Bargaining was one of the highlights for me in Katmandu. Every where you walk in this crowded city you are surrounded by swarms of people trying to sell you something. They offer everything from the “best knives made in Nepal”, to jewelry, to drugs, to women. Often we would be walking along and some shady character would come up to you and ask in a hushed whisper if you wanted to purchase marijuana, hashish, or coke.
When we first arrived it seemed like the peddlers could sense that you were new in the area and they would try harder to sell you something. Often we had stubborn sellers follow us for up to 20 minutes. We would repeatedly tell them that we just weren’t interested in what they were selling. Then they would lower the price and continue to follow us. Their heckling became so bad that if you moved your eyes slightly to glance at them, you were soon surrounded. Apparently the vendors near our hotel started to recognize us because towards the end of our stay we weren’t hassled as much. Many of the peddlers offered us “genuine antique” items. In actuality, these antiques were not more then a year or two old.
I would have a lot of fun with these people in trying to get the price as low as I possibly could. I tried not to become emotionally attached to an object therefore I was able to freely bargain and walk away if I felt the price was not low enough. Often times they would start the price at many times what it was worth. Then if you were seriously bargaining you could have the price lowered by 5 or 6 times the original starting price in a couple of minutes. If you were not able to have a good time with these people, they would soon get on your nerves. They were like swarms of mosquitoes in a south Florida swamp in the middle of some humid July coming in for an attack.
Many of the vendors in the main tourist attractions could speak various languages. I started speaking Spanish to one lady, and then she started speaking much better then I ever could. She told me that she fluently spoke 6 or 7 different languages.