Monday, February 07, 2011

What's your sign?

Just ask the Axis
-Old Jomsom, Nepal

Jimi Hendrix never went to Nepal (or India for that matter). But why should that stop the Jimi Hendrix Hotel, in Jomsom, from having one of the most imaginative signboards around?

"Your chance to stay in the same lodge as Jimi Hendrix."  I always wondered whether, during the 1970's Asia Overland hippy golden age, a backpacker freak resembling Hendrix had stayed there, posing as Hendrix (would the locals have known Hendrix at that time?), or whether the guest house's name was a wholesale invention.

No doubt, the former skydiver from Seattle would have enjoyed the "comforts of hot shower and clean water, delicious food and soft beds," not to mention "South Nilgiri mountain and Dhaulagiri view range."  But most especially, "Good music," and "friendly people and smiling faces."

The Jimi Hendrix Hotel should not have surprised me; after all, I'd just come from Ranipauwa (several hours to the North), where one can stay in the Hotel Bob Marley.

Jomsom is the gateway to the Annapurna region of Nepal.   In search of a cheap sleeps,  I went inside the JHH to check it out. Jimi Hendrix Hotel is off the more recently-constructed beaten path, in an area called Old Jomsom, a twenty-minute walk from conveniences such as internet, travel agents and money changers. It's by far the cheapest lodge in the area and did indeed exude a peaceful, "shanti" atmosphere, possibly because no other visitors were in sight.  At least I would have the bathroom all to myself.

As it was monsoon season (early August), the gurgling of glacier-fed streams surrounded the guest house and winds whispered through the river-willow trees.  Rather than buying an overpriced bowl of tsampa (barley meal porridge, priced for tourists at some 150NRS), at the local stores, I could buy an entire sack for twice the price.  Packets of milk and yogurt were available at the Dairy Stand, where ordinary Jomsomians buy them.

After a few days, I left Jimi and Jomsom, continuing the trek down toward Marpha and eventually to Tatopani and Dumre.  With my sunburnt brow and unshaven legs, I wasn't exactly a Foxy Lady, but I did feel a bit more Experienced.


badal said...

u r wrong ok.... u say jimi hendrix was not in nepal....(i m not sure about india) but he was in u remember the movie here krishna hare ram starring dev aanand?..ya that was the time Nepal was famous as one of the hippy paradise in the world...i m working on this topic so i`ll let u know more details later.... n remember something u dont know doesnt mean it never happened or exist....

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

...and just because you "know" something doesn't make it true. The only "evidence" there is for either Jimi's or Bob Marley's having been in Nepal are restaurants/lodges named for them. There is no verification of the "stone plaque commemorating the spot where Jimi sat"; it could well be a complete fabrication. I have read at least 2 complete bios of Hendrix ("Kiss the Sky" and others) and I don't remember a mention of any such travel. Perhaps if I re-read it I might find one.