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  • Writer's picturepgracemiles

No. 2 The Trouble with the Tea Lady

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

Did a British woman rip off a Nepali woman for the price of tea?

There have been battles waged over tea for centuries. (The first Opium War, the Boston Tea Party, and the SECOND Opium War.). What happened August of 2017 in Nepal is a fascinating 21st century version of such a hostilities. I do not find the tourist’s fear to be entertaining nor do I find the tea seller’s anger completely unjustified. This is a tea tale told on the shaky foundation of poverty rage and privilege.

“Your son good, you woman very dog. Understand you? . . . This mountain side. I carrying horse. One horse 2000 rupees pay here. Everything is sugar coming, tea coming . . . you English people, many many rich coming. . .”


Version one: In the hills of Nepal, is a tea shop that sells tea to tourists who hike the Annapurna region. Every morning the elderly tea seller rises at dawn to do her household chores and then treks with a horse to bring tea supplies to her tea shop. Including water she carries from the local river. One afternoon a British tourist and her 15 year old son stopped by the tea shop. The mother wanted no tea for herself but she wanted tea for her son. And she wanted it in her own cup. A cup larger than the cups the tea seller offers. After the tea had been consumed, the tea seller asked the equivalent of $1.50 for the tea. The white woman thought this was too steep compared to other teas she had purchased in Nepal and threw the money on the floor. Then the tourist started to film the tea shop and threaten to go on social media over the price. This blatant disrespect sent the tea shop owner into a tailspin and she pursued the woman brandishing two long pieces of wood down the dangerous path on the side of the mountain. The tourist took her story to the Daily Mail.

Version two as told by the tourist: “The reality of what happened is simple. She ripped me off, I commented on it, paid it anyway and then left the shop to take a photograph of the name. She became angry and tried to hit my phone out of my hands, she then tried to me with a stick which I blocked with my walking poles. I then ran, she chased me and threw rocks before outrunning me and then going crazy over me. My stepson was running ahead as I screamed for him to get help, the trail was along a steep banking that would have meant certain death had I fallen and the man my stepson managed to get was not the woman’s brother as she claims.”

There is a strong sense of vindictiveness from the tourist and the tea seller could be guilty of exaggeration. This video and contradictory opinions of it are all over the internet.

Since the tourist does so much traveling, I’d like to see her return to the tea shop and attempt a reconciliation with the tea seller. This tea tale deserves a third version - the full truth.

Read the full statement from the tourist here:

Wilson, Gemma. (no date given.). “Crazy Nepali Woman Attacks British Family On Annapurna Circuit Nepal - My Response”

Additional Source:

Kafle, Sanjay. (2017, October 10). “Untold Story of Mountain Woman.”

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