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Culture ‘shock’ can also take the form of a pleasant cultural surprise.

My trip up into the hilltop Nepalese village of Bandipur reveals a culture of generosity that is both surprising and humbling.

Arriving at my lodge, immediately after dropping my bags, I meet next-room-neighbour Dil. Dil grew up in a village similar to this one, before going on to great career success in Dubai and now back in Kathmandu. He has travelled worldwide, including to England, and is now in Bandipur for a festival holiday.

Dil and I walk up to the nearby temple to watch the clouds sweep over views below. We discuss the stagnant politics of Nepal and examples from around the world which could and should be used as inspiration here. Dil is kind enough to translate local chatter for me, and to explain sights and landmarks for my unfamiliar eyes.

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast which he refuses to let me pay for because it is “small money”, we set off on another walk. He was intending to leave for Ghorka soon, but accompanies me instead. We descend into even more rural villages, packed out with families and smiles for Dashain festival.

One man walks with us back to his mother’s house for the day, and invites us for a drink when we arrive. Although we gratefully sit for a while, we move on. Every person we pass is gracious, smiling and helpful. Children especially are happy to play and to tease. Dil takes a quick turn on a tree swing before we move on.

Hours later, before our reascension to Bandipur, we pass through the final village, stopping briefly for a splash of water. A family invites us to sit up on their porch, which we do, and I ask and answer some questions about their home and mine. Before long I am presented with a cup of rice wine, am being taught phrases of Nepali and am offered an entire meal of noodles and buffalo curry, made especially for Dil and me. They tell me that they are thrilled to be entertaining me, but the pleasure is all mine.

This meal is one of the best, and the company – roaming piglet included – thoroughly enjoyable.

As Dil departs, he gives me his card, scribbling extra contact details on the back. Concerned about me – for he feels that one should always have a friend in every country you visit – he asks me to call him about any problems, to visit him in Kathmandu and even offers his motorbike for my use.

I hope that I have brought something to Bandipur myself, but certainly I take away a resounding lesson in human kindness.

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