatever adventure there was in finding a hotel down some street in a country a world away. But why run the risk of finishing up with an unprepossessing hotel when it was all so reliable and quick, and I could the perfect hotel by booking online?
In twenty minutes I had booked three hotels. I had more or less completed my itinerary. I was a holidaymaker, not a wanderer. It was inevitable in some ways. I had a limited amount of time in the country. It was not as though I would be away for a year and able to spend an extra week here or there because it took my fancy. Still, was a very strange experience. It wasn’t horrible because in some ways it was really nice to get the hotels off my back so I could start thinking about other things.
What it had done though, and this is the point, is it had made me rethink where I was going to. What was Nepal? Was it going to be just like everywhere else?
I would find out.