My wife is reading a book by Isabella Bird, who toured this region on horseback in the late 19th century. Even then she spoke of the obsequious nature of the (Tibetan) people. She ascribed it to past abuses and conquests. Our guide and porter on our trip were manly men, but the others we meet in our compounds are hunched, walk with short steps, and hover.
Last night we went out to dinner. When we returned someone had entered the room, spruced up and turned the bed down. During dinner I dropped a fork – I bent down to pick it up (5 second rule) but there was pitter-patter of shiny black shoes and a new fork before I could put the old one down.
Every door is opened for us, every bag carried. When we left the compound in Pokhara, we were toting our own bags. A maid stopped us in our tracks, made us stand there while she summoned porters.
Every one we meet folds hands in a prayer gesture and slightly bows to us, which we return. The usual greeting is “Namaste.” We joke between ourselves as we get on elevators and such, turning to each other, bowing and saying “Eat shit.” I hope that is what they are thinking as they bow to us.
There is an international convention for domestic workers making the rounds. It sets minimum standards for hours and age, and wages I assume though do not know. It has been adopted in most of Latin America, but in this part of the world, only the Philippines.