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lecture28.0326 - Night Life Nepal Fieldnotes(1"At night in...

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1 Night Life: Nepal Fieldnotes  (1) “At night in Thamel, the jillimilli streets glitter in neon.  There is a Gap store, a  North Face store and high bold billboards advertising whiskey and cigarettes and  motorcycles.  I go to Himalayan Java for strong black coffee like I can get in  Ann Arbor.  Just below, women from the Terai  work the crowd, either selling  trinkets or begging.  Cripples are set out on the curbs every morning to attract the  coins of passers-by into their bowls.  Street children, their hair wild like spent  summer dandelions and their clothes ragged and smeared, press up against the  windows of cars stopped in traffic.  Sometimes I see them sitting against a wall,  inhaling from paper bags -- kerosene maybe, or meth.”
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2 Thamel, 11:00 PM . . .  (2) “The street, empty an hour earlier was jammed with taxis and  rickshaws.  A platoon of soldiers gets out of a truck and shambles  by with their guns held low. Young girls dressed in jeans and tight  t-shirts poured from the second story clubs lining the edges of  Thamel.  They walked in pairs, laughing and joking, by the clumps  of young Nepali men, sometimes stopping to talk with them.  Most  of the girls were prostitutes, of a fancier sort than you find in the  poor man’s brothels of Sorakhutte where the Tamang girls used to  work.”
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3 We overhear the banter. . .  (3) “A thousand rupees and we’ll drink beer together through the night.”   “A thousand?  No, that’s nothing.  It costs me a thousand just to  sleep.  Make it two thousand.” “Fifteen hundred for the whole night.”
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4 Nepal . . .  (4) “We are the only foreigners on the street.  We attract attention and  some of the girls come to talk with us.  Three transvestites race by  in a taxi, their faces thickly made up, their ear-rings dangling.  One  shouts out an offer for sex with us.  One girl, younger than the rest  comes closer and talks.  She is just a child.  I ask her where she is  from:  Trisuli.  I ask her age: seventeen.  And why she is here: for  work.  Her face is sweet and cool in the night.  Her voice is a little  girl’s.  She touches my hand and I smile at her.  I fill with a sadness  as deep as the night.”
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5 Gender Gender always has to do with more than just resources & biology;  it is an aspect of culture that takes on powerful symbolic  associations, too The explanations of certain behaviors have to consider these  associations as well; 1.  meaning systems and resources,  2. kinship,  3. politics  
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