Friday, December 17, 2010

Going Dutch

I've made friends with another resident-guest at the guest house I'm staying in while back in Kathmandu. He is form Holland and volunteering at the school next door - I shall refer to him as Jan for future reference.

Since hanging out with Jan I've met more Dutch people in Kathmandu that I did when I was in the Netherlands. They are all variously interesting people, I don't think either Kathmandu or Jan tend to attract dull people. Last night when we decided to venture out to a nice Newari place I found myself to be the only non-Dutch person at dinner.

It was a lovely dinner; the food was nice, the conversation interesting and we were in a lovely old building. When it came to the end of the evening, and paying the bill Jan turned to me and said - "we all pay for ourselves, that is how we do it at home".

In Australia the colloquialism for this kind of payment arrangement is "to go Dutch" - and so I went Dutch with a table full of Dutch people, and spent the next 5 minutes telling them how amusing it was that what I had always thought was a bit of a nonsense phrase really did appear to have its etymology in the bill paying practices of the Dutch.

"hmm, you really are a linguist, aren't you" one member of the party concluded, in what he assured me was a complement.

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