Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Frequent Traveller - Kathmandu, Nepal

By Pandora Poikilos

This is another Cathy Dixon moment from Frequent Traveller - my upcoming Fiction, Novel.

Kathmandu, Nepal


June 2007

Nepal is a country that is home to more than 23 million people and boasts the motto of Mother and Motherland are Greater than Heaven. Beneath the layers of a country filled with history, culture and passion one city stands out a little more than the rest and this is Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and home to more than 1 million people. Of all its attractions, the one that makes it most popular is the fact that Buddha was born in the Kapilvastu District near the Indian border in 563 BC. The history that has followed this significant birth has been one of turmoil, power struggles and harsh living conditions for its people. But the country has had an economic boom. One of its more popular trades aside from farming, metal casting, wood carving, painting and pottery that has made Kathmandu well known is the infamous trade in Nepali paper which is made from herbal components and Pashmina shawls which are sold on a global scale and is said to signify a woman's true beauty when the shawl is draped around her body.

In recent years, Kathmandu has also become a popular tourist destination and its streets have been dotted with guest houses, hotels and eateries. There are two popular streets which are increasingly popular with the tourists. Thamel is well-known for its popular nightlife and is much newer to the tourist scene than Freak Street which is also known by its local name, Jochen Tole and was made popular in the 1970s. It is along one of these streets that one would come across the majestic seven storey Kathmandu MoonStar known for its five-star splendour and attracted every passerby but a place only the extremely rich could afford. For most people, this was the kind of property that one would spend years saving to visit and find that they were always a few thousand dollars behind just to stay the night. The lobby was artistically decorated with various antiques and filled with pleasant faced staff of local origin and foreigners.

Early on a Monday morning, the breakfast crowd was starting to tumble out of the elevators into the lobby. Most looked like they could use a few more hours of sleep while others rushed for the breakfast buffet. Behind the reception counter, Cathy was embroiled in a bitter war of words with the property's front office manager.

"You are ruining it for all of us Cat! Every time you show up and head office tells us you are here to solve a problem, you go around creating more problems. Mr. Smith is a good guest to us and he tips us a hell of a lot of money. Stop making a mess things!" he snarled at her.

Under normal circumstances the front office manager would have passed off as jolly. He was a rounded man with spectacles that rested at the tip of his nose and gave a welcoming smile to each of his guests. He also had the uncanny ability to recognise each of his guests by name which thrilled many a guest. But at this very moment, his face was flushed with anger and he looked like he could explode.

"Stop making a mess of things?! Are you even listening to yourself speak? And Mr. Smith, my God ... even you know that is not his real name!"

He made a feeble attempt to take a deep breath but appeared more flustered when he shouted back at her, "I do not care if it is his real name! In my job it is all about dollars and cents, you know this! Room nights count, what a guest does in his room with those room nights is none of my business AND he gives us a lot of room nights. Every few months he comes to stay for more than a week, here and in other properties and his other employees stay with us too. You are going to put a stop to all of it and you are just being stupid!"

Cathy watched as he lost his temper even further and tried to keep calm. The more she talked to him, the urge to strangle him got even stronger but she had more important things at hand and she had to get the key to Mr. Smith's room. She had to get in and anything less was unacceptable.

"Aaron, listen and listen very hard. I do not care how much money he brings us or you for that matter. Sales will just have to pull up their socks when we do lose him as a guest. What I am more concerned about right now is putting a stop to what is happening. Now, give me your master key or I will have you reported as well!"

Her lips formed a thin line as she stared at him. He knew it was an argument he would not win but he also knew how much he would stand to lose if the property lost Mr. Smith as a guest. Yes, the hotel gave him a good salary but the tips from Mr. Smith provided for luxury items he could ill-afford otherwise. Cathy grabbed the master key off his table and stormed off. He ran after her and grabbed her by the shoulders.

"You have to stop saving the world, you cannot do it."

She stopped in her tracks and turned to face him, the rage on her face looking as red as her hair. "I am not saving the world, just one girl who does not deserve what is being done to her! What if she were your daughter?! What then Aaron?"

Any further and Aaron knew their argument would become a physical one, he stepped away from her. He looked downward and shrugged, "You know what, do whatever you want. I am not going to be responsible for your actions. You and the rest of corporate can go to hell for all I care!"

He stormed back to his office and Cathy watched him go, now she was even more determined to get to room 403. From where she stood in the lobby she could the see the so called Mr.Smith with his newspaper and morning coffee at the breakfast bar. This is the only chance she was going to get to go to his room, unnoticed. She wished that she had enough money and power to put an end to all of this. If only she could pick the phone and say, "Hey Demi, here is another girl the DNA Foundation can help" but no she was stuck with the ability of offering an escape route with no guarantee of safety.

As she waited for the elevator, she mentally ran through her checklist again. Her friend at the women's centre was already aware of what was going on and would be at the hotel in about 20 minutes. The centre would then be able to provide food and shelter but they did not have the medical or counselling resources for another two weeks. They were overflowing as it is. Cathy stepped into the elevator completely determined that no one would be able to stop her.

Mr. Smith looked up from his paper and noticed the exchange between the two co-workers. He was too far to hear what was being said but understood that the conversation was not about mutual admiration for the flowers in the lobby. He watched as Cathy faced her co-worker and made him feel so small that he submitted to her. He then paid more attention to her rosy cheeks and her pale smooth skin. "Pretty," he thought "but not my type." He felt like gloating today. Once every three months, he came here for business and most certainly for pleasure. He always snickered when they asked him at customs what were his reasons for visiting the country. If they only knew.

"Beautiful, beautiful Kathmandu and all the pleasure you bring me," he muttered.

The trips and what he did during was his treat to himself. Back home no one had a clue of what he did during his 'business' trips. Nobody appreciated him. Nobody understood how hard he worked. His wife, Eleanor was too busy spending his money on charities to spare him a moment and his two teenage children were happy with their gadgets and holidays with friends to even know he existed. But during these trips, he was not a 50 year old accountant with too much weight at his belly. Here, he was king. All he had to do was open his wallet and he could, if he wanted, have a whole village at his feet.

Yes, life was good. He gave his family what they wanted and once every three months he got what he wanted. Everybody was happy and there was nothing wrong with that.

Upstairs in room 403, there was no determination or gloating that twirled in the room. The curtains were pulled slightly apart so the rays from the morning sun threw light on the dark brown furniture and mahogany tables. On the wall above the bed, there was a colourful oil painting of a little girl in the park with her umbrella. She had a sad innocent smile which made you wonder about the thoughts running through her head.

On the bed, the sheets now a mess, innocence had long since been ripped apart. A small, petite figure had the sheets pulled all around her. Her tear stained face was twisted with grief and fear, if you could even tell the two apart. Amita remembered last year when the man had come to her home and said she was one of the lucky few to be given the opportunity to work in a five-star hotel kitchen for $300 per month. Plus, she would have the advantage of learning English. All in all, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

"Papa wouldn't have to work so hard. That is a lot of money that can help a lot of us," she remembered telling herself.

Now, more than a year later or maybe it was two, time had so little meaning when you were in hell, she was working in five-star hotels and she had learnt English but not in a way she had ever dreamed of. From the day she left home till last night, it was man after man, night after night making her perform wretched acts she never even knew possible. Even when she did not like it, she had to smile or she would then have to feel the lash of a hard belt on her skin. Amita cried some more as these memories came back to her. As disjointed as the memories were she knew where to look for scars since she had left home.

Yesterday, when she was sent here she had fooled herself into thinking, "maybe, just maybe this man would be different. He seemed so nice. Even made me think of Papa. He is much older than the rest. Maybe he will not touch me."

She had been treated to a large dinner where she was told that she could order anything she wanted and was then taken shopping.

"Anything you want," he had said to her. Clothes, shoes, bags ... nothing was off limits.

"Maybe he is really nice, no one has ever done this for me," she thought.

Her excitement was shortlived. When they returned to the room, he made her sit on his lap and said, "Now, you must thank me."

"How can I ever make it home to Papa after all the things I have done. Nobody would want such rubbish."

She heard the door open and quickly rubbed her face into the covers to wipe her tears away. He had left her alone with a repeated warning that she should not leave and that he would be back after breakfast. Her hands had been tied with a belt to the bedpost. Even without the belt, she knew it was pointless to escape. She had tried before only to be found and given the lashing of her life, the soles of her feet burnt with cigarette butts.

Instead of the old man, Amita saw a lady with bright red hair and white skin. She quickly closed her eyes and prepared herself for whatever else was to come. Maybe the old man had sent someone else to pick her up.

Cathy approached the bed, every ounce of shock already knocked out her body at the sight before her. She gingerly touched Amita's face.

"Hey, it is time to go," she whispered gently.

Amita's eyes shot open not sure if this was really good news or if the devil had just picked a different attire for today.

"Wh-----att? Madam, you do not understand," her feeble voice spoke.

"No, I do. I will take you out of here and someone will come to help you. But you must hurry."

Cathy cut away the belt which tied Amita's hands and ransacked some of the bags as Amita sat up still dazed and wondering if it was all a dream.

"Here, go change. There is no time to talk, we must go before he comes."

As Cathy waited at the door Amita hurriedly put her clothes on and walked towards Cathy, where she bent and touched Cathy at her feet.

"Thank you, thank you," she sobbed.

Cathy bent over, hugged her tightly and wiped the tears from her face.

"Sshhhh .... stop crying. You must be a brave girl for a few more minutes. He will not see you I promise. Come now."

They made their way through the back elevator down to the parking bays where as promised Sheila was already waiting with a car and a relieved smile.

"Oh Cathy, we cannot thank you enough." Cathy gave both of them a quick a hug and closed the car door once Amita was inside. A tear trickled down her cheek.

"Don't thank me Sheila, just make sure she stays safe. Hurry, go."

Once a few more words of gratitude and concern are uttered, the car sped off. Cathy watched, took a deep breath and muttered as she found her way back to the hotel lobby, "God help us all, what was he thinking ... what is the world coming to ... the poor thing was only 14 years old."

To read other Cathy Dixon moments, please click HERE.
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

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My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
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My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
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My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
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My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
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My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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