A Little Travel Memory… Oh, The Things That Happen Over Chai

Last updated on May 11, 2023

Legs crossed and boiling hot chai in hand, I sat on the floor in the back of Sunil’s shop swapping stories and chatter. Sunil’s shop was popular, and not just with the backpacker crowd haunting the cramped streets of Thamel, Kathmandu, his friends regularly popped into the shop.

Switching up Glasses!
Bijay and I did a modeling session in each other’s glasses. :)

And as is the case with any good chai time, hilarity ensues with a cup of chai in hand. See, chai time is one of those rituals you just don’t mess with in India and Nepal; every shop owner in these areas has own their local chai wallah who knows just the right blend of sugar and steeped spices. Then, as you shop and meet locals on your wanderings, friendships form in the oddest of places so you pause your day to share a chai tea and stories.

That’s how I initially met Sunil, an incredibly friendly Nepali man with a shop in the heart of the touristy section of Thamel, Kathmandu. Sunil’s shop stood out from the pack because it didn’t peddle the same exact cookie cutter souvenirs as the other shops (in fact, close friends, you just might recognize some of those scarves in the photo!).

So, back to this goofy photo … see, that’s not Sunil in the photo, it’s his friend Bijay. I can’t even begin to remember precisely how Bijay and I discovered we have the same exact glasses prescription (and as blind as I am, it’s rare to have the same prescription), but we did.

So we switched glasses. Um, of course!

Let’s be honest here, his eyeglasses were a whole lot cooler than mine, and sillier, so, naturally, I convinced Bijay set his chai aside and vogue it up with me. I’m still shocked he agreed!

We goofed around on the streets of Kathmandu for several minutes, both of us using the shop’s colorful batik scarves to thoroughly entertain everyone, including those close enough to hear the guffaws as Bijay warmed up to the impromptu photo shoot.

A few minutes later we switched our glasses back, pranced into Sunil’s shop (our abs aching from the strain of laughing so hard) and resumed chai drinking position, legs crossed Indian style on the floor and lukewarm cups of sweet chai clasped in hand.

14 thoughts on “A Little Travel Memory… Oh, The Things That Happen Over Chai”

    • Hehe…I’ll never tell…could be that it was spiked! It also just shows if you give me an inch to act a little silly, I obviously take a mile! ;-)

  1. Oh man, I’m blind as a bat as well (doc office has to special order my contacts sometimes) and I couldn’t imagine bumping into anyone that would share mine. Those are some amazing purple frames though!

    • It was really fun and random to discover that we could switch – he had such fun frames that I couldn’t resist! :) I still find it a bit wacky that we discovered it, how often do you actually find yourself switching glasses with strangers?! :)

    • Agreed Annie! There is just nothing better than a good cup o chai and some ridiculous fun! :) I loved Nepal on the whole, once I was there long enough to meet people and enjoy the quirkiness of it all :)

    • Hehe Thanks Neha, I didn’t keep them; I don’t think Bijay was too keen on maroon glasses with pink rhinestones on the side! ;-) Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts!

    • Hah! Okay, duly noted, you’re not the only one who made that comment! Next time I’ll get a fun pair…but perhaps not the same pair :)

  2. Now I know that one of the main reasons I travel is to be reminded that (despite cultural differences) we are in fact, all very much alike. We all laugh when happy, cry when sad, grow weary from our chores, and delight in good things to eat.

    But… the exact SAME eyeglass prescription??? Goodness Shannon – now that’s what I call a happy travel coincidence. Whodda thunk!

    P.S. You’re right – his glasses ARE much cooler than yours. ;)

    • Right?! How wacky was it – I just can’t believe we figured it out…it’s not like I often find myself switching glasses with strangers, particularly since I’m blind without them on! The world is infinitely smaller than we so often think :-) Thanks for popping in and commenting!

      PS: Duly noted. Will be ditching these frames asap for something with a bit more spunk and style next time! ;-)


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