Funnily enough, out of all the questions - and I've been sorely tempted to answer Mars/five husbands/stripper to the first three - it's the last one that confuses people the most. Being alone is something that happens here only to the mad, criminal or excommunicated.
So it was refreshing to have a different response to this when I visited a temple island in the Brahmaputra this week. I'd gone up to the temple, left my shoes at the entrance, wandered around, seen the monkeys, admired the view, taken photos etc and was on my way back down the steps to the boat.
As I went down the steps, a group of five men were coming up. The first man was charging up the steps, while the other four were lagging behind and looking a bit puffy. (It really wasn't hard work, although it was a bit hot). So the first man stopped, looked at me and barked:
"Which country are you from?"
Him: "You are coming alone?"
Me: "Er, yes, yes, alone"
Him (turning to the 4 men behind him): "You see! She is not afraid, she is coming alone! You people are all WIMPS!"
Words and Pictures © Louise Heal 2008