I am not an expert travel guide or anything close to it. I've been in the city of Kathmandu for almost a month now and I haven't even been to all the places recommended for tourists. I am just plain lazy or every time I plan to visit some place, I later plan to do something else. So when you come to Kathmandu, don't be like me. Go out, visit every historically significant places, explore the culture and tradition of this land. It's beautiful and fascinating. However, I did that one thing which many men do when they come to Kathmandu. I guess I fall into those rare category of women who've visited the "Dance Bars" in and around Thamel. Believe, It is one place that everyone should go to (not children...obviously! duh!)
So last night my friends and I decided to go to a Dance Bar called The Beer Bar in Thamel. I was the only girl customer there. Okay, let me tell you this. I always thought Dance Bars were those dingy, dark places where skimpily clad women danced and showed skin while men drank and may be there was some addition to that equation. However my friends in Kathmandu told me It wasn't like a strip club or a brothel but just a place where girls danced and people drank. No touching the dancers and no taking photos or recording videos without their permissions! So I wanted to check out the place for myself and we went there.
As soon as we entered, a lady showed us to our table. She wasn't a waitress. She was a 'Companion'. That's the first thing you need to know about Dance Bars in Kathmandu. Every table has a companion. She shows you your table, sits with you, talks to you, you buy whatever she wants to eat or drink (of course you pay) and she entertains you as long as you sit there. By that, I don't mean any perverted stuff. Really!. She just sits there and talks and yeah, she does act coquettish and flirty with the men (my friends....of course when I said I was going to a dance bar with my friends I mean Guy/Man friends...again...duh!) but that's just it. You can't touch her in any pervert manner or have obscene conversations. As I said, she's only a companion and all she does is gives you company. Depending on the number of people, you can ask as many companions for the table as you want.
Another thing you need to know about Dance Bars. It's not just Girls who dance! . I was surprised that they have male dancers too. The girls danced on a stage that was dimly lit with flashing lights and smokes at regular intervals and a pole springing out of a low fountain in between. So they danced to tracks from recent Bollywood movies. When the girls danced solo numbers, they usually just danced like they were dancing in a club but when there was a couple performing or a group, they did a choreographed number. It was all very entertaining and I sat there watching them and enjoying myself thoroughly. All the rumours and myths I had heard about Dance Bars were untrue. I mean these people were up on stage, dancing because It was their profession. For the first time I felt that you can't look down on a person based on his/her profession because whatever they do, it is their job! I don't mean that in a Oh-I-Had-a-moment-of-epiphany or in any phony way but when you're sitting there and you see them on stage, dancing, smiling, you know that is their livelihood and you should respect that before you call them names or categorize them as 'cheap' or 'sluts'. Believe me, they aren't. I don't know how other Dance Bars work but the one I went to....they don't work in the way that most of us think they do.
Another special thing about the night was a special free-style and hip hop crew were gonna be performing on stage. I mean we have to keep in mind that most of these guys come from backgrounds where they haven't really researched about hip-hop and dancing and they dance because they love dancing. Basically these people are influenced by what they see on the television and they practice hard and they try to dance like the people they see on the tv.
If you thought Quest Crew & the JabbaWockeeZ was amazing, think twice....These guys will awe you with their moves! You have to see them to believe it!
Hahahah Okay, who am I kidding!?! Of course JabbaWockeeZ n Q-Crew are on a different league but you got to give credit to these guys who use their talent to earn their living because that makes them an artist!
So the night of 1st October 2011 was well spent and It was a happy time. It was one of those times that I will recall as "an amazing experience"
This is what a Dance Bar looks like and No, I did not take the picture. I don't break rules! I got it from Google
This is one of the popular Dance Bars of Thamel