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15th January The van is a secondhand red and white high roof Volkswagen origionally customised to take a wheelchair. We have worked on it for months in Ann and Pete Chantrell's mews garage behind The Gordon Hotel in Royal Circus, Edinburgh. Registration No DWS 373C. It has a home madefibreglass double roof to keep cold out and heat in. There is a bed for Chiara over the tool compartment on top of the engine at the back. We have a two-burner petrol cooker, several cupboards, extra fuel tank and loads of spare parts. Due to delayed departure dates in the past two months we have said goodbye to each of our friends and relatives at least twice. 16th Left Edinburgh at 4:00pm from 13 Queens Avenue, Blackhall. While we were packing the van, a cardboard box of Jim's stuff, books, talc, sunglasses and so on, disappeared off the garden wall. Each of us thought the other had packed it, but the dustmen or somebody must have taken it. Ate fish and chips in Dumfries by the river Nith then went on to Crocketford to sleep on Archie, Sun Dok and Sara's living room floor. The van was too cold. 90 miles. 17th Water frozen, ground and van covered in frost. Breakfast at Swallow Cottage then to Black Brig to visit Robin, Carol, Francis, Don, 2 dogs, 5 puppies and 2 cats. Sara was travel sick on the way. Took the M6 to England in the afternoon with long traffic jams and fog all around so we stopped in a back street somewhere off the Motorway for the night. We were not too uncomfortable. The main thing is not to lie against a window because they are very cold. 150 miles. 18th To London, through some fog and a little sun, but it is getting warmer. We went to the Iranian Embassy, Biba and the Public Health Department. Found Pete at 3 Theatre Street in the dark and he gave us coffee. We ate a Chinese meal then put Chiara to bed in the van outside but she was too excited to sleep. Moved to Regent's Park for the night where it was colder but quieter. 200 miles. 19th Woke 7:45am light. Jim and Chiara went for milk. Off to get Cholera jabs £1:00 each. On the way to the Iranian Embassy the van clutch cable broke outside the Albert Hall. Phoned Pete and he came and towed us in his breakdown van. Visas 55p each. They mended clutch cable back at Battersea. Picked up Angela then went to Oxford for a party. Chiara and I had stiff arms and colds so did not go to the party. It was snowing. 20th Woke 10am and Chiara and I went into Oxford for a Wimpy, which was so awful we did not pay for it. The colleges and Meadows arelooking nice. Jim watching TV. He picked us up at 4:00pm. Spent about £10 in Woolworths and Boots on kettle etc. Drove back to London and had baths at Angela's where we slept the night since her flatmate was away. Chiara was miserable with a cold, eyes puffed up and streaming and wanted to 'go home to Granny' but cheered up at the sight of TV. Saturday 21st Had a long lie in bed. Read the Sunday papers then had a late Brunch before going to pub in Kew. There we met Jim's uncle and cousins. Washed clothes and nappies at the Laundromat, while Chiara sang with some Pakistani kids, then we went back to Angela's for dinner. We watched 'Casablanca' on TV then drove back to Pete's but he was not in. Hot water bottles and bed at midnight. Freezing again outside. Sunday 22nd Pete woke us up to say goodbye then we drove to Battersea Park and made breakfast. Looked for Volkswagen parts in three garages then went back to the Embassy for our passports. Had supper at Hugh's flat, watched TV and slept there. 23rd Bulgarian Embassy said no visa was necessary. Pakistan Embassy told us to apply for visas in Lahore.After we left London we stopped at Canterbury Cathedral and the AA and a bank in Dover for £25. Supper was fish and chips and a pint in Ramsgate. Looked at a closed up funfair. Slept at International Hover port Terminal under the White Cliffs of Dover. 24th Woke up at 7:30 for 9:00am Hovercraft. The ticket cost £13:60. The windows were covered with salt so we could not see much except greyness on the Channel crossing. Driving on right through flat France and Belgium. Picked up one American hitchhiker for a bit and drove into
Germany. Jim manages to remember to keep to the right. Passed Aachen and Koln to near Frankfurt where we stopped for the night in a forest off European Route 5. It was beginning to freeze. 310 miles. 25th Eggs for breakfast then off to a Resthauf to wash. Through Frankfurt, Nurenburg and finally Munich as it got dark. Cable trams and high buildings. More snow beside the road, getting colder as we cross the border into Austria. Several inches of snow when we stop in beautiful Hallien for the night and have rice and fish for supper. 26th Hallien is like fairyland or a Christmas card. The trees are snow encrusted on every branch. Pavements snowy, only the roads swept. High mountains just behind the houses, which are green, pink and yellow lime washed with balconies that have bedding airing and window boxes. Consum supermarket had prices about the same as UK and a horse outside for Chiara to admire. We walked about town then had coffee with separate little pots of milk to warm us up. 5/- each but very nice. On the way across Austria we picked up two teenybopper hitchhikers (no lederhosen or Tyrolean caps). Beautiful dramatic scenery, clear road, passes open, a few Austrians clinking past with snow chains. Gorges, icicles, Alps, cattle in the barns and empty white fields, a hay barn in each field. Children on skies and babies being pulled on sledges. Into Yugoslavia before dark. 37 dinar to the £1:00 The hayracks in the fields have little roofs. Mirrors at road junctions. More ski resorts, then down into the industrial areas. A bit Victorian apart from the lorries, supermarkets and TV. Drove on down to the coast. Stopped in a restaurant car park in Ryeka (Fiume). No snow. Bed at 10:00pm. Saturday 27th Up at 10am. The sun had warmed the van. Some palm trees and locals with a day off. The toilets lady was taming the pigeons. Scene is Mediterranean looking but with chilly morning air. Yellow houses, tiled roofs, balconies and shutters. Snow capped mountains behind the coast of stony terraced countryside but no beach to the clear blue sea. Winding main road, grey rocks, terraced vineyards and olive groves. Little harbours one side of the Main Street. Touristy looking but closed for the winter. Stopped for the night by a bridge but we were moved on by soldiers. Ate spaghetti and Austrian sausage for supper with Austrian rye bread and Austrian cinnamon biscuits. It's raining. Sunday 28th. Woke up in the outskirts of Zador to cocks crowing and a donkey braying in the distance. Youths on motor bikes. Hung bedding to air and had breakfast beside a closed campsite. Sunny, Chiara playing football. The girls are all in maxi coats and nylon knitted trousers, flared or with turn ups, so I wish I had bought a trouser suit in the sales to travel in. There are old ladies in long black dresses with white caps and spotted aprons. Drove along the coast through luxuriant countryside. Gave a chap a lift to Split. Windy but the sun made bathing seem possible. Passed a river bay filled with rushes and little reed huts. Where people used to live? Parked by Dubrovnik harbour after dark. There is a fairground, one-way system, parking meters and toilets at the bus station. Parked in a back street beside the tennis courts. It was windy outside during the night. 29th In the morning we can see an orange tree with oranges but no dates on the palms. Cats sitting in the sunshine. Back to the toilets then into the old walled town. The houses are all 15th and 16th century. Steep stepped streets and marble paved roads. Very clean place for pedestrians only, with little souvenir shops, fountains, museums and a market. Bought bread, eggs, milk, fruit, cheese and cherry brandy. Picked up Dutch Joseph on the hill outside town. He is going to Greece; maybe we will go there too. He is going on to India with only an overnight bag and a coat, no sleeping bag. He speaks several languages so usually gets invited to stay the night with locals. We dropped him off at the Titograd road. Met a Landrover of three British we'd seen yesterday on a rough, narrow country road from Bar to Ulcinje. A chap and two girls on their way to India. Got into the campsite. 30th Porridge for breakfast. Tidied the van and did a washing. Jim cleaned shoes and overhauled the van. Chiara playing, picking flowers and washing in the sink. A fisherman came to sort out his nets near the restaurant. His mates arrived and sat on coke boxes. We have our own toilet in a chalet. Jim mended a boot and decided to go fishing. They drag a net through the water after dark.
Jim's share is 5 fish. We are going to bed earlier. We will probably go to Turkey via Greece instead of Bulgaria depending on the weather. 31st Wake up early and Jim goes fishing unsuccessfully. We have breakfast on his return. I gut fish. He washes his hair. Drive out to the gates but Receptionist who has our Passports is not there. Have a beer while waiting for them. Get lost in Ulcinje and go back across the road we came in by. Stop to buy bread in Bar. Up the winding mountain road to Titograd, across a huge, shallow, misty lake beside the railroad tracks. Eat the fish in a lay bye. Drive on, Chiara sleeping and stay the night outside a Hotel in Kolasin. Rain melting the snow. Step up toilet. 1st February. Post a letter home. Travel up the Cakor Pass, which is the highest in Europe. Very snowy, but the road has been snow ploughed clear. Houses with wood shingled roofs. Turkish coffee in the Café at the top. Everything white. Gave a grandfather a lift to Pec down the other side. Held up by a lorry loading logs and another with a burst tyre. Pec is oriental. Walnut Turkish Delight, ladies in harem pants like in Ulcinje. Horse drawn carts, bullock carts and a holiday atmosphere from the loudspeaker music. It gets foggy. Chiara asleep as we drive to Skopje, famous for its earthquake, and stop for the night in a back street in front of a Police station. 2nd The toilets are squatting ones, under a bridge. There are boys who wash windscreens, an old Turkish Baths and a Gallery of Contemporary Art. The soldiers march out of step. We visited a wonderful bazaar of traditional crafts, blacksmiths, barrel makers, tinsmiths, bakers, slipper shops, candle and harness shops. Old ladies selling peppers and paprika immune to sneezing, plastic sandals, a fish shop with live carp, hens lying with their legs tied. All very ethnic but not too smelly perhaps because its still winter. The E5 is now almost a cart track following the River Vardar. Pick up Ajax who is also Dutch and cross into Greece. No Insurance. Thessalonika is huge, car orientated, neon lights even on the church with the odd Roman or Greek ruin. Barbers and Men Only Cafes where they play backgammon. Find a place to park and go to a Restaurant. Chiara threeping for chips. We get them with chicken, bread, wine and crème caramel for 30/-. They give us endless iced water and go next door for coffee rather than explain that they do not sell it. 69 drachma to the £1. Walk around the closing shops till 8:00 pm and Chiara is given a sweetie. I have a sore head and ache, stop overnight in a muddy field. 3rd Stuck in the mud so dug and pushed ourselves out. I stay in bed as we drive to the Lake and buy some fish. Jim stops to fish near a shrine and a herd of sheep with tinkling bells graze around the van. We cook the fish for lunch and move down the coast in the dark to Keramoti, Thrace, the Port for Thassos. Loads of shrines on the roadside, square glass ones with metal frames, church shaped ones and some like bus shelters with icons and candlesticks. The graveyards all flicker with eternal lights at night and look quite friendly. We sleep by the sea. Sunday 4th Porridge for breakfast. Sunny but windy. I took Chiara for a picnic, the shore slopes round to a lagoon beside the village. Jim is drinking in a Taverna with the local fishermen who insist ouzo must be downed in a oner with biftek, salad, pomme frites and cheese dip. Move the van round to the pretty lagoon and get bogged down in sand this time, after a heated discussion about whether we will or not. Jim is sick and goes to bed early. 5th Its sunny when we get up late recovering. Watched the ferries crossing the bay. I made a minnow net for Chiara to fish with while Jim dug the van out. Scrambled eggs for lunch. A walk in the afternoon gathering wood and cones for a bonfire beside the sea. Made corned beef hash and fruit salad for tea. Jugoslavia had colour TV but Greece still seems to be black and white. 6th Got up early to get the ferry to the island of Thassos. We left the van beside the school. Discovered we were an hour behind the locals. There are plenty of closed souvenir shops with nice expensive reproduction classical vases in them. Horses and carts, Thassos honey on sale and classical ruins lying about everywhere. The houses are built on ancient foundations; there are the remains of a theatre and other ruins among the tree-clad hills. Watched the boat builders cutting up tree trunks to make planks for a Fife style fishing boat. The locals mostly carry worry beads. We had walked through the woods to a private holiday village beach for a sardine picnic. Cloudy
but not cold. Got the ferry back sitting in the sun on the warm side, it carries lorries and Macedonian tourists in season. Back on to the main road across the hills until Alexandropoulis. Stopped at a half open campsite there beside the sea again. 7th. The campsite is huge with swings for Chiara. I aired the blankets and Jim serviced the van. Read a book sitting in the sun. Chiara lost a sandal but we found it again. Into town for supper of tripe soup, bread and hamburger sausage then cake and coffee in the van. Got water at a garage. We are planning to spend a month in Turkey going along the coast, which ought to be warm and then, it will be more springlike in the interior of Iran and Afghanistan. 8th In to town to market, oranges are cheap and we met our first beggar. Posted letters home and bought methylated spirits for starting the petrol stove. The border crossing, like all so far was uncomplicated for us, but busloads of peasants were having to unload all their belongings at both Greek and Turkish frontiers. This was very complicated for them, since they do not have suitcases, but innumerable brown paper and string bag bundles. In Turkey we picked up an American whose moped had broken down, he showed us the way into Istanbul. The roads are very straight for miles. Parked outside the Pudding Shop in the Oto Park Divanyolu for 2:50 lira day 2:50 lira night equals about 15p. It is a row of vans all equipped to go east or heading back from there. 32:90 lira to the £1. 9th We are beside a park which is enclosed on three sides by the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and a Mosaic museum, there are also toilets. We went up town by bus to get Insured for 30 days for £1:25, the office girls look just like London office girls do. There is less of the mystic East here than there was in rural Jugoslavia. Only a few of the women scaffies are in traditional dress, though probably the unemancipated women are indoors. Traffic is pretty chaotic with loads of taxis and unread signs prohibiting horn sounding. Stopped at the Hilton to pick up a letter from Mum. Lunch in van watching the pigeons, which look just the same as Edinburgh ones. Went to the Hamam (Turkish Baths) before supper and got very clean. The men's department seems to have been more opulent than the ladies. Chiara and I had a cubicle where we undressed, that had a couch to lie on. We went through the shower department to the warm hall. It is the oldest Hamam still operating, 300 years or so old, heated by a hot spring. The walls and floors are marble and very slippery so you wear wooden shoes. The heat was mainly in a plinth in the middle of the room. You sit on it or lie on it to be massaged. Chiara's bottom got all red because it was a bit too hot for her. Around the walls on another plinth were ornate metal basins, which you scoop warm water out of to wash yourself, taking care not to get soap in the basins. Chiara was a bit overawed by so many large nude women, though some of the younger ones were slim and sun-tanned. Ate a disappointing meal in the Pudding Shop. There are lots of traffic noises in the night, horns blowing and electrified muezzins. Round crescent rolls are sold in the street for 50 kurus, a loaf of bread is 1 lira. Saturday 10th Had £15 stolen in the night, that was a week's chamber maiding wages. Up and to the Bazaar, which is covered over like Barrowlands in Glasgow. It is a maze of cells and stalls selling jewellery, copper, brassware, alabaster, rugs, Afghan coats and embroidered dresses. We stopped at a bit of the University which looks rather like George Square in Edinburgh with a garden enclosed by the Law and Medicine departments. One of the students, who had been in London, told us they have had soldiers on the gates for the past two years to check if people are carrying their Matric cards. This is to stop communists and so on. Back to the van for lunch. Saw round the Hagia Sophia, which was a Christian basilica and then converted, to a mosque. It has no carpets, is vast with a few surviving mosaics of saints and archbishops on gold backgrounds. I had studied them in Fine Art so it was interesting to see them. Then we saw a Sultan's Tomb with coffins covered in green baize. Read a book, then had chicken noodle soup for supper. Went for a drink at the Pudding Shop where Jim talked to a Swiss boy about opportunities there, then to bed. Sunday 11th Up late and drove around to see Istanbul. We changed some money and parked down by the fishmarket for lunch. Chiara picked up a Turkish boy with scabby ears. Back at the Blue Mosque Jim helped two couples of Yanks with Volkswagens by tinkering with one of their
engines. They have been in Turkey for two months and told us about some interesting places to visit while Chiara and I had tea with the girls. Went to Yeni's for supper where the meal was cheaper than the Pudding Shop and met a chap from Manchester on his way back from Bombay who says Afghanistan is cheap, especially the turquoise. I read while Jim wrote letters, then we went to bed. 12th It was raining, took Chiara to Blue Mosque which is huge and carpeted with innumerable rugs in varying states of newness and age. Chiara was most impressed by having to take her shoes off before she went in. The door is a huge leather hanging stamped and embossed in Arabic script. Inside the pillars are tiled blue from about 12 feet up upwards and the galleries and ceiling are variously painted or tiled blue. We also went to an underground 6th century Byzantine Cistern. 366 acanthus-decorated pillars support the roof. It used to hold an emergency water supply for Istanbul in times of siege. The water is about 18 inches deep covering an area the size of a cathedral. Jim was reading while I wrote to Mum. Jim bought stamps and posted letters and cards. I'm reading Germaine Greer's 'Female Eunuch' which I swapped. Went to the Pudding Shop after supper. The dollar has devalued. We expect to be in Lahore by 3rd of April since Afghanistan is very cheap and we are going round the Turkish coast first. 13th Spring cleaned the van. Jim and Chiara went to the bazaar and bought a chain and bananas. We met the student again. Watched some Canadians who have a long black van. The Turkish lira devalued. Went to Migros supermarket. 14th The Banks are not changing pounds till the currency situation is sorted. We toured round the city walls. Bought a van doorhandle for 35 lira. Went to see the mosaics at Our Saviour in Kora. Made and ate supper then sat in Pudding Shop. An English guy going to Kashmir to rent a house. A Turkish student communist bought Jim a beer and pistatio nuts. When I finally tried a Pudding Shop pudding, it was Nuts pudding which is a sort of cold semolina with fruit and nuts and actually quite nice. 15th Drove into the countryside to get unchlorinated water. The Banks are still not changing money. We tried Turkish Express. Found a spring with a trough by the road and washed the van and Jim washed his hair. We drove up to the Black Sea coast on rougher roads. Found a campsite beside a lake. Dogs barking in silent countryside. Supper then a moonlit walk. Since we do not have enough money to cross the Bhospherous ferry and buy petrol we have to stay put until the pound stops floating. 16th Climbed the hill to see the sea, warm sun so sunbathed but its very muddy. Viewed a Dam. Drove back through two checkpoints with soldiers. Very bumpy with things falling out of the cupboards. Traffic jam to get in through the Istanbul walls. Banks still not changing Sterling so we went to the Consulate where they lent us 50 lira on security of my passport. It’s a huge Victorian edifice with a glass roofed, marble-floored, potted palm court. Chiara has adopted one of the stray dogs that hang around the gardens beside the mosque, though at a distance, since it seems to have fleas. It is a yellow dog with an intelligent face and turned over ears. Had supper then put Chiara to bed before walking in the warm night to the Pudding Shop but they had no milk. Saturday 17th. Up early and tried the Banks again but they are still not changing so back to the Embassy and Consulate who lent us 100 lira more. Bought a chicken at the fruit, veg and fish market. The stall holders all vie to build the highest, neatest pile of oranges or lemons. The men in the fish stalls continually shower the piles of fish with water to make them shine. There were oysters, huge mussels and great big soles with huge blood blisters on their white side. These were selling like hot cakes. Jim went to the Hamam while I read. The cooked chicken and roast potatoes was very good. No milk and raining hard. Jim drinking in Pudding Shop with English Landrover couple and two stoned Yanks, Jesus freaks and local musicians. Sunday 18th. Swapped our Telegraph for a Mail and News of the World. Jim reading and it rained till about one pm then cleared up. Went to the Topkapi Museum, the palace of the Turkish sultans. Most of the rooms are being, or have been renovated as part of a plan to make it a Museum of
Royal Treasures. We did not see it all since it was larger than we thought and closed at five o'clock. The old kitchens have been tidied up and display glassware, kitchen utensils and porcelain in 3 sets of rooms. Mainly oriental Sung and Ming etc, some lovely big urns with taps and little tea cups set with rubies and emeralds. We saw sultan's costumes dating from 1430 to 1900, about one for each sultan, mainly silk or velvet caftans with scores of tiny buttons. The Treasury has ivory inlaid thrones, jewels as big as your fist. The courtyards are spacious with benches round the sides, trees, fountains and date palms. The buildings are all domed, with manuscripts and glass displayed in other rooms around the two courtyards. It is on the hill behind the Hagia Sophia, through two gateways. We did not get to see the Harem but saw relics of the prophet in three tiled rooms include hairs from his beard and they have a hand of John the Baptist set in gold. Had hicken soup then went to Pudding Shop. 19th Jim helped some people in a VW, who were parked near us, to replace their clutch cable and they are going south, so we will leave Istanbul together. They took him to the Baths and Chiara and I went to market with Germaine a Swiss girl and Jeremy an English chap who is interested in Sufis. The van owners are a honeymooning Argentinean couple, Jill of English extraction and Lucas who is Italianate. Up to the Banks which are changing money now at a rate of 34.0706 liras to the pound, so we paid back the Embassy and I got my passport back. Pudding Shop to meet Germaine, Jeremy, Jill, Lucas and Frankie the alkie. Various transactions took place over a jacket and then we caught the ferry across the Bhospherous. There was a huge queue of lorries to get on. Frankie came with us to the other side. Drove on dual carriageway into Asia past Izmit and stopped for the night. Jim fried sprats. Frogs croaking and lorries thundering past our two vehicles. 20th Drove to (blank) and stopped for lunch on a plain with mountains in the distance. Fat ox teams and peasants working in the fields. Passed the pipe-making town, very new. It's a sunny day. Stopped off the road, down a track through scrubby land. Made a bonfire and had sardine risotto. In Istanbul we were told by an Australian that Alanya, where we are going, only has rain two days of the year and one of them was when he was there! Chiara claims to have learned to write and adds a page of 'big writes' to my letter home. 21st Carts going by, shepherds stopped to talk, exchanged chapattis. Passed lakes of clear water. Gave a man a lift and he took us to his house for lunch. A stove was moved into the room, set up and started with a shovel of live coals. We eat bread, butter, cheese, olives, sweets, tea and beer. He is Zimmerman (carpenter) from Germany and we are shown the handbag he bought his wife there. The bog overhangs the street. Little children are carried by children only slightly bigger than they are. Back on the road the mountain pass by Lake Burda has white lines. Stopped on hillside and had supper then visited a shepherd family in their black tent, wife, three children and fierce dogs. With twigs to boil the water she made Turkish coffee for the two cups until all six of us had been served. Smoke goes through a hole in the roof and a sick child coughs in bed. They want a TV but Jeremy tries to convince them it is not good. The conversation is prompted by looking at pictures in Chiara's Ladybird book. 22nd We give the shepherd family some oranges. Most mornings, once they see we are awake, one or other of the couples come over to our van from theirs (which is low roof) to give the other couple some private time together. Jill and Lucas sleep on the bed and Germaine and Jeremy on the van floor under the bed. It is beginning to rain. We coasted down another pass to Antalya. Stopped to look at Palaeolithic caves on hillside up a steep path. Impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Camels. Antalya is modern; we went off to the right towards the mountains. Stopped by a clear river near the sea and a petrol dump. Amazing blue sea but windy. Spaghetti for supper and we had a bonfire. 23rd Washday today. Seeing our pyramid toaster Lucas shows us how to have Argentinean garlic bread for breakfast. Put some olive oil in a saucer, toast the bread, grate a clove of garlic on the toasted roughness, dip in olive oil and eat with your nearest and dearest. We are warned not to set the petrol dump on fire! River level falling. Went to Antalya for shopping. It has a little harbour. I
bought wooden spoons 1 lira each. Cooked scones on bonfire. Jill advises me to buy a Mason Pearson hairbrush like the one she uses on her long fair hair. Saturday 24th Pancakes for breakfast, it rained as we left, dismal. Looked at two Roman ruins. Aspendos amphitheatre is very impressively intact. Jim bought an old coin there. Pouring wet as we passed the road to Konya. Thunder as we went to look at the sea, huge breakers and roaring stones. Stopped near a shepherd's settlement where they were feeding the lambs and kids. A shepherd with no socks became enamoured of Germaine. Sunday 25th Woke up to a crowd of watchers, made and ate more scones, no sun. Jim went for a long walk. A policeman or soldier came with a teacher to check up on something. Prepared supper and drove on. Saw round the castle on a cliff where they made us Turkish coffee. Ruined chapel, city walls up a winding path among houses. Rude postcards of Got Bes for sale. Stopped by the road in the rain past Alanya. 26th Dull day, up late, started driving about 12:00 noon. Banana plantations and men carrying banana bunches. Drove on towards Anamur picking up two French freaks who asked to be left by the road later on. Went down a track and stopped at the roads end up a cliff among trees. Beehives, two chaps took Lucas, Jeremy and Germaine to their home. We had oranges, chapattis and cheese for tea. While we sat by our bonfire, a man on horseback and a dog watched us. 27th A sunny morning so we got up early and walked down along the track to the beach. Goats are eating our rubbish and the goat girl was throwing stones. Jim went to the village for bread. Swam in the huge stony breakers. Ate chapattis, built a dam and washed. A passing local showed us how to reheat the chapattis quickly and they become more like water biscuits and less leathery than trying to eat them cold. Lay on the sand beside the fire. Back to the vans and a Russian came to supper. We took Chiara to see the two camels being fed a small ration of minerals or salt. They are kept because the people were nomadic. We were given honey, milk and oranges with Germaine and Jeremy. Sat on chairs outside the peasant's hut. They want to buy a tape recorder. 28th Pancakes for breakfast and made scones on the bonfire as rain began to fall. Jill's boots were stolen in the night and one of our mugs, from under the vans. Took scones and things to peasants and watched the women making their huge chapattis. Kneading small amounts of flour and water at a time into the huge ball of dough, which is kept wrapped in cloths, rolling it out with pencil thin rolling pins and quickly cooking it. Left that campsite and drove passed Anamur. We saw round a bigger, more English, Crusader castle and picnicked there. Some children gave us flowers. Steps up the walls and a walk round the battlements. Changed money, bought local wine. Slept further on at a closed campsite. 1st March. Moved on to Silifke in the sunshine. A lovely coast road and some of us bathed. Stopped for lunch in a large lay bye on a hill above a town. A car of Turks joined us and Jim, Jeremy and Germaine had a smoke with them. Drank coffee by a blue clear sandy bay, inland white soil, white trees, and pink almond blossom. The bridges are all being mended. Stopped for the night at Mut. Jeremy and Germaine got milk and we were all invited to stay with some peasants in their front room. Heat from a wood stove again and cheese, chapattis, olives and tea from a tray on the floor among embroidered cloths and cushions. We wonder if our lack of ability to eat neatly with our hands is part of the entertainment on these occasions. Our hands are washed and perfumed after the meal. There are 10 children and one of them is ill in the best bed. The bog is down the garden and a girl lights our way there in turn. 2nd Up at 6:30am. Hot milk, cheese and chapattis, the children eat theirs rolled while getting ready for school. We take photographs and give the Baba a lift to market. It was cold then snowing as we drove up the Pass, the snow a couple of inches deep. Reached Konya at 1:30pm after stopping for coffee and to put on socks and jerseys. To Tourist Office where Jill and Lucas check for messages from friends who hopefully are ahead of them. Then Chiara, Jill, Germaine and I went to the Turkish Baths, which is small and costs 4 lira each. The attendants were keen to wash Chiara but she was not happy about it. The Turkish ladies shave their bodies thoroughly. Jim and
Lucas go later. Germaine and Jeremy are invited out to eat by Muslim students, while we have spaghetti in Jill and Lucas van. Chiara has a cold, it is slushy underfoot, the mixture of hot bath and cold weather was probably not a god idea but it seemed a rare chance to get properly washed. Saturday 3rd Lugubrious Muezzin at 5:30am. We went to the market for spaghetti, saw chicks, harness shops, stove shops and people who tin coat things. We buy a mince pizza from a street stall then go to Rumi's Tomb. Shoes off, carpets, models of Dervishes and the big covered coffins behind grills. Walked to Karatoy mosaic museum, blue tiles then bought toffee apples. Jim is making sandals and Lucas putting buckles on his coat. Germaine and Jeremy pick up the men from a perfume shop. Sunday 4th It is still freezing. French toast for breakfast after Jim has a tick removed. Lucas and I go to market while Jim washes the dishes. Jeremy and Germaine have picked up a shoemaker now. Left Konya at 11:00am. Jill is in bed with a sore neck and Chiara is off colour. Drove on through very flat cold country, tractors pulling loads of wool with cold shepherds on top. Stopped at a Caravanserai and castle. Arrived in the Goreme area about 5pm ish. The people are frightening. Castle of hollow rock. The rest had tea. Camped in the cold by a surreal valley along narrow lanes. It is more like a moonscape than Earth, some of it quite eerie. Tried to eat horrid gritty (camel shit) sausage we'd bought earlier. 5th Walked to valley in very soft mud. High eroded pillars and carved out passages. Mistletoe on the trees. Lucas found a discarded pot. Drove on Goreme road to a church with coffins on the floor and houses made into pigeon lofts. Further on painted churches carved into the rocks. Goreme itself costs 3 liras each. There are churches, refectories, staircases, frescoes, mud and snow. Chiara was eating icicles. Gave a Dutch trio a lift to Urgup. Shopped and drove on, stopped by the railway for the night. 6th Kayseri. The dollar is floating. Lucas changed money and we bought vegetables etc. Just getting used to Turkish shopping, as we are ready to leave Turkey. Muddy little towns where people stare. Snow and barren hillsides, village valleys of mud type houses with children waving and throwing stones. Huge dogs barking at the vans. Jill is depressed because most people they have asked think you cannot get into Iran without a Carnet de Passage, which they do not have so they may have to leave their van in Turkey or turn back. Stopped among mounds of earth where Chiara fell and cut her head. 7th Happy birthday 23 from Jim. Presents from the Bears and Llamas including a striped passport neck pouch. Drove on to Malatya and bought lukum. The sugar shopkeepers were filling Chiara's pockets. Muddy town, more snow on the pass and sheep grazing on flat roofs. Gave four Turks a lift to Solhan in the dark after putting the chains on the wheels. Tea in the café with trendy men from Konya. People talked all night and dogs barked till the snowplough came and the 4:30am call to prayer. 8th Orange pancakes for breakfast, Jim sleeping for two hours. The four men in the nearbye jail are talking through the bars to their friends and keeping ducks. Natives wanting photographed. Tea again in the café before we drove on to Lake Van. The natives are unfriendly due to Kurdish problems. They are revolting. Dead animals lie by the roadside. Jim bought some tobacco and we watched the sunset by the lake. Stopped the night at a garage up the dirt road to the frontier. Made stovies from onion and potatoes in the pressure cooker, yoghurt and spinach. The locals won't eat our food. 9th Feeling sick, stayed in bed. We started driving at 11am. Stopped in town, Jim's van searched. We had a cup of tea. Later on we bought two fish for 10 lira. Reached the Turkish border at 7:15pm and the grumpy officials had no lights. On the Iran side they are very friendly and welcome us with tea in the barracks. Immigration man formal but thawed when he talked about his girlfriend. 8 lira to enter Iran without Carnet in Jill and Lucas' 1965 VW. The customs men are nuts and we gained 1 and a half-hours. Its cold up so high. Saw four foxes in snow colour and a couple of eagles today. We drove to Rezai by the lake and stopped the night. This Iranian town is cleaner than the Turkish ones were, with huge roundabouts, statues and coloured lights.
Saturday 10th Woke up to army exercises on the field beside the van, this confirms the others in their belief that Iran is a fascist regime they should not support by staying long in. Fish for breakfast then set off at 12:00 noon. Found Bank Melli Iran and its quick all male staff. Rough road, bought petrol and tightened Lucas wheel nuts. The women wear sheet like, flower patterned dark cotton shawls over western or Arab clothes. Old imams in flowing robes. Huge horses, camels in the snow. Lots of bicycles and a new road being built beside the one we are on. The road gets better before we stop up a track. We decide to start early tomorrow. Jill and Germaine want the scone recipe before we part so I hurriedly write it down. Jeremy is a cousin of the Geological Survey Lovelock we knew in Galloway. Sunday 11th 9:45 am drove to Tabriz by 12:00 noon. Shopping is better with a larger variety but some things are imports so more expensive. Set off towards Tehran. We met an Irishman and his Pakistani wife on their way home to Ireland. They were with Iranians with silk and wool carpets, oranges and wine at a lay by. Saw three other European head's vans on the road. Met up with Mescalito who had gone on ahead. Stopped for the night, up a dried riverbed and exchanged addresses. I'd missed the fat out of the scone recipe but luckily they asked and we altered it. We have been told it is not safe to post letters with stamps on them after Turkey because they will get steamed off so have to use Air Letters or watch the mail being franked. 12th They started early while we made spring onion scrambled eggs. Tractors slowed down to see us. Drove fast on good road to catch up with Mescalito. Took wrong road twice but got back onto the right one. Stopped for lunch and caught lizards. You have to pay to drive on the Tehran freeway and it is very American when you arrive, including a Wimpy Bar. Found the Tourist Office in Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard. Then American Express where Jim got one letter and Chiara and I got none. Then we went to the University and the others decided to go on but some Iranian heads stopped for a smoke, bought us some resin and showed us around town. Cherry jam and bread, looking for a teahouse. As the places close we watch the waiters going to sleep on the tables. One of the Iranians grabs me from behind and I scream in surprise. This terrifies them "You must not scream or the police will come". The guys are adamant that they are Persian not Iranian. 13th Goodbye to the Llamas and Bears. Chiara was given a necklace from a girl behind high doors. The Tehran girls are very made up like slags, the young men handsome and smart. Drove out to the campsite and got bread. The supermarket is European and dear with Dutch and Romanian butter. We lost our way but an airman showed us where to go. It is sunny and windy so I wash clothes and we watch an ant's nest. There are drawings on the walls, an English couple in a Landrover. We eat spaghetti for supper and biscuits Chiara enjoys. Smoked. 14th Up late, more washing to do. Jim still making sandals. Clothes dried, spaghetti for lunch, showers and hairwash. The water and electricity go off. 120 reals. Back into Tehran at dusk, done on petrol again. Camped off Takt Jamshid near American Express. Warm, listening to Tehran American Forces Radio which is very Country and Western. We would like some UK news and International news that is less US oriented than the radio station we can pick up, and English papers are expensive. 15th Two letters for me at American Express, none for Jim. Changed money into pounds and dollars. Hepatitis jabs too expensive but got cholera jabs at the Pasteur Institute. With smoky diesel lorries we drove up through the mountains where Tehrani's have a ski resort. Then trees at last down on the plain near the Caspian Sea. We pass Amol and Babol, big towns with fish for sale. Stopped off the road outside Sari, thousands of frogs croaking in three different notes and jumping on the road. We have decided to try to get to the South of India before the Monsoon so we may have to hurry. 16th In Sari we found the Tourist Office, Mescalito have left a note to say they are carrying on. We carry on too after Chiara visits a swing park. Stop later to buy bread, fruit and dates, then eat lunch watched by a shepherd. Boys selling fish by the road, corn growing in the fields, lambs with the flocks and lazing Iranians. Through a game reserve, but no tigers. Stop 10k from Meshad
at 11:00pm. Saturday 17th No note at Meshed Tourist Office so we leave one. Meshed is pretty, with trees and men with turbans on motorcycles. Change £4:00 then off down the road to the border. The villages have domed houses. We catch up with the English Landrover. Then a cloudburst with lightening. The Iran border point is being moved and rebuilt nearer the border but it is not finished yet so everything is in a state of muddy chaos. There is no road and bogged down lorries, busses full of Pakistanis jumping the queues and hippies being searched. The Afghanistan border post is nearly as bad, with three offices, health, police and customs in different places on either side of the road as part of a village with a hotel and a row of shops. They do not want unmarried mothers so Jim and I had to imply that we will get married as soon as possible. We stopped at the government hotel for the night, which has a bank. A weightlifter chap in a leather jacket wants to go to Australia. Most of the men wear turbans, shirts and baggy trousers and the women have complete covers with an embroidered grille for their eyes to look out of. Big dogs. Sunday 18th Bought bread, changed £5:00 at 160 Afs to the £1and bought Afghan Insurance. Get onto a proper cement strip road with dips for the rivers to flow over instead of bridges. Turbaned men sitting by the road, nomads in black tents. Herat has mud streets, veiled women and begging children. We go to the Niagara Hotel - you are only allowed to camp in hotel grounds. We have no brake fluid so that is why we have no brakes. Hand sewn cowboy boots in the boot shops are cheap and Jim wants some. Go out for supper to a native style restaurant for rice with sultanas in it, meat, spinach, fish in flour, potatoes, bread and tea in pots. 33 Afghanis each, a lot of the locals were sitting eating on carpet covered tables around the walls. There was a fishpond in the floor and budgies in cages hanging from the rafters 19th At intersections there is a policeman on a box who directs the mainly horse drawn traffic. A woman crouches in a ditch with only her hand visible for donations. We change money while Americans fuss about currency limits. Went back to the boot shop and got Jim knee length boots and a bag for 480 Afs. Then got fruit and vegetables. After buying petrol we drove along avenues of trees towards Kandahar. The sun is hot; the land flat, almost desert with camels and people on tasselled bicycles, scrub, hills and abandoned forts by the road. Stopped at New Fararod Hotel for the night where we had a not so good supper in the foyer and used their smelly toilets. 20th Woke and tidied the van, paid and left. There are toll barriers at intervals on the road 40, 50 or 60 Afs given to shoddy cropped soldiers selling the tickets from cardboard huts. Its not their fault there uniforms do not match. Men selling eggs by the road, vultures on the Telegraph poles and an eagle. Despite being warned not to stop by the road we did so for a sunbathe and lunch. We found a flat place with a view for miles so no bandits could jump us and stayed near the van. Saw a flock of baby lambs. Reached the New Tourist Hotel, Kandahar by evening. It has two buildings including a restraunt in a large courtyard with a stream. Loads of ants of all sizes. Had a hot shower after supper. 21st Muslim New Year, Banks shut until Saturday but managed to change some dollars. Did a washing, Jim finishing his footwear. Went to the bazaar where now it is hot enough, there are loads of flies sitting on the dates etc, not very appetising. Looked at embroidered shirtfronts and tried to buy embroidery thread. Back to van full of flies and spraying only attracts more. Went for an evening walk along cool avenues of hotel gardens and caged birds to a tatty park where men were putting large stones competitively Jim has a go. Many of the men walk hand in hand in pairs in their best New Year pyjama style suits coloured white, blue and even pink. Ate at the Hotel, it was pretty bad. Talked to a bus driver from Britain on his way back from Nepal. 22nd Drove from Kandahar after another look at the bazaar where we bought a hat and sugar. Saw a stall holder washing lettuce in the street drain, which is a deep channel beside the road so it’s a good idea to get away from here before we eat any salad. Pass flocks of camels, goats, sheep and donkeys with, nomads in tents or waiting by the road for their loads of wool or sticks to be collected. Stopped in a safe flat place for another sunbathe lunch beside the road. Drove on to Ghazni by dusk, stopping to take photographs of this famous place. It was people from here who
invaded and Islamicised India. It's dusty and the hotel is expensive. We slept at the restraunt after a kebab supper; the sugar for our tea was sweet shaped rather than lumps or loose and the staff very helpful and friendly despite language barriers. 23rd Getting higher, reached snow, cold, gave two men a lift. Chiara wanted to play in the snow. Changed to reserve fuel tank. Kabul is modernish with a large flat area with a river and hills covered with houses on all sides. Ate at a cheap restaurant, 12 Afs per portion. Stayed at a hotel that was not the one we were looking for. Americans with two kids 4 and 2 years old at a Hotel further down the road. Columbus night club very atmospheric, Americans smoking. Hotel cat, boy moneychangers and a man selling toy lorries. I have diarrhoea but should get better soon since it is cooler here and there are no flies. Saturday 24th The 60th day of our journey. Tourist Office, bank and very English and peaceful embassy, then tobacco shop and Post Office. Should get money from my deposit account in 8 days. We plan to change it into rupees with the Sikh money changers at the bazaar and smuggle it into India because most Indian banks do not accept American Express Travellers cheques or charge 30% more for changing them. Moved to Sharock Hotel where the Americans are staying, it's very clean and has a fridge. They are buying carpets to set up a rug shop in Hawaii. Chiara has three children to play with since there is another couple with a child. There was a real tropical thunderstorm with lashings of rain today. Smoked, then Ginger the mum made supper of sausage, onions and cabbage. Lovely apple pies. Sunday 25th Jim under the weather. Chiara and I shopped for breakfast tinned porridge oats, milk and sweets from the shop at the end of the road. The shops that have glass doors have a sign on the door that says 'door' so you know to walk in and do not mistake the door for a window or empty space. Finished reading Maurice Hertzog's 'Annapurna' so Jim started reading it after he revived and made egg toast for lunch. Ate at the restraunt for supper then had apple pie from one of Kabul's many bakers trained by Germans, they also make chocolate brownies. Then talked to Chris who is English with a German girlfriend Ellie. 26th Slept late feeling sickish. Jim went to the Bank and then bought oil. Had egg toast, then he emptied out the drive-over inspection pit which is a feature of the Sharock courtyard. Talked to Chris while Jim had his vehicle over the pit to grease its nipples. There is even a pizza restaurant nearer the centre of town and the big hotels. Restaurant then bottle of wine. 27th A nice dog came round while I gave Chiara a bath. Salad for lunch, Jim doing the oil change. The Americans are out buying carpets so we are looking after the kids and Chiara playing with them. Chris and Ellie set off but too late for visas. Macaroni for supper, tomatoes are scarce. 28th Jim working on van. Salad for lunch again. Stasia and her parents arrived. Stew for supper. We are staying outside in the van for a small fee, other people have rooms and the staff sleep on the hall floor. If you go out of the courtyard, through the tunnel of overhanging building some amazing guys ride or walk buy nonchalantly armed to the teeth with old fashioned guns, up from the country perhaps. Chiara is getting excited about her birthday, which should be just over the Indian border. 29th Hot wood fired showers are available free to first comers in the morning. I am reading 'the Spiral Road' in between embroidering patches to sew on things. Ellie arrived with some Germans then went to get a Frenchman. There is a lounge inside here where people play chess, order freshly squeezed orange juice, smoke and talk of their travels. Spaghetti again, it is made in an Afghan factory, there is also a sausage factory, making up the few local factory produced products and easy and quick to cook, with whatever is available as sauce, mostly onions, then grated cheese. 30th Wet. Chris and Jim working on his van, they got the engine back in, but it seized again. Children playing inside. Arkie, the kids' dad is ill. Chiara is missing Trixie and wants granny to write her a letter. I've got a postcard I wrote in Turkey for Mr Lithgow with Turkish stamps on it and I do not know what to do about it since the Air Letters say they wont be sent if you enclose anything in them. But some people think it is OK to post things with stamps if you watch them
getting franked. Some interesting company to talk to. Saturday 31st I'm not so well now. Jill and Lucas arrived here having parted company with Germaine and Jeremy. There is an annexe building in the Sharock courtyard and they were coming to visit an Argentine friend who is staying there, when we found each other and had a happy reunion. Sunday 1st April It is raining. Secured a hot shower by fast footwork and early birding, the marble floor slopes to a drain and the tall woodstove blazes away in its corner. Ginger, Arkie and co had to move out of their room and into another because their ceiling is falling in. There is an amazing range of tailoring in the clothing shops. Heavily embroidered blouses, shirts and dresses, some made more elaborate with gold braids or mirrors. Velvet embroidered waistcoats, long or short. Embroidered hats, bags, leather boots, fur coats all in huge piles. There are other shops with carved gemstones and alabaster plates so thin you can see your hand through them. At the carpet shops they leave some outside on the pavement to be aged by passers bye walking over them. Chaps walk about with a carpet over their shoulder and offer to sell it to passers by. The chess games in the hotel lounge in the evenings are serious and analytic for those involved while the rest of us talk. 2nd Arkie and Ginger went to customs on rug business, Driscoll stayed with us and they gave me 300 Afs when they came back for babysitting duties. We also got the money that arrived from Scotland at the bank. Were taken to Columbus for a celebration meal by Chris and Ellie after Jim finally got their van mended after taking the engine out a second time. Roast Duck and live Afghan Music. Four lovely Swiss Italian boys from Locarno have moved in. It makes joke and story telling complicated since only one of them has enough English to understand and then translate to the other Italians. We also have a Swedish girl with her Algerian boyfriend, an American Psychology PhD, a Swiss mechanic and an English Architect and his wife. 3rd I bought a long red and orange cotton caftan with long sleeves with my babysitting earnings. Jim is helping to mend another German van. Waiting for Lucas who is supposed to come and get us to go up country and see the house they have rented for a month with Carlos and Umberto. Chiara has headlice so I went to the Pharmacy and scratched my head to indicate headlice. They said "Cocaine? Morphine? You wan' buy?" All they offered for headlice was DDT powder, which seems a bit toxic. So we resorted to Jim's dad's standby remedy which is washing your hair in a little paraffin to kill the lice then shampoo. Make sure none of your friends light a match beside you during the process. We did ourselves too since everyone started scratching at the mention of the bugs. Smoked with Bruno and the other Swiss in the evening. There are now 8 or 9 travelling vans a night in this courtyard. The company is very lively and interesting. 4th Raining all day. It seems to rain throughout every second day. Went to Pakistan Embassy for a Permit to drive and left passports there. This is the one they never replied about in Britain. Tried to buy hash at bakers though everyone calls it shit. Went to see Bruno and co in the annexe and had tea and a smoke while the Americans bought. Chips for Chiara who is missing her friends who have gone back to Iran. We went to Sigis but it was a bit like a party you have not been invited to and do not know anyone. The main item on the menu is Wiener Schnitzel. We had mint tea and watched chess played with large outdoor chess pieces. 5th Collected Road Permit for Pakistan and passports after a morning smoke. Said goodbye to Chris and Ellie, Ginger and family and Bruno and co who are smuggling hash in the soles of their boots back to Chiti. This is seriously worrying since the penalty in Iran is death. Lucas arrived and we drove to their rented house in the country. Shopped on the way in a medieval village from a Breugal painting. It is a bare two-storey mud house with a flat roof in a high-walled garden. Jill, Lucas and friends have two big rooms with large windows and bedrooms partitioned off, shower rooms off the bedrooms where you pour a bucket of water over your head. The family who own the place have moved downstairs. The Argentinians are working out a way for Umberto and Carlos to take the van back to Italy with the wooden parts of the roof rack hollowed out and
filled with hash. 6th Slept in the house, hung up washing. Jim scrambled eggs for breakfast. We all went to a Pottery and Drum village on the Mazari Sharif road where they also sell basketwork. We should buy as much as we can here on the way back home. In a shop the Afghan took a jam jar of hash oil off a shelf, dipped a cigarette in it, which we then smoked before it could fall apart. It started raining, we bought some dope. Went to sleep in the van stuck in the mud at Jill and Lucas. Saturday 7th Got dug and pulled out of the mud by four Afghanis and three Argentineans. As we left to drive back to Kabul some people arrived who had stayed in the house for four months before they went to India. Some new people at Sharock, the Italian Swiss have gone, but we can still worry about them. Ate at Columbus which does a lovely pilau rice with slivers of carrots, raisins etc. Jim playing chess again and Chiara was sick. Funny to think of all the people passing through the Sharock going east and west but never the same again. Maybe best not to stay here on the way back. People find it difficult to leave here, they have breakdowns and hold ups or loose vital documents but they all seem to be enjoying themselves. Sunday 8th Jim went to change money, the dollar rate is bad. Chiara playing with an English girl named Rachel. Did more washing. Talked to Pepe age 28 while Jim played chess with Bob. Rene and Heidi, a Swiss couple, with a Willys Jeep are getting ready to drive the north road via Mazari Sharif with three Australians. They can tow themselves out of holes with their winch as long as there is something to attach it to. We went to buy tin trunks with Rene because they have a mouse in their van. The tiny trunks are made from tin cans. The Sikh moneychangers were fun, we got about 8.90 rupees to the dollar, no commission. Rackum is barking. We looked at Lapis Lazuli in the shops. It is 50 to 500 Afs a gram depending on quality and 600 Afs for the setting. Manfred and Ute are leaving with Bob and Pepe. Chiara felt sick and went to bed without finishing her chips, so I ate them. We may give a lift to Kate and Rachel, who are hitching. 9th Got up at 7am to try and get a bath but the bathroom was full of smoke. Had a chay then a shower and washed Chiara's hair. Tidied up, said goodbye and set off. Saw Jill, Lucas, Carlos and Umberto who are in town on business. The lilies of the field have sprouted on the desert after the rain. The journey from Kabul makes the rest of Afghanistan's scenery seem more boring than it had at the time. The Kabul Gorge is splendidly narrow with a swiftly flowing, muddy, rapid-filled river. Gigantic boulders lay beside the road where they had tumbled from the top - I suppose. A couple of waterfalls cascaded down for several hundred feet to the level of the river. The gorge widened out after 40 kilometres to leave room for small villages with corn and paddy fields. There were small dams for Hydro Electric Power and a wide lake where the river lost its mud and turned green. The nomad women with ragged skirts and bundles on their heads have very colourful costumes, those fashionable skirts with panels of different patterned materials and loads of braid and embroidery on hems sleeves and busts. We pay a Toll of 6 Afs for one car and two persons to go from Jamrud to Torkham, the receipt no 8823 has categories for laden and unladen camels, pedestrians, mules, sheep or goats in groups of 10 and 'miscellaneous'. The nomads hire lorries to move camp. The camels sitting down and looking at us seem to go in the first lorry then the people and tents follow in the next. The background to everything was snow capped mountains. The Khyber Pass road was very winding and there are separate lanes for vehicles and animals. Carpets of wild and cultivated opium poppies with purple and yellow flowers covered the earth between the sown crops on the flatlands near Jalalabad, which has been there since time began. A lovely smell of jasmine flowers wafts in the van windows as we drive through eucalyptus trees and trees with red brush flowers. The customs officials are friendly as we get into Pakistan. We drive on the left now. There are forests of large established trees, something we did not see in Turkey, Iran or Afghanistan. Peshawar in the dark, Hospital Road and near the Mall a fairy lit garden party. We are dazzled by dazzling lorries and see a quiet lake over flown by bats. 10th Got up at 7:00. Beside a river, Jim changed the wheels watched by a crowd of onlookers. It is very fertile beside the Grand Trunk Road that is being resurfaced by hand. People squat sorting stones and breaking stones or brush the road, then there are horse or bullock drawn tar sprays. It
goes on every few miles all day long. The first town has no bank that changes but the Assistant Manager of the Australasia Bank gives us tea so he can chat to us about the purpose of our visit. The bridges have 'No Photographs' signs. It is getting hotter all the time. On to Rawalpindi, where there is an American Express we use at the Intercontinental Hotel getting 24 rupees to the £1. There is no harassment and nice toilets. We have lunch on a river bed shore where Chiara makes sand pies and we have two visitors. Stop at one of the many garages to get petrol and mend a puncture. We pass villages, tongas, lorries, busses, buffalo, camels and bicycles carrying two people. We buy mango juice then stop in an orchard by a cornfield where there are crows and other jungle noises in the dark. Chiara is better now. 11th Awoke early to one visitor. When we drove off we forgot the potty that was under the van, someone may have a use for it. Now there are cornfields by the road on the way to Lahore. The tyre is still deflating even though we mended a puncture yesterday. One Toll bridge, 3 rupees as we are a bus. The ladies here have even fewer colours of chador than in Afghanistan. This makes them drabber and have less individuality. We were in a traffic jam with a cart pulled by camels which means long shafts to reach their necks. Did not get very lost in Lahore and found American Express in the Mall, there was one letter that had been forwarded from Istanbul with pictures in it for Chiara. Went to Faletti's Hotel. It is nice and we got a room, but without a shower, for 10 rupees. Because the hotel is full people arriving after us were turned away. Lahore has many gardens and they were putting up tents for Constitution Day Celebrations. Saw President Bhutto on TV, he spoke well as a politician. Went to Intercontinental for a swim, very global but the Pakistanis do not seem to be good swimmers and no lady Pakistanis. Ice cream and two cokes 8 rupees which includes 25% service charge and tax. Tuesday and Wednesday were meatless but this has been revoked. Changed money at the hotel then bought a bug comb, bread and cheap and varied fruit and veg for tomorrow. A market in the dusk with some very thin horses attached to tongas. Ate at Hotel, very good rice and chicken but Chiara's Sheesh Kebab was too hot. Two girls brought Chiara a bracelet and some chocolate biscuits as advance birthday gifts. Travellers coming out of India are very negative about the population there. Quite hot in bed and a group playing music made it difficult to sleep. 12th Woke up before dawn and again at 6am to wish Chiara 'Happy Birthday'. Jim gave her a tiny wooden elephant that got a broken tusk later in the day. I gave her a little orange doll's bed from Kabul. Had tea and drove to a petrol station then to the Pakistan/India border.
1973 Journey part 2.
12th April .Not as much fuss and bureaucracy or queues at Wagah Border crossing as people had warned us about. The India side was a garden where we met the famous dreaded immigration lady at a table under the trees. She was very nice and we were finished by 11:30 with no one noticing our illegal rupees. Soon we saw pigs for the first time since before Turkey, they were small, brown, and wild looking and rooting around or scurrying through the undergrowth beneath the trees. Brightly dressed Sikh girls on bicycles with their scarves floating behind them on the breeze were a breath of fresh air after hundreds of miles of no female faces. India seems like a land of freedom, normality and emancipation to us, rather than something exotic. The cattle are thinner and the road repair gangs fewer, but with women working too. Stopped for lunch outside Amritsar where we were able to buy cold bottled beer from a chest fridge. Jim knows he's reached civilisation now. An American guy turned up near Ambala. Chiara's party included corned beef and Birthday Cake with a good smoke for the adults. A curious family of natives came to watch us beside the road. 13th Cars driving past woke us up. The tyres still needing pumped up regularly. Left Punjab State for Harayana State. Found Connaught Place in Delhi, no letters for us at American Express in Block A. We went to the Indian Automobile Association and bought a huge cloth backed map then visited the Tourist Office. They sent us to the Bharat Scout and Guide Camp, which has two
taps and one outdoor shower working for 3 rupees per night. It is very hot and we are drinking plenty of cokes. The camp is bare earth with a manager's house at the gate, an unfinished swimming pool, and a drill hall with a veranda, abandoned Moorish stone or summer houses, beautifully carved but decaying, trees, crows and squirrels. We are sharing it with 2 Australians, 2 South Africans and a family of picnicking Indians. The shower is in a cool breeze and the pit latrines seem to be left over from the last scout jamboree. I went to bed early but it was too hot to sleep and mosquitoes were biting, so had two showers. Jim cooked his supper then talked until one a.m. Saturday 14th Up and washed. Fruit salad with yesterday's 2 rupee melon. Drove to Red Fort, Chandi Chowk bazaar and bought a mosquito net and cloth water carriers. Then looked for pots in Old Delhi up a narrow street of naked children, with glimpses of courtyards and crowded rooms. Tried to get into some Swimming Pools - Stadium, International Hotel, Ashoka Hotel and Imperial Hotel but no good. Had milk shakes then bought meat and veg at our local airconditioned shops. Bacon 10 rupees, Pork 6R, eggs 2.80R. Slept under the mosquito net but we woke up with mosquitoes on the inside! Sunday 15th Slept late. Australians and South Africans left today for Afghanistan. Moved the van and camped nearer the facilities. We put up the brown front room awning I made before we left home. It attaches to the van by running through an aluminium channel. The front is supported by poles and guy ropes and it has a window. Jim signed a testimonial for the Manager. Cooked bacon and eggs for the first time since Britain, then mango and banana salad. Two dogs belong to the Camp, black and white male and female. Looked at the camp's ruined Moorish stone summerhouse. Two other VWs are getting on with their washing; the Ford van has two brown dogs. A man in a tent asked for an Elastoplast, his friend is prison for forged dollars he got in Kabul. 16th Woke up early and washed some clothes. Birthday cake for breakfast and cool water from Jim's water bottle. Jim walked out to get sugar and bacon then we ate breakfast with dogs in attendance. Took the awning down and went up to town. Still could not find somewhere to swim. Tried to get permit for Darjeeling, Assam and Kalimpong but they said to get them in Siliguri. Went to Singh's Place a department store full of fruit, veg and old clothes stalls. Did not buy anything. Jim annoyed. Went to swings with Chiara. Jim packed bag and left, I tidied front of van. Jim came back. Rice for supper. 17th Chiara very spotty with mosquito bites, mine are itchy but we are putting calamine lotion on them. Up late after a chilly, windy night. A Dutch family arrived late last night with one dog. Three little cowherd children had a chapatti and fruit picnic by the tap and asked us for baksheesh. Went up town to the Nepal Embassy 44 rupees for two visas that we collect tomorrow. Bought two bracelets and an elephant shaped lock for 10 rupees from an expert sales boy. Still unable to find a swimming pool, latest one we tried is school kids only. Bought 10 rupees of fruit and veg then had lunch too early at the Singh Place, the lentils were still hard. Delicious banana milkshakes are 1.50r. Dogs barking in the evening. 18th Jim depressed. Collected Nepal visas and discovered Wengers which has Easter Eggs, bread, cakes, ice cream and a Restaurant. Two Indian nuns having a treat - hot cross buns. Went back to camp and did some work around the van. Jim tidied up his tools. Had a shower and changed then up town for dinner at Wengers of Tandoori chicken and vegetable rice then ice cream. The place is almost too cold and the headwaiter is friendly. Back to the van parked outside in Connaught Circus to discover passports, money, stove and camera stolen. My door was unlocked so either I had not checked it was locked when we got out, or they had some way to unlock it. Stupidly we had been keeping the documents and money together in a folder for customs, rather than hiding them around the van. Jim spent ages reporting the theft to the Police at Parliament Street and getting the necessary chits from them for Insurance. Its so bad it seems funny. 19th Got my passport numbers out of the campsite attendant's book. At American Express we reported our Travellers Cheques missing. We need a Notary Public, photographs and British High
Commission forms cost 95 rupees. It is their fourth stolen passport reported today. Found a photographer at Connaught Circus near the Tourist Office. Met Enid and Bill of the Landrover again, they are staying at the other up town campsite. Went to Police again and foreign Registration. Traffic jam caused by a protest march. Collected Photographs and Photostat of Police Report. Back to High Commission which is in a secluded area with many detached Embassies set in large gardens. Second visit to Coffee house for lovely cold coffees, then went to Bhudda Gardens for a rest. Had a beer with Enid at the other campsite that is a rectangular tarmac traffic island with tennis court style fences so the vans are very close together. Back to our pleasant rural campsite for salad and sardines. 20th Back up town at 10am and got our Travellers cheques replaced and changed some. In American Express a newly arrived Yank seemed to be having a nervous breakdown, our theory is that the toilets are too much if you arrive by air, but going overland you get used to the gradual decline of standards. Took Chiara to a doctor since she is all spotty, tired and itchy. He says it is measles or chicken pox and gives us a 15r prescription for antihistamine pills and ointment. Some places are closing for Easter. Bought a Primus cooker at Mohan Singh for 42r. Chiara sleeping in van. Arrived back at camp to find the Canadian family from Falettis in Lahore. They had slept at the Intercontinental and been north and south in Pakistan. They gave us malaria tablets. We talked then showed them the shops nearbye for meat and veg. Jim cooked supper. Saturday 21st. I feel itchy with mosquito bites and sat around all day reading A J Cronin's 'Shannon's Way'. Jim cooked and went to shops, read and we had showers. I felt bad in the afternoon after taking one of Chiara's anti itch histamine pills that made me very drowsy but she is improving. The campsite is filling up and Jim is out talking to people. Sunday 22nd Got up feeling a bit better. Cooked breakfast. Swapped 'Shannon's Way' for 'Thy Daughter's Nakedness' and read it all day between showers. Jim is fraternising with a French couple Ram and Handa who have a guitar and call him Jungle Jim. The Canadians brought us some mosquito tablets and a stoned Jim helped them mend a tyre. Went to shops in the evening but I was sick and did not cook supper. I'd tried some watermelon. 23rd Finished reading 'Thy Daughter's Nakedness'. Showered and went up town to get Fruit and vegetables at Mohan Singh's with Ram and Handa. Went to American Express, no letters and then to the coffee-house. It is huge with many ceiling fans, loads of men and turbaned waiters, the kind with the starched cloth plume on the top, lovely coffee with ice cream in it. Bought an asbestos mat for the stove. Jim went to other shops for meat and eggs. I was sick again so Jim cooked rice and veg. Smoked with Ram and Handa. Chiara fell out of bed. We decided to go up to the hills tomorrow. 24th Did a washing and tidied our site up, everyone seems to be leaving. Paid British Commission the replacement passport fee and for 19R got a letter saying our passports had been stolen. Went to American Express to change £20. Bought a clay water pot 2r and sandals for Jim 2r 70 paise at Mohan Singh. Then met the French couple at the coffee-house. Visited the Shiva Temple with them. A little girl followed us, and women with babies asked us for 'Baksheesh'. Got lost on the way out of Delhi because of me arguing with Jim. Stopped at a Tourist restaurant for beer and sandwiches. Dressed up to keep the mosquitoes off. Stopped at 11:30pm north of Ambala, Chiara and I asleep already. Jim had a smoke. 25th Drove up to Chandigar, where we went to the Secretariat Milk Bar and met a Sikh friend of Ram and Handa's who bought us tea and showed us the view from the top. He invited us to tea at 6:30. We went to look at the Lake which had boats on it, but it was too hot to walk beside it and too muddy to swim in. Found some discarded clay offerring pots in the mud by the water. Chandigar is in sectors and very open, though some parts are well established even decaying. Very modern buildings by Le Corbusier and other architects and loads of building going on. Had a coke then went round the shopping centre. Drove into the foothills, which were visible from Chandigar to the Mogul gardens at the site of the Pandavas exile. They are on seven terraces with birds, animals, watercourses, swings and restaurant 25NP. The road gets steeper from there; the
mountains are tree clad with palms, flowers and terraced valleys of maize. Gangs of people are working on the roads. Ram and Handa's sliding side door fell off their van. Visited a Guru Nanak Ashram on terraces very peaceful with friendly people. Stopped at Solon Circuit House, Chiara refused to walk around but then ran around playing with the Chokidar's children. Two friendly Indian men staying in the CH bought us whisky and invited us to their home. Jim enjoyed the whisky but it turned out they were plying him with it to get their way with me so we fell out with them then slept in the van. 26th I cut my hair to reduce unwanted attention from Indian men, and be cooler, then Jim trimmed it. We decided to go to the place the men had talked about off the direct route. 29 miles of even more winding beautiful road with, tiny valley farms, birds, trees and peace. Stopped for lunch in the forest and they tinkered with Ram's engine. Drove on to the village and view from the hilltop, got water and a place to stop for the night on a road through to Simla. We saw two monkeys. Jim trimmed his beard and gave a guitar lesson and a kettle. Ram gave me one of his kurta shirts, which is too small for him. 27th Woke to a fantastic view of misty mountains from the road parapet. Made chapattis of a sort then sat around sketching, sunbathing, writing and drinking lemonade. Chiara and I walked on towards Simla through rhododendron trees looking at lizards but saw no more monkeys. Two busses passed us and it was very dusty. Jim had a shower at a Rest House at the start of the tar macadam road. There was a musk deer and an Indian ibex sleeping in a pen, Indians picnicking and a nutty old lady giving people flowers. We passed or were passed by 18 lorry loads of mules and horses on the road. Simla is built on hills and cars are an impossibility. We found a car park and the bazaar. There are plenty of schools, a church on the hilltop and vultures and eagles at the bottom of the valley below us. Chiara drew a crow with a yellow body and black wings and feet. Fried potato and salad for supper. Finished reading 'Couples'. Saturday 28th Egg toasts for breakfast, Jim is mending a puncture. Cleaned Chiara's bed and washed clothes. Went up to the bazaar for bracelets 1r 50, Post card of Ganesh 5r50, Gee 1 kilo 8r and 5 chapattis 1r. Jim is mending the Landrover of the people with the dogs who have also come from Delhi. They arrived here today to get their stolen cameras. Walked up to the top of the hill to the church and had ice creams and our first street stall pakoras. Found the Post Office with monkeys on its roof and a jewellery and curio shop. Shivas Dancing 15r, Brooch 3r Earrings 5r. Set off for Tattipani but took wrong road and lost 35k. Stopped by the roadside. Sunday 29th Made chapattis then rearranged the van. Jim tinkering with the engine and mending Ram's stereo tape player. Cooked potatoes for lunch then drove to Naldera where there is a ninehole golf course. The hillside opposite was on fire so loads of smoke and 'How can they put it out?' but maybe there was a reason for it. We came to a waterfall above the river Sutlej and climbed up. Ram and Handa bathed. We tried a jeepable track but it was very frightening for passengers who could see no road outside the van, just sheer drop. Then down across the Sutlej to Tattipani (warm water) a one horse town. Saw the temple, priest and hash plants. Bathed in the hot spring water watched by a cast of thousands. The priest gave Ram, Jim and Handa a smoke of his chillum. 30th Woke up feeling ill, dizzy and stayed in bed. Jim cooked potatoes for breakfast. Driving towards Manali the road was narrow and dusty, by lunchtime I could sit up and see lots of lovely views. Wooden Swiss type houses looking into their own fields and valleys. Roads busses can just manage but with few stopping places. Got a puncture then stopped at a tiny village for water and managed to buy flour and biscuits in the basic hut shop. Drove back to sleep beside a river. 1st May Woke up to shepherdesses arriving with goats and sheep. Made chapattis and ate them with honey. Washed up while Jim made cocoa and then we wandered upstream. Climbed over rocks, sunbathed, wallowed in pools then back to camp for lunch at 2:30. Sat around all afternoon, Chiara complaining. Watched baby goats, a kingfisher and tribal herdspeople who are migrating through. Supper in the dark with herds of sheep and goats covering the hillside. Jim
smoking and coughing. 2nd Up and ate chapattis. Down river this time with Chiara. Huge rocks, houses round the bend. Jim came and collected Chiara. He is very tired. I bathed and went back to the van. Prepared lunch then took Chiara back up river, sunbathed, splashed around. Made supper early. Huge lightening flashes, Indians digging the guitar playing, storm broke, rain and hail, but over quickly. 3rd Did a washing and hung it on the rocks, some fell off. Jim drawing in Ram's book so Chiara and I did too. Drove on up the dust track to a huge broad valley and stopped on a hillside to make chapattis. The local ladies look like Apaches. Ram ate at a one-horse town. Passed an irrigation canal. Petrol 46r, beer and Coca-Cola, so back to civilisation and hotter in the valley. Mandi is nice, its full of Temples. Spent 54r on food etc then slept at a rest house that had bats, mosquitoes and no facilities. 4th Up to the other guests leaving. An Indian family spoke to us. They were curious about where we come from and are going. A beggar man 'from a tongueless caste'. Jim and Chiara had a shower. More shopping, then on 24k to Rawalsar. On the way we were hijacked for a lift. The lake is a bit muddy but nice. Mad old man. Incredible painted Buddhist Temple surrounded by flags and prayer wheels. The floating islands were a bit of a let down, being more like clumps of reeds, but the hundreds of fat carp boiling out of the water when food was thrown for them made up for it. Piles of Om Mane Padme Hum stones. Walked round the Lake, it’s a bit like a municipal park and there is a shrubbery littered with broken glass bangles and up to a guru temple. Stopped on the flat maidan of the tatty village. Ram and Handa went for a longer walk. She was wearing a sarong knotted behind her neck as a backless knee length dress and got a severe telling off from an old lady, presumably for not being decent. Sat smoking and listening to music in the dark; horns and drums from the Temple and Ram's tapes. Tibetan Buddhist monks in the first watch of the night, when they are supposed not to sleep, came to talk to us. Beautiful. Started reading 'Be Here Now' by Baba Ram Das. Saturday 5th Up early, Jim cooking in front of curious but friendly Tibetans and Hindus. Jim fixed cupboard doors and I tidied. Climbed past little fields, houses, wells, banana tree, threshing floors and crops being winnowed to the top of a small mountain up a rocky path. We were going to see Guru Padmasambhava who founded the monastery and created the lake in some fight with a demon. Our boy guide stopped to light a tiny fire at one point so we could rest. The Guru is in a cave hut where four lamas and a boy live. The steps end in a hidden valley with prayer flags. The boy leads us with a torch through a passage at the back of the cave to where the Guru is carved incredibly tall in a high crack through the rock. We give two mangoes to the oldest monk and go down again. Chiara went off for her own walk around the Lake but Jim and I found her by going round it in opposite directions till we met her. On our way back in the Temple side of the village on a veranda, girls sat in a circle, bug combing each other's long black hair. Monks were trying to sell strings of prayer beads. Jim cooks after watching the fish being fed. Chiara sickening with something as we eat supper. A mangy looking dog scratches itself till it bleeds. We listen to the music of Tibet from the Temple with a French overlay. Sunday 6th Woke to Tibetan trumpets and tidied up with help from our faithful boy who scoured the kettle with sand till it shone and brought us puffed barley from his mother. Drove to Mandi and got vegetables and incense but the shops were mostly shut. Drove up the Kulu road where Ram got a flat tyre. Picked up Michael at a town that had tomatoes and the bridge was closed. He argued with us about China and we argued with him. Dropped Michael then went on up the valley, we had to shift stones to make enough space to turn. Chiara was sleeping and we had got separated from Ram and Handa. We stopped for the night by a river and a little mill. Ladies have medieval dresses clasped at each shoulder. The van was shaking in the night. 7th Woke at 7am to boys working the mill to grind corn. Stone houses with wood verandas, no rails. Jim walked to a shop for flour and biris. A passing Austrian told us that the others are at the Rest House. We drove down there, across the Beas, they knew we were up here. Drove back to mill after a stop at the Shiva rag tree pool. Lunch then Jim dug for worms to fish. He caught
nothing though he tried twice. I read then washed my hair. Jim combed it for bugs. Cooked curry and rice for supper, smoked then bed. 8th Read 'Be Here Now', got up, made chapattis, tidied van. Baba Ram Das the author is a dropped out Harvard graduate friend of Timothy Leary and has mantra for everything, including cooking and wants us to consecrate the food as well. Washed rug then caught tadpoles with Chiara's baggy net and watched them. Chapattis for lunch. Walked to the village with Ram and Handa and bought some ethnic crocheted shoes. It was hot with loads of lizards on the way and yellow raspberries. Handa cooked cous cous for supper and we did rice pudding to follow, then tea and a smoke. 9th Woke late, lay in bed, Jim feeling sick but wants to try cocaine. He made the chapattis. Sheets need washed and hair needs washed. A lady grinds corn at the mill then picks berries. I wash Chiara's hair and she screams when I bug comb her tangles. Jim washes his hair and I bug comb it. I wash the sheets and leave them in the river to rinse. I read 'After discouragement I must rise again, Not my will but thy will be done o Lord', while Jim does the batteries. Jim, Ram and Handa saw a long thin snake. Jim goes to the shop with Chiara, for Elephant matches, and Raja biscuits 25p per packet. A man comes to see our binoculars. Potatoes, eggs, tomatoes and onion fried together for supper. I read the Heart Sutra the Prajnaparamita I wrote such a bad essay about at University. 'Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.' 10th Up out of bed faster but feeling self righteous not religious. Watched a monkey on the hillside opposite the van, moving through the scrub undergrowth and trees. I did some more washing. Jim stayed in bed until lunchtime. It rained and thundered in the afternoon. Ram and Handa went for dinner with an Indian. I wrote some letters home. 11th Got up and tidied the van. Jim finished the battery and mended Ram's tyre. Drove back to the main road, very floaty and bumpy. Dogs lying on the road to Kulu where the Beas valley widens into a plain with buffaloes. Kulu was open for shopping and peaceful in the afternoon sun. Bought vegetables, tea, flour etc. We've become incapable of operating properly in towns. Drove a few kilometres up the Manali road to stop on the river plain. Chiara was illish and Tibetans and an Indian freak watched us at suppertime. Saturday 12th Very pastoral at breakfast with, horses, goats and buffaloes around. This is a traditional camping ground for nomadic pastoralists as well as western vans, with signs of campfires and tent peg holes. Bought milk for 2r then dyed some white clothes purple in a splodgy sort of way that may conceal grubbiness. Ram and Handa went to Kulu. We walked down the road across the bridge and saw mills and waterfalls. Fried vegetables for supper again and the freak came back for a smoke. Sunday 13th Jim wrote home after a lot of persuasion. Decided not to go on to Manali yet since this is such a lovely place. The Indian freak, who is called Prem Nath, brought me a Teach Yourself Hindi g book. The little girl with him is Tibetan from the shanty camp up the road. Ram and Handa tried to find a way across to the island in the river. Read Chapter 1 and 2 of the Hindi book. 14th Prem Nath came and walked us all to his house along a beautiful narrow path through orchards, corn fields, past mills, irrigation and strawberries. It is all man made with a tree to rest under for shade and hash plant growing plus a baby calf. They are from Lahaul and Spiti and Handa tried on one of their velvet dresses with cross over fronts. The house has many calendars of Kali, Durga and other dieties. Prem Nath had a wife but she ran away with another man so he leads a renounced life, not being inclined to marry again. They were threshing but it started to rain so they covered their work up with straw. They gave us Tibetan salt tea with tsampa and maize roti. We did not know how to mix the tsampa into the tea and eat it in balls even with the help of sticks. The tea tastes more like chicken soup than tea. Back to the vans and went to Kulu to the shops and sat under a tree looking at little girls looking at Chiara. Went to bed early stoned. 15th Up early, very tired. Chapattis and mango for breakfast. Weather dull, damp and cold. While I tidied the van two Tibetan boys and a girl were delighted to have their own tins from our rubbish,
pins and a match. We looked at pictures in the Himalayan Art book with them. Chiara is being difficult, she was unwell yesterday, but does not stop eating. Ram and Handa may stay here at Prem Nath's house. We went to the shanty Tibetan teashop for salt tea, which they made with hot water in a long wooden tube. Pakora for supper, Jim was feeling ill but there was a beautiful nearly full moon. The Tibetan adults came to see the Himalayan art book. They spend the winter in Delhi when it's cool enough for them to cope and left there two months ago. When the teashop is finished here they will go to Dehra Dun where the Dalai Lama stays. 16th I'm getting unsure of the date. We tried to go to Manali but there was heavy rain and Jim was wanting to trip. Ram has a bottle of acid. A mention of nothing in the farm landscape being natural here provokes 'Man is natural so his Artifices are natural' from philosopher Jim. Why are we all driving our Microbuses across Eurasia, which we did not know, existed till we bought the map? And what is the influence on the children who see us, or play with Chiara? We learn that you do not find yourself by moving. Jim is sick again and I go to sleep with a sore back. 17th Buddha's Birthday. Rain. Two mule trains camp here before noon, six tents of mainly men and boys. A goat with its udder in a bag to stop its beautiful kid suckling. I'm embroidering a fish and keeping on at the Hindi book. Went to the Teashop for beedis before supper. It poured and we sat and watched people while sheltering. There was an incredible altercation over a sack of maize. Listened to Janis Joplin breaking her heart. It’s a full moon but too cloudy to see it. 18th The mule trains left by 7am. We watched them packing up and tidied the van. A good view of the snows as we drove to Manali, which is a clean resort for rich Indians. Shopping, no ghee, nice food, clean restaurants and Tibetan curio shops. Bought three beads for 20r one long, black and white with 'eyes' in it and two large coral coloured, reproductions of Traditional Tibetan, cap 7r. Drove up out of Manali past Tibetan camps to a valley with a glacier, there were holes in the bridges. It was cold and we ate Afghan macaroni for supper. Saturday 19th Up to chapattis, did some Hindi. Took Chiara a walk with Jim in his kilt, to waterfalls and a glacier with a snow grotto where the water was running out of it. Incredible snow capped mountains above us. Picked up a mandala stone and had a picnic. Jim cleaned his chillum then we drove up to the snow line. The tibetan camps are for the ones working on the roads. In this case clearing and building the road to Leh. They are selling their turquoise necklaces (600r) because they want wristwatches. When the road became a snowdrift we turned back past an Indian jeep which had run out of petrol and took photos of us. Crossed a bridge over a gorge. We went to the hot spring baths, which are a totally different experience from Tattipani. You hire a room, which has a family sized bath, which you fill up and get as clean as humanly possible, then the bath is emptied before the next occupants have their turn. Saw a headless snake lying in a village. Camped in a Manali Car Park after an Indian supper. Sunday 20th Cold, up early, but no bread because the shops are shut, people sweeping the streets. Tibetans in a shed and Tibetans wearing Tibetan boots and rubbish pile beside the toilets. Walked up the hill after breakfast and met Haggi and Martha Zidon and their kids. They have been living in Nepal for two years where they had a shoe shop and are well on their way to becoming stateless persons. He is Israeli but will lose his citizenship if he does not return there soon, which he cannot do because all the ships go via Islamic countries, which will not accept him, and they don’t have the airfare. She has lost her German citizenship by marrying a non-German. They gave us coffee, bread and honey. The CID came round checking passports so we went back to the van. Had lunch in the Indian and went back up the hill with the van. Jim and Haggi talked leather and cars. Went up to the top of the road to find it blocked by a lorry and stones. This is a lovely place to camp with grass under huge mature trees and loads of freaks. Jim was ill in the night. 21st Jim in bed so Ram took his temperature. I picked herbs and read Rommel. Haggi and Martha moved their van up higher. I took Chiara up to see them, Rebecca was playing there too. Lovely view down wooded hill to a stream. Back to give Jim medicine. Three wee girls playing with Chiara's toys. Handa covering cushions. Soup and yoghurt for supper. 22nd Jim well enough to travel. Up the hill to say goodbye to the collection of freaks and have
another lovely cup of coffee. Got yoghurt in Manali, saw Tibetan shops and went to the bank. Mrs Gandhi to visit was the reason for increased security. Stopped at the Tibetans chai shop for sweet and salt tea. Bought a shawl in Kulu but there were no Lahaul and Spiti dresses for sale. In Mandi we got bread, jam and glass cattle beads. Stopped at pond Temple then down to Bilaspur and the Bakra Dam. Had a shower by the road. Jim was attacked by bees when he walked away from the van towards a bridge. He rushed back, we shut the doors and windows, had soup and went to bed. 23rd Up slowly, Jim stringing beads. I sewed Chiara's dress. We discovered the bees hive or nest under the bridge. We drove down the dam side to a chai shop where Jim read the paper including rioting about disarmament, Arthur Mee, complaints about wheat and water. Got lost in Chandigar. Melons by the roadside cost 3r. We found some lovely water to swim in. It was getting dark by Ambala and Panipat where we bought petrol at a garage with a fountain and had roti and dhal. Delhi at 10:00pm was a hive of life with the coffee-house closing. Back to the campsite to find one more tap working and the Swiss there. 24th Up early, washed and near the shower watched a motorway of ants carrying a dead vulture in small pieces in one direction and going back empty for more in the other. Met a Swiss couple from Australia with two kids. Up town to the High Commission and got our new passports. Eleven letters at American Express so we went to the coffee shop to read them. Visited the State Emporium but there was too much cloth, handcrafts and jewels to take in. Tourist Office. Bought bread and back to the campsite where Jim became ill again. Paid the campsite, read the papers, had bacon and eggs for supper, showers and bed. 25th Jim was tired. Chiara and I went to watch the ants again. Women in long skirts, blouses and head cloths carrying big bundles on their heads walked through the campsite. Went shopping at Mohan Singh's and got data put in our passports by Foreign Registration Office. Looked in Bookshops for the Teach Yourself Hindi Book since I'd sold mine to an Indian girl who wanted it to learn English. Thus I lost Prem Nath's address which was in it. We had a good Indian meal with silver leaf glittering on the curry but we worried most of the time about the van outside, locked and double checked. It was alright off course. Saturday 26th Jim made a swing for Chiara with the towing rope and she has got quite good at it. At the Nepalese Embassy we had no luck getting them to put the visas back in our passports because they want paid for new ones. It is very hot. We went to Rajdoot Hotel swimming pool. Chiara really likes the cool, blue water, but it is so deep we have to hold onto her while she is in swimming. Jim playing chess. Rice pudding for supper. Sunday 27th Sat around then went to the shops and the Pool. More people there today and a cute little puppy. Chiara had crisps. I put some of the glass beads on the fringes of my passport pouch. To bed early Chiara has a rash on her neck. Her 2 Swiss friends left for Kabul. Revised the previous calculations in the back of my diary of different distances for trips around or across India and the number of days driving to or between them. Since Katmandu is out we'll try Lucknow, Ayodhya, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Varanasi, Agra and back here. 28th Off to get things done, American Express, Post Office and Bank. Tyre mending then to Pool. Dullish, no shade, had to pay, ate a meal there. Thunder and lightning back at camp, cool but no rain. Tried to fill in Mum's Scotsman price thing. Fruit is not very cheap yet but vegetables are getting more and more cheap and the vegetable oil crisis is subsiding. Apples, bananas, lychees, cherries, mangoes and grapes all 3r to 5r a kilo. Five or six varieties of aubergine (green, white, purple, long, fat) carrots, potatoes, onions all at 1r kilo, tomatoes are dearer. Talked to Carlos from Brazil and Patsy his girlfriend who has bad feet until 1:00am. Slept better. 29th Up talked to Jean Pierre a sculptor from Brittany who was tripping last night. Jim went up to town on tyre business. I talked to Patsy and Carlos educated me about Marx and South American politics. Chiara is forever dragging 'my granny' into conversations with the people we meet, when relevant. The monsoon rumbles and flashes in the distance at night but no rain falling here. Most of the people who were here when we got back have gone to Darjeeling or Nepal already. There are rhinoceroses as big as the van in a wildlife park in Assam so we might go there. The
newspapers are still intrigued with the Lord Whatsit sex scandal. 30th Nothing doing and still not away. Jim took Chiara to the Pool. It is Patsy's birthday, she is still pretty immobile with a sore foot. Up town to Tea House for a meal. The older women of Delhi city wear yards of material in bold patterns of nylon rather like Council house front room curtains in a matronly bumfled style. They also carry bulky handbags to detract from what oriental grace they might have had when younger. Bought shirts and trousers for £1 new cotton and the shirt hand embroidered. We now have a very hippie couple in their 40's with a teenage son. Went to the stall up the road for an evening meal and talked to a drunk. 31st Carlos and Patsy packing up two kilos of hash. Chiara spent a lot of time up trees outside the van but has to be shifted to a different tree now and then. In the process I stand on a thorn in the hard backed earth. Did yoga from Russel Atkinsons book in the ruined temple thing. Wrote to Mum, Pete and Eddie, Richard and Sheila. Took Carlos and Patsy up town to post their parcel and drove out of Delhi at last. The traffic on the Jumna bridge out of Delhi moves at the pace of the slowest vehicle, the ox cart, the railway line runs on top passed overhead as we crossed. It was afternoon and all the spaces between vehicles were occupied by bicycles. For miles it is very industrial on the other side of the Jumna from Delhi lorry depots, rocking horse factories and small iron foundries. The road to the Gangees runs through what looks like English parkland with big old trees grazed to the height cattle can reach. Many of the big trees are mangoes and groups of children gather to throw stones and sticks to shake down the ripe fruit from the ends of the branches. It is the school holidays. There are thatched cottages but the ground is brown and parched. Ate supper at a canal side but were advised we could get our throats slit if we stayed there. Slept at Bulandshar Dak Bungalow on a river. The chokador was asleep, mosquito bites annoying me. 1st June. Got tyre fixed and had two cups of tea and wrote to Mum while we waited. No trousers. Drove down to the Ganges but did not swim there, discovered we were going south instead of east. At a bridge crossing we found a large Temple Pool with two elephants at the far end. We swam and some local girls arrived to swim too. They quickly transformed their saris into bathing costumes, with a few knots. We lost the van keys here but found them again. Here the country women wear thin flowing saris in single bright colours, yellow, crimson or turquoise and walk gracefully across the fields with pots or bundles on their heads. They drape washed saris across the bushes to dry or three women in contrasting colours gather at a well. Some saris are older and fading gracefully. On the way to Barielly, the road got narrower and dusty, metal plates, a pontoon bridge and rain. Saw a monkey by the roadside and had an altercation with a taxi. A long hunt for a rest house but found a nice one eventually. Ate some of Chiara's supply of tinned chocolate pudding for desert. More rain in the night. 2nd Eventually departed after having showers, tidying and waiting for rain to stop. In Shadija Naipur we bought nuts and rice for lunch. Chap pulled knife, then watched a wood turner using a bow and his feet as a lathe. After Sitapur we swam in a canal and washed clothes. Had a puncture just outside Lucknow. Saw 7 or 8 circus elephants bathing in the river to Chiara's delight and mine. All the water buffalo got out of the river when they saw the pachyderms approaching sedately down the steep bank. Dozens of little aspiring mahouts climbed into the water with the elephants, who were thoroughly rubbed and scrubbed. They rolled over in the water with trumpets of enjoyment and squirted themselves with water before climbing the steps back up to the road. From behind and below they looked bandy legged in loose grey wrinkled pyjamas. Then we found the largest most modern Tourist Bungalow we've stayed at, with a helpful reception guy 2r a night camping. Went downtown for tea, embroidery threads and bookshops 18r, Tilak set 15r. Had our first Trishaw ride to get back 1r. Rice Crispies for supper. The toilets are mixed with a urinal in one corner. 3rd A girl and two boys are amusing Chiara. Showers are in the Men's dormitory. Went sight seeing to the Imambara, labyrinth, chandeliers, two terraces, no shoes allowed inside, bats and
people selling plastic ivory. Bought post cards 2r for 12. Ice Cream then eventually found the Residency famous in film and story, where the Mutiny siege took place. Set in an attractive garden, hot with sad inscriptions on plaques erected to the memory of the slain by the survivors. 3,000 people were besieged for four months and 998 survived when the Residency was relieved by Scottish troops with bagpipes. See Tennyson's poem of about 1857 for details. A tatty model, several nice sets of engravings and etchings of the siege done by contemporary artists to sell as 'news' in Britain and period cannonballs. No money with us so back to Tourist Bungalow, made supper and played with the kids. Up town for Indian ice cream a highlight of Lucknow made in little sealed metal cones, knocked out and served with two flicks of the shopkeepers wrist onto a saucer with sweet, pink noodles on top of it. Plenty of people thronging the narrow streets including a cheery guy in leg irons and a loincloth smoking a cigar. Loads of stalls selling very real looking plastic 'ivory' and a very good bookshop for Indian and European books. Only 75p for Trishaw back. Jim played two games of chess then bed. 4th Another hour spent waiting for a tyre to be repaired. Twenty pounds from bank is 372 rupees. Drove to where we thought the Chowk was but it was not there then drove back and found it. There is a Circus at Victoria Gardens. Bought fruit and veg then went out of town over the bridge. At Ayodhya we swam in the muddy river with hundreds of yards of the bank covered in steps leading up to Temples, some very old and saw an elephant going to the ghat. Dozens of sadhus or holy men going to the river with a small pot in one hand and striped colours on their brows. The town has three kinds of shops, each by the score, one for the colours to make the Tilak marks on the forehead dot, trident or wave, the next for Indian wood rosaries of 108 beads and holy pictures and the third selling cakes to all the pilgrims in their best clothes and a holiday mood. Jim drank a lassi (yogurt drink). We found a Tourist Bungalow at the Station. Mosquitoes, showers and managed to set up the net so that we could sleep outside where it is cooler, shits in the night. 5th Did a little yoga after I woke and before Chiara woke. A troop of monkeys feeding on the mango tree was chased away by the chawkidor and some children throwing stones. Feeling illish with a sore back. Near our bungalow is small Rama Temple of three red buildings in a compound. In town we went to a chae stall, then to the big white newer Rama temple with red towers. This is his town. He is the perfect husband and a king who was exiled with his wife and brother because his father had previously promised his second wife any two boons she desired. This was of course to have her offspring on the throne not the legal heir. After slaying dragons, having his wife kidnapped by the king of Ceylon etc Rama got the kingdom back again. On the temple steps little boys sell garlands of jasmine flowers. Inside it is cool and white, with elephant headed capitals on the pillars, a big hall with a tasteful naturalistic life size alabaster group of Rama, his wife Sita and Laksman, his brother all dressed in silk costumes. The two side chapels had similar statues one of Shiva meditating with a painted snake round his neck and the other of Hanuman the perfect devotee with a monkey's head. They were also life like, garlanded, alabaster statues with painted details for extra realism. Painted marble bas-relief tablets and inscriptions in Sanskrit, Hindi and English on the walls of the main hall tell episodes of the Bagavad Gita and other Hindu Scriptures. The stone is not so much painted as tinted so it is coloured but translucent. Outside more stalls sell pilgrims and devotees, scoops of tilak powder from big piles of it, beads, religious pictures and cakes. Sadhus by the score. We bought atta (flour) and sugar. Through Gorakpur and Kaissia then got lost going to the Gandak bridge. Dirt roads, bad directions and bad AA map showing a bridge planned but not built. National Highway 28 with railway. Went back and found a Rest House. Simple people, power cut at the teahouse, no shower, slept outside again. 6th Feeling ill so I slept in Chiara's bed for 10 miles but still no bridge over the river Gandak. Loads of weddings because it is the wedding season, the auspicious time. They did not have any weddings in May. Each groom and his brother or best man are carried in two palanquins by a group of friends. They stop frequently to rest by the roadside. Since all the palanquins are in demand on the same day, some are rather tatty. The same goes for the bands that accompany the
party, who need a white horse if one can be afforded and bagpipers seem popular. Jim and Chiara had lunch and he translated German for someone. Finally found a bumpy main road. The ferry was too dear. Crossed the Gandak by bridge and saw more weddings. The bride's house is decorated with paper flags and her brothers are waiting outside with new shirts on. the relatives arrive by tricycle rickshaw, bus or oxcart depending on the size and means of the family. This Rest House has a steam engine and a parade of elephants passed. Old cars abound, slept outside, no shower. 7th Heavy rain, people are sheltering everywhere and there is foam on the puddles, as we drive through the flat land of Bihar. There is a hartal or general strike today in protest against rising prices. It is far more thorough than British strikes, shops all shut, except chemists, no lorries on the road, no petrol for sale and tea shops closed. The rain made everyone look extra depressed. On a dull day colourful saris brighten the scenery and boys riding bullocks. We pass a solitary funeral with the deceased on a plank under a white sheet. We get to Purnea still in Bihar along the banks of the Ganges. The Tourist Bungalow we stay at has two German couples in VWs for us to share the bathroom with. They have come here through Africa shipping the vans to Bombay. They told us a good place to park in Calcutta if we get that far. Had tea, talked and went to bed, a lonesome train whistle in the dark. I wrote home and Chiara did an abstract drawing on the letter while I was in the shower. She sent lots of kisses (4 each) to granny, Karen and Trixie. 8th Drove up to Siliguri in Bengal past tea plantations which look like rows of privet hedges and surprise us by having tall shade trees growing in them. It rains every day so the tea pickers take umbrellas with them and hang them in rows on the fences and clumps in the trees. The people look more intelligent. Some of the ladies, mainly older ones, wear saris without blouses underneath. Thatched houses, pineapples and cheap bananas. Green rolling hills with a wide road with hitchhikers. Went to the Police Station and got a seven day permit. Found the Railway Station and ate in its Restaurant, Indian system, fingers and a metal tawa (tray with foods on it). It was getting hot as we drove up the Darjeeling road, we thought. But it was the Bhutan and Sikkhim road. Had to drive back to look for inner tubes which ought to solve the puncture problem but no luck finding them. After a long hunt we got to a Bungalow on stilts with a primitive bog. In town we bought a tilak set and fake cup of tea and a biscuit, from a clay joke stall. We spent ages watching cloth being printed with wooden blocks in a shop and the owner explained how he never does two lengths the same. We had rice pudding for supper and an Indian gent let Jim use his shower. A sweaty night with the sound of pigs and the baby steam engine. Saturday 9th On the road to Darjeeling we left the plains behind and the girls in the road mending gangs were beautiful. There is a mini train on narrow gauge rails running beside the road, on it, and over it to Darjeeling. It travels 52 miles in 8 hours for 5r 3rd class, £1 First class. The schoolchildren race it through the villages and win! Extra passengers ride on the roof. The mini trains and railway run by the roadside so we overtook the train and it overtook us by turns, or maybe it was the next train because the bends and loops in the road and railway do not match each other. Cloud all around and gardens and mossy trees. Little towns with neatly dressed schoolchildren waving at us. Past Kursong and Ghoom to Tiger Hill where we drove up then walked the last kilometre up the road among dripping trees to the 30's type Observatory cum restaurant building but it was too dull and misty to see mountains so we took tea for 40p. There is a big gateway with two carved lion dogs which Chiara enjoyed sitting on. Also a Shri Devi Temple and a Shiva Temple with incense burning in the rain. The mossy trees look like Kipling's drawing of 'the cat that walked by its lone'. An English guy playing a flute stopped to talk to us. Jim made egg and chips for supper. The mist parted to reveal stars and something silent in the night ate the left over rice pudding out of a pot under the van. Sunday 10th The alarm went at 4:00am. We heard the roar of jeeps and Land rovers changing gear to climb the hill. So we jumped into our clothes. What we thought was a bank of clouds had become huge ranges of mountains. Jim walked up, Chiara and I got a lift. Loads of people packed the observatory tourists, Indians in jerseys, shawls or their dressing gowns, since we are 8,000
feet up and it is cold. The tops of the mountains were covered all over with white cloud that turned pink and started to move away, then sunrise. 'Aaah' from every lip. Kachenjunga appeared, then we saw Everest a tiny cone in the distance, at dawn from Tiger Hill. Many of the people had been coming day after day without it being visible, so we were very lucky to see it first try. Had chae then walked down to the van. I did yoga, Jim found a water tower lookout, hot chocolate then back to bed. Chiara and I went to the Temples now staffed by brahmins with pink rice marks on their foreheads, scattering milk, lighting handfuls of joss sticks, chanting 'Om Shankar', giving out prasad and flowers. Talked to a Sikh family in a car as Boy Scouts with whistles went past. Drove down to Ghoom for bread, biscuits and bidis. In a government hash and liquor store Jim bought a glass of country spirit 1r, strong! 60%? Got water and went to Tourist Bungalow, veggies for supper. 11th Raining, misty, coffee and toast in Tourist Bungalow then tea and biscuits in van. Jim reading, I tidied cupboards while Chiara slept. Then she woke and saw sweepers children, girls in tatty dresses with a puppy. We gave one of our empty tins and some stones to the one that was crying, then Chiara gave her a too small dress. She looked cute in it. At 12:00 it was clearing a little so we went to Ghoom to post letters then to Darjeeling which has lots of tourist shops and cafes. It is quite nice, not as clean as Simla but similar. Had lunch in a Hotel, found the bank and foreigners Registration. But it is too early to re-apply and they do not cover Assam here. Because of the narrow hilly roads with many No Entry signs it was difficult to find the Tourist Office on the Mall and the Tourist Lodge. Chiara and I went for a walk and saw a stable full of racehorses or Polo ponies and met some Indians from Calcutta who invited us to visit them if we go there. 12th Up, Jim went to the bank to change £25. Got foreign registration until the end of the month including five days in Kalimpong. Went to Glenarys for lunch and bought milk in the dairy. It only comes in quart bottles so we'll have rice pudding again. We can buy lovely brown bread and stewed fruit. At a photographers we bought 4 slides in an attempt to make up for the loss of the camera in Delhi. They had some expensive Tanka poster reproductions as well. Drove to Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre. It was very interesting to see the crafts, carpets, yak hair jackets, painted masks, dragon carvings and lovely boots but a bit too expensive to buy. They are priced for American tourists. Chiara loved the little Tibetan Prayer dog puppies outside a pretty house. Our friend with the whistle was also there. Chiara fell while walking back down hill. Jungle rhythms, macaroni for supper. Rain at night; damp the rest of the time. 13th Toast for breakfast, Jim still reading, Chiara found a leech. Drove back up to Darjeeling and Glenarys, found our whistle friend again and had a cup of tea. He took us to get cholera jabs at the Municipality, which was filthy and dusty. In the pouring rain we went to a clean, pleasant Nursing Home and saw a doctor about our off and on diarrhoea. Consultation 20R pills and medicine 9R 50p. Went to Post Office then shops and back to Tourist Lodge. In the newspaper we read that the south-west monsoon has advanced into Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Arunchal Pradesh and is likely to move into Bihar and West Bengal in the next 48 hours. Ate bananas and tinned chocolate pudding for supper. 14th Rain stopped, up, toast and scrambled egg. Walked to see the thoroughbred horses again in their stable and give them carrots. Darjeeling has the highest, smallest racetrack in the world. Walked on to the Himalayan Zoo and saw a llama, pheasants, bears, a leopard and other cats. The Indians do dangerous things like trying to pat them, or tease the animals. Then we had coffee at a Sherpa Tea Shop. It was raining until we got to Sherpa Tenzing's Mountaineering School and Museum. We looked at photographs of mountaineers, mountain flora and fauna, mountain equipment, Awards, the Everest room with expedition mugs and the toeless boots of a frost bitten climber. A cake like relief map of the Himalayas and relief models of the world's mountains where Ben Nevis looked like a pimple compared with the Himalayas. Then we saw the rest of the Zoo including a yak and a big tiger. Chiara especially liked the ten-month old tiger cubs that were out playing like puppies with huge floppy paws. We walked back to the Mall with the railings, trees and asphalt of any country. Hired hack horses 3r 50p per hour and rode along the hilly
streets and paths past noisy schools, goats grazing and crowds of people. Went back to van for tea, Jim got milk and papers, had scones, plums and custard then did the crosswords. 15th Pouring rain with huge puddles, woke at six but stayed in bed until 12:30pm. Scrambled eggs, coffee and honey for lunch. Rain, rain - washing that was hung up near us last week, is still not dry. Went up town for milk, a doll, newspapers and an apron, then made rice pudding for supper. Jim reading, Chiara better but not sleepy. Did crosswords again, the Statesman carries the Times one and we average 4 right solutions between us! Saturday 16th 5 months from home and 10,753 miles. The Swiss chap in the van behind us also had money stolen in Delhi. 4,000 R. He was in hospital there for two days and it cost 400R. Jim serviced the van. I bought a copy of the Mahabharata for 3R 50. We went to Shangri-la for a Tibetan meal at supper time this was to celebrate six months on the road, then we worked out it was only five. So have to celebrate next month. It is a nice restaurant with several huge carved screens among the tables, white walls red curtains at the sides of the windows, blue pelmets and green curtains where the net would be across the window. Odd Tibetan jugs and embroidered dragons here and there. We had Pishi, a clear soup with large meat filled Tibetan hat shaped pasta, slivers of carrot and watercress. Followed by assorted Mo mo, another type of meat filled pasta a bit like large ravioli, no hot spices, just onion so Chiara wolfed them down. We had crepes for pudding, not authentic Tibetan I think, and Chiara had a cream horn as well since cakes were on display in the foyer. Sunday 17th The Swiss are leaving town so brought us their address. Jim had been in a huff and the Swiss man is sick but they played 5 games of chess to make themselves feel better. Chiara and I went to feed the horses again with a Lab Technician called Rosemary who has worked in a Kibbutz. We bought a comic 1R50, a 3 to 7 cup coffee pot 3R and 50p cakes. The nearbye roller skating is like the 1930s, with everyone going sedately round in circles, many girls holding hands in pairs, in a big wooden floored hall. Cooked macaroni for supper. 18th Jim is working on the van lighting but interrupted by showers that are not good for electrical work. I tidied up Chiara's bit, read and stuck things in her book with her. Went down town at 4pm for bread, milk and Post Office. Singing child beggars holding out tin cups for donations. Nuns in white saris with blue edges, tidy, chubby, mini skirted schoolgirls with plaited hair. Wiry old Tibetan porteresses and pony ride hawkers amid the tourists. Looked at Tibetan dresses 45R for the complete set with blouse and apron or 40R to 100R for dress only. Tinned chocolate pudding and stewed pineapple for supper tonight. 19th Got up and decided to move off. Tidied up and Jim got the bus that was blocking us in to move. They did not charge us for our stay at the Rest House. Said goodbye to the ponies Jalil, Glen, Pinzo, Fargo and Chaitak then watched tennis and the roller skating again. Had lunch at Shangri-la, where we met another Indian from Calcutta. Looked in souvenir shops enamel 61R, Kashmir bracelets 1R, candlesticks and joss holders 4R 50, also Kashmiri eggs 8R and boxes 10R, Ribbon bags 12R and a toy train for 6R. Went to market for fruit, veg and sugar then drove to Ghoom and Tiger Hill for night. 20th The Bungalow Manager is not so friendly due to illness and the toilets being damaged by visitors. Washed and drove to the Monastery to look for the flute guy but he has maybe gone to Teesta. There are big prayer wheels with old ladies circumambulating and a monk painting tankas. Small boys were helping in the building work by hammering bent nails straight again. Made supper at the petrol station then moved back to Sonada lay bye. Boys engrossed by the sight of Jim filling his pipe. The sounds of frogs and a Jews Harp, glowflies flashing on and off lull us to sleep. 21st Back to Sonada to look for thingie the flautist up the hill past a house being built and it began to rain. I was feeling very weak and as if I'm getting a cold. We met up with a French couple and went on over two streams, past Bhutanese girls, pigs and cottages looking for the 'memsaib's house'. Jim found it. He went down hill in the pouring rain to a craft and sweet shop, which turns out to be a Tibetan Co-op. In a wooden building built with Swedish money. We saw round their
store full of jerseys and bags made of Tibetan wool imported via Nepal. Watch a row of ladies carefully weaving strips of cloth on back strap looms secured to 'towel rails' on the wall. Each strip takes 6 days including setting up the warp threads and cardboard guides that turn the patterns, banging down each weft and finishing and they get 18R per strip. A man was doing the final pile trimming of his white carpet with dragons jumping all over it, hearth sized, £20. Rain beating on the tin roof, children and a Shrine to the Dalai Lama. We talked about Export licences and Swedish machine looms with Mr Tsering. He's going to send a prospectus to Scotland for Mrs Ross. Going downhill via Ghoom and Lopdu our ears blocked due to the sudden pressure change and I could hear no sound. We stopped beside three little stupas where some men were planting a telegraph pole. A jeep load of monks arrived. There was a cement viewpoint to a view of white sand and a brown river. The road looped down to a 'No photographs' bridge, with a passport check of our 5 day pass, over the Teesta or Tista. We got to Kalimpong, then drove on up to the Sikkim border on a wide hill road, past army lorries and army camps. We stopped for the night where we could look over into Sikkhim and hear Sikkhimese dogs barking. 22nd We got up and went back down to Kalimpong through a valley of thatched Tudoresque cottages inhabited by ladies in sarongs and blouses. Kalimpong is cleaner and warmer than Darjeeling was. We went up to Dr Graham's Homes and the church at the top seeing the swimming pool and children's faces through classroom windows like in the film, but it was drizzling. Changed £15 in the ban, looked at shops. Near the top of a hill above the Post Office and a garden full of goats, we found the Rest House but it was fully booked. For 19p per person we saw a display of the Bangladesh atrocities in long armed models. There was also a long lost fair with no heads on some of the horses. At the top of a hill past the army camps we stopped for the night on a handy flat bit of ground, ate bread and honey, read and some men brought us food. Saturday 23rd Awoke really tired, went to sleep again, then soldiers told us to move off the Heliport. They were hopeless footballers. We visited a Temple started in 1955 still unfinished, children were playing on the steps, vestments drying, incense and a plastic shrouded Buddha. Down to the shops for bread, butter, eggs and bought thread in a tailor' shop where they were making Yak bags. Honey was being sold in bottles. The Bhutanese registered cars just say BHUTAN 93 on red number-plates. We went to the Dak Bungalow but there was no room there either so we camped outside in pouring rain. Sunday 24th Woke to a hungry dog after an interrupted night, children in Sunday dresses and a kitten. I have a cold in the nose and Chiara seems to be getting it, but Jim is healthy. Went to a lovely tailors or cloth merchant to buy Yak cloth 49R, bags 10R. I got my black and gold Tibetan dress, striped apron and pink blouse for 51R. The tailor would have tied me into more to try them on but I found the one I wanted quite quickly. Jim was tempted to buy a pure silk Bhutanese suit for 100R but did not. They are checked and knee length and fasten with a belt like the Tibetan dress does, this produces a pouch were Jim could keep his pipe and so on, or I can keep my purse. Looked at old Tibetan curio sellers and went back up the road to the van for lunch. Saw a well with carved snakes. We bought petrol and groceries at the New Market when we posted mail home, since Jim wrote to his Mum, and then drove up the hill to the Temple again. An Indian family who want to reverse the trend by driving to Europe had a long talk with us, bought some of our coins and gave us mangoes. Found a milkman with no milk. Dogs barking again at night.
1973 Journey part 3.
25th Gave a Tibetan monk, his wife and child a lift down to town to the New Bazaar. Since roads are being washed away by the rain we are advised to leave the area while we can and we already cannot get back the way we came because of landslides. Looked at silks, bought bags for 7R, 6R and 3R50, bought kerosene and vegetables. When we left Kalimpong we did not go back up
towards Darjeeling again because the road we came down is so steep, winding and looping then falling dramatically 1,400 metres only jeeps can get back up again. Drove down the river Teesta to Sivoe following the river valley to the plain, noticing small landslides on the way. The houses round about are built by filling in wooden frames with bamboo lattice and covering it with mud or plaster. The wood is painted black and the plaster white so they look like Tudor cottages with tin roofs. At Coronation Bridge there were lines of lorries with drivers camped beneath them and no way of crossing to Siliguri. Through intermittent showers then flat jute and tea growing country. The Jalpiguri road is also washed away in two twenty yard stretches with a village of tents on the bank. People drying rice on the road and boats being poled through the waters. We are stuck in the corner of Bengal nearest to Assam. Stopped at Maynaguri Zilla Parishad Rest House, watched by the bearded chokidor and a cast of thousands. Five men were converting rolls of wire into 6 inch pig fencing. They work under a thatch roof looping the wire by hand round 6 inch nails spaced on a beam and two poles. The wires hang down from the beam and others are handed across from man to man and knotted round the hanging wires. Every so often they stop to roll up the product, chanting in unison. Glow worms again at night. 26th Up early, Chiara had slept badly, and off to Jaldapara Reserve. We need a pass, drive, overshoot, no signs, find other gate and wait for clerk. We watch three elephants having their 11 o'clock break. Talk to clerk who sends us back to the Forest Office in the rain. The friendly Officer there has a family of six, 'After the war we did not know about birth control' he says and gives us tea. We pay 3 rupees and the soldiers let us in the gate. There is a two-storey plushy bungalow, which we must park under so the wild animals do not get us, with a nice manager but no water or electricity in the 10R bathroom. We watch monkeys in the trees. The two hour elephant rides to look for rhino are at 4:30 and 6:30 and cost 15R. We climb up a ladder to get onto the seat and as the elephant walks through the jungle we see monkeys, bison, gollu, deer, birds and a huge caterpillar. The jungle is more like scrub land and woods with patches of grass as high as an elephants eye but it sounds and smells like jungle even if it looks a bit normal. The mahout uses a lot of matches for only one bidi, smoking it through his hand, without it touching his lips. Supper and bed. 27th Rain, Jim had a talk with the manager and the District Officer while getting our chit filled in. They used a logging counterfoil No 98/6669 and wrote 'Mr J Smith and party Elephant ride for two heads in one elephant 15/-. Lodge charge for using suit for one 10/-.' Cook rice and vegetables for lunch under the bungalow. We drove up to the Bhutan Border and they said it was easy to get a 1-week permit so we drove back to Mynaguri and stayed at Zilla Parishad again. The local women wear sarongs rolled over at the waist and blouses, everyone carries locally woven tote bags with wide shoulder straps, usually worn on the forehead. 28th Up when the rain stopped and caught the bus to the Teesta River breakthrough. Men were chanting as they drove piles in to mend the breach in the embankment or bund. Got a boat across the flood and a bus to Jalpaiguri then a tricycle rickshaw to police HQ but permits for Bhutan come from Delhi via them. So back by rickshaw, bus and boat to the breach through where we had tea and nuts. The boats are small and poled along restfully. After the final bus journey of 20k for 1R we took the van to Siliguri because the road had opened again and we got through alright. The roadblocks were not too bad and a policeman wanted us to give his friends a lift. Stayed at Zilla Parishad. 29th Malda, Near English Bazaar. Changed £10 at the bank, half the population of India is on the poverty level of 20R a month. Bought bananas and went to a tea shop, made soup for Chiara. As we drove down off the road where it was being mended, a huge elephant was coming up in the other direction. Back into Bihar where the people are poorer than in the hills, but bright saris again. The road to Calcutta is narrow with lots of lorries. Beside the road are white long legged birds with brown heads, then a huge colony of them nesting. Found a nice Tourist Rest House at a place with no name. Jim bought fish and vegetables but the fish went off because we did not cook it straight away. Wrote home. Down in the plains here in Bengal a lot of women wear saris
without blouses or sarongs rolled above their bust. The plains road runs through jute fields where the people are cutting jute, knee deep in water, weighing it down with stones to rot, drying the fibre or rolling it into rope. The rice paffy is being planted out. 30th On down the Calcutta road expecting to have to use three ferries across rivers but each one had been replaced by a bridge. We watch little fishing boats on the Gangees. Huge lorries fighting each other not to go more than half off the road to pass. We are expected to get off so they can stay on the road, but sometimes we face them off. In turn by the law of size on Indian roads, we expect the bullock carts and cars to let us through while they get off the road. The trees are lush near the river and green, stagnant pools. Stayed in a deserted Ranighat Rest House beside a pool. Soup again for supper. Sunday 1st July. It was raining when we reached Calcutta at 10:30. We looked for the Botanic Gardens but we are on the wrong side of the river. At traffic lights the signs say 'No Infiltration Left'. We saw the race course, Victoria Memorial and the Maidan, which is like the Meadows, but twice as big, with trams running through it and round it on the grass beside the roads. A few people are living in tents at the edges with some herds of sheep and goats. Found St Paul's Cathedral Car Park where Peter and Mia a couple from the Delhi campsite were already parked and we swapped all of our read books with them. They have been to Nepal since we last saw them and have just fund a ship back to Australia. He was working in Switzerland. The Cathedral has big grounds with grass, trees and a lake. In the Parish Hall beside the parking, we can use the toilet and shower. They carry out a lot of Relief work in the city. Jim playing chess alternately with Peter and Mia so I get to talk to the other one, some party compared to our usual evenings in the van. Calcutta is a lot more pleasant than it is painted, especially this area. The denser populated parts are like Glasgow but with pumps for water on the pavement. 2nd Jim bought bleach and we washed clothes because Chiara is going all spotty. I went for a walk and met a Hari Krishna Rathayatra Procession. The Rath or Cart was stationary and scented water was being sprayed over the bystanders some of whom were men dressed very skilfully as women. Other women carried lights on their heads. They gave me an ISCON leaflet. It is their second international Festival here, stared today and goes on for 8 days 8 to 12am and 4 to 8:30pm in Tagore Street. Back at St Paul's, several Ayas come at 3:00pm to sit, talk or gossip to each other while the children play in the Cathedral grounds. This gives Chiara some company. Two of them have been to Britain and long for television again. One of them, called Mary, is particularly friendly and remembers the BBC. Chess match continues. The Parish Hall is used for parties and lectures in the evenings with lots of well heeled Indians and glittering saris in evidence tonight. 3rd More washing, Chiara's blankets were moulding in the cupboard above my seat where rain had leaked in. It only rains once a day so they should dry. Then lunch. Went to find a market and due to Peter's bad directions saw a lot of Calcutta. Near the Kali Temple was a street fair with swings. We bought mangoes and looked at plastic and wooden items including kitchen sets. Mary got us 50 paise of milk for Chiara's cocoa. More chess playing. Under the Portico of the Cathedral a number of people sleep at night. The roads are flooding in the heavy rain. It also looks as if the dustmen had been on strike. Piles of rotting rubbish in each street. No loose paper because it is continually scavenged to light fires. The holy cows are pretty fat and help to keep the rubbish down while providing fuel. In the Maidan is the Victoria Memorial a marble monument to British royalty and the British in India. 4th Chiara's spots are worse so we went to a Chemist who sold us Prickly Heat Powder. More washing of clothes then it rained for the second time in a day! I was wrong about its predictability. I went to buy sugar, bread, eggs etc so that we would be able to have egg toast for supper. We went to New Street Market. It was like a nightmare in the meat section. But you can get vegetables, saris etc. 5th Jim decided to donate blood, but the first place did not want to buy any. It took us four hours to sell half a pint of blood for 20R when we found College Street Hospital. Half a pint 20 rupees.
While waiting, Chiara and I looked at books and tried sweets. Found Park Road market but Chiara stayed in the van. Posted air letter home. Cooked rice ate it then watched another chess marathon between Jim, Pete and Mia. 6th Read Scott Fitzgerald 'Beautiful and Damned'. Chiara's spots improving. A wedding party in the Parish Hall gave us some of their food. Vegetable pilau, a nut and oat sweet and ice cream. We went to the Indian Museum built and run on the lines of the British Museum. We saw Anthropological Tableaux, musical instruments, voluptuous stone carvings, bronze Buddhas, brasses, tankas and ivories. A stuffed man eating crocodile hangs on the wall and beside it, recovered from its stomach, the 16lb of metal bangles and other ornaments of the women it had eaten. Chiara liked the tableaux of Indial tribals and daily life. Saturday 7th Jim bought bread. We took Asham, a brahmin car salesman, introduced to us by Peter and Tia, for a ride. He found them the passage to Australia via Singapore, food included and carriage of big Fiat van for $100. He showed us the Lakes and Lake Market where we bought 15r20 of petrol. We have some surplus spare parts that Jim wants to sell, so they looked for someone to sell them to. Picked up two of Asham's friends and went to the Hoogly to see the boats in the docks and for ice cream. Chiara has been watching a birthday cake that was left in a cupboard in the Parish hall two days ago. She chatted up the watchman, while I was having a shower, and he gave her two pieces, much to her delight. Sun 8th Up and out to the 8:30 cathedral Service. Chiara got bored so took her back to the van. Tea was served after the Service and a lady said "You must see the Calcutta Zoo" Chiara had juice. Asham brought a cars book and an ice cream for Chiara. He is moving to Bombay so we hope to see him again there. A tent was being erected on a bamboo structure beside the Parish hall. Cooks were hard at work in the kitchen, rolling and pounding, mincing pineapple, frying onions in mustard oil, boiling meat, squeezing lemon onto fish. Two guys took Jim for a ride and 'uncle' invited us to the wedding party after the evening service that I went to with Mary. There were three sittings, the ladies beautiful in gold saris and jewels. The food was very sweet and they ate so delicately with the fingers of their right hands. 9th Delivered a list of spare spares to the garage with Asham in the pouring monsoon rain. Changed money then made potato salad for lunch. Jim played chess then we went to New Market with Pete and Mia to buy steak and vegetables, 1 rupee packets of biris and sweets. So steak for supper. 10th Jim mended the hole where the rain was getting in and rotting the blankets and things. Did a wash. Asham was back, recommending not selling the spares. But we do not have enough money left. We bought mutton rolls for lunch and Pete and Mia did not pay us for theirs, which was a financial blow. Mary on a goodbye visit said " Do not go" and tore her bag up to re-sew it. Jim played chess in the Parish Hall. 11th Left for Banares along Route 22 via Howrah Bridge then bought petrol in Howrah. It is crowded and dirty, the steriotype Calcutta, compared to the other side of the river but there was a dual carriageway and green countryside further on with lush delta paddy fields and trees. Then the midlands of India with coal fields and steelworks. It was industrial with palls of smoke round Durgapur then it started raining. Stopped and during lunch, an Ambassador car banged into the back of the van and smashed the light. We got no compensation. There were many diversions off the road because of culvert building. Where the Gangees Plain meets the Deccan there are isolated conical tree clad hills, some with temples on top. Another beautiful sunset. Circuit House cost 2R a night. 12th Drove to Banares, through dry barren lands of Bihar crossed by lush green fertile riverside strips with prosperous towns on them, arriving 11:30. Plenty of camels. Lovely view from bridge, narrow streets, the broad river and many different stepped ghats leading down its banks. Parked at the Bus stand near the Police Station A guy took us to his house to look at cloth and sitars for sale. Narrow steps led up to a room where the floor was covered with a sheet. They gave us tea, his brother sells batteries. We swopped our transistor radio for a lined fringed brocade square,
cloth, ties, a chillum and an incense holder. Shirts were 25R. Then we sat in a park feeling hot and eating salted cucumber bought from a barrow. This may have been dangerous health wise because the seller peeled it in his hand before he salted it and gave it to us. The cloth guy took us to see looms and walked us to the Gangees. We went through the narrow lanes past cows, stopped for betel nut and when Chiara wanted a drink, got a row for touching the tap. Hired a boat for a 3R ride, we were rowed up the river to the burning ghat past umbrellas and lingam, then were carried down the wavy, sunset bronze on brown river watching a body wrapped in a sheet being dropped out of a boat for water burial. Then it rained as we went back to the Parking home. It has a fanatical manager and nice showers. 2 vans. 13th The other vans had left by the time we got up. After morning tea we went to see a showroom. They sold lovely bright silk saris 265 R, transparent veils and coloured paisley brocade. The owner wanted us to be his first sale of the day so gave Jim a tie and Chiara a scarf. We drove to Saranath to see the lovely Buddhas and a nice museum. It was too hot outside to walk about much at this important Buddhist site. Chiara slept all the way back to Banares. I cooked stovies then we walked to the shops. Some Germans arrived and we talked to them after supper. 14th We got up at 4:30 am to go to the Gangees but could not find it at first. We arrived at the burning ghat and walked along the bank to Scindia Ghat at dawn. We watched men bathing and changing lungis, a woman got a fish in her sari. They all have a very thorough scrub rather than a ritual ablution. At the back of the ghat a sort of bus shelter had been used as a toilet. Barges like the ones we had seen empty in Calcutta were here full of stones. A pretty little goat was eating a bit of bread, we held it by the horns. Walked back to towards the van through a maze of waking people, got lost again so took a rickshaw back and had tea at the van. Dropped a German at the Grand Trunk Road and went to Allahabad. Lots of camels today as well. No cars on the way but bullock busses and a girls' school coming out. Went back for an Esso garage. The road was good but narrow to Agra. Met 3 guys in a van. We were not allowed into the Circuit House but got into the PWD at 10.30pm. Shower, chapattis and Dhal. Jim has a cough and a cold and Chiara is eating like a horse so must be going to grow. Sunday 15th Up at dawn to see the Taj Mahal but there was no way in since it opens at 6am. Had tea and sweets from a stall because the flies were not up yet so the sweets looked inviting. In through one of the three red and white gatehouse towers, past the Post Office, restaurant, mosque and souvenir shops in the mews. The Taj looked small and pearly with long garden pools. It is not an isolated building but a complex beside the Jamuna river. Busloads of Muslim tourists appeared. 4 towers and a dome with low railings onto the river at the back. Double steps at the front and the tomb underground with joss sticks. Inside they were mending it and I got some small chips of Taj stone. Alabaster carved and inlaid with coloured stone flowers and geometric patterns. Had more tea and sweets, looked at handcrafts made out of the same materials as the Taj in the not very good showroom. Drove to Delhi with the bed up and Chiara sleeping on the best road in India. It is wide with stretches of dual carriageway signed 'Road Bifurcates'. Stopped in the rain for tea. The monsoon has followed us from Calcutta and the torrential rain is forming huge puddles everywhere there is a hollow in the baked ground. They slowed us down. More dual carriageway with bullock carts going the wrong way along it, then big stretches of industrial estates of foreign and Indian firms in south Delhi. A ribbon development of modern factories and scrap merchants and back home to the Bharat Scout camp after ? weeks. The campsite is empty and there is no sun because of cloud cover so it seems very cool at 86 degrees F. Jim slept and a Brazilian couple arrived with their wee boy for Chiara to play with. They are friends of Carlos who was here in June. She has taught for 5 years and hopes to start a Summerhill type school in Brazil. He has been making a documentary which (I think) he hopes to sell to STV. His English is not clear. We ate stew. 16th Up town still trying to sell the spare parts, we found Ram & Andre who are stuck here with a broken crankshaft which they are going to send back to France to get mended! They stayed 10 days with a Swami after we left them in Manali, getting up at 3am to do Yoga and breathing
practices. They are feeling very healthy and have stopped smoking. Went to Connaught Place to get letters at American Express and buy bananas for lunch. A garage gave us 250 R for parts so we went to Wengers for Ice cream then the Chemists, and then got tobacco for Jim and a Ramayana for me. Had mango and banana milkshakes. Took Ram and Andre for a huge Chinese Meal at the New Nankin to celebrate his 27th birthday which was yesterday, then had fruit salad and coffee. We should be in Bombay in a couple of weeks. 17th Up and had breakfast at a chay (hot sweet tea boiled in a vat with milk) shop for 3R. Our local tea house a 10 by 4 wood and tin shack at the end of the lane is being modernised. It had a couple of benches and a clay stove. Now there is a new metal topped table to seat 10, glass sided cupboard to keep flies off an enlarged selection of food and new shelving for cigarettes and matches. Tea is 25 paise a mug so the renovations are a considerable outlay. There is a tin front that padlocks down at night and hinges up on 2 props to form a shade in the daytime. Two boys clear the dirty plates quickly to stop flies being attracted. The owner cooks tea, lentils, chappatis and fudge type sweets. There are also the attractions of Hindi and Urdu newspapers, bought by the management, and watching the world go by, since the shop is situated on a wide part of the pavement. Then took Ram and Andre to the airport for engine customs clearance. We watched the planes. It was hot so we had milkshakes then a Chinese lunch and fruit salad and drove them out of Delhi to hitch hike to Kashmir. They want to go to Badri Nath cave and see the ice lingam. Went to Super Bazaar for Vanaspati, soap etc. Ripped the fender of a car then back to campsite. No reply yet to second letter to AA in Glasgow about the stolen Carnet de Passage. I do not even have my Membership number either. If they cannot send a new Carnet we at least need a letter saying we had one. More worrying Mum has been in hospital and I did not even know to send her a 'get well' message at the time. Also got a letter from Thos in Lewis. 18th Stayed in bed late then sewed a bag for Chiara to keep the Stickle bricks in and Jim's trousers. Jim phoned someone about money, but he was not in. Went to butchers for spaghetti and mince for supper. Talked to the Brazilians while the kids played Chiara singing a song about 'Mrs Latta's wee friend' her I presume. The Sikh is talking to us again. Teaching myself yoga from Russell Atkinson's Mini Corgi book and reading Irving Stones 'Life of Freud' who turns out to be very likeable 900 pages. We heard a great commotion of birds this morning and saw a cobra advancing across the grass about 100 yards away near the bushes. The birds turned it back after it had stood up and looked around with its hood spread. Jim smoked and the English guy Alan Pole, came back. Afghan border closed due to a military coup. If Trixie needs a hysterectomy to stop her false pregnancies maybe we should get her mated first. 19th Did a washing. Went up town to get a letter at American Express. Met Haggi the Israeli guy from Manali on his way to Katmandu, wife and son well. Managed to contact money guy. Went to Mohan Singh for rice but bought vegetables. Brazilians left for Pakistan, to sell their car in Afghanistan and fly to G.B. on the proceeds, so I gave them Mum's address. Its impossible to sell the car here without bribing the customs about as much as they would get for the car. The Italian couple arrived that we had met in Simla. Until they arrived the only other vans had held Germans and Swiss who kept themselves to themselves but hopefully the 3 chaps we met near Agra will arrive soon. Decided we can't go to Bombay and will stay here for two to four weeks resting and seeing the sights so wrote to Mum and Chiara 'wrote' the return address in scribbles. 20th Went up town to meet the money guy at American Express, he was late and backed out. Hot. A guy trying to sell posters told us where to go if we want them. Went to Embassy and borrowed 60R then read in the British Council Library. We found Kumar Gallery that sells posters of old Tibetan tankas (paintings on cloth) for 25R. My favourite is Green Tara. Bought bacon and bread. It was raining and we thought the washing had been stolen when we got back to camp but an old man had saved it. Talked to the Italians who have been round the cool South to Ceylon and Goa, since we saw them last. They showed us games they have bought. One is a cross of cloth with a grid of squares sewn on each flap and cone shaped pieces that you move in some direction sequence towards the middle?
21st Jim serviced the Italians' van, they gave him a basin and 40R. Up town for cold coffee and ice cream with the Dutch girl. Then went with her and Chiara to Humayun's Tomb one of the landmarks of our area, Nizamuddin. There must be 15 or so 2 storey tombs and loads of smaller ones in the parks and open spaces nearbye. It was the only free entry day of the month, dozens of busses full of muslims, mainly families with old grannies and picnics. There are big grounds with geometric lawns, paths, ponds and palm trees. The tomb is raised with cellars on ground level and steep stairs on each side. It's older than the Taj Mahal. Must buy a slide of it. We met a Muslim Christian Professor who lives in an abandoned stone gazebo. Three musicians arrived on foot. Jim bought goodies and Alan came for supper. He is short sighted and lives on heroin and opium not money. Ham rissoles with salad, then fruit salad and yoghurt and rum sweets. Stuffed. Sunday 22nd Banana and bread then scrambled eggs for breakfast. Monsoon rain but Jim dug a trench, played chess, took some opium and was ill for the rest of the day. I did some Yoga postures till 3pm in my favourite tomb. Chiara and I went to Delhi Zoo with the Italian couple. Hope to see them in Milan. It has some of the nicest mixed animal paddocks that I've seen. There were tigers, deer, water birds, monkeys, hippo and rhino, but the Indians tease the animals. We walked to the local shops in Nizamuddin for supper with Billy the dog. It is a mostly Muslim area, some of the women in purdah, but most wear trousers and blouse with scarf. A group of long haired boys who are probably French arrived on foot to camp here. 23rd We have put the tent up and are very comfy with an improvised table. Billy sleeps under the van. Pancakes for breakfast, then Jim got hiccoughs. Two American guys and a girl asked us if we had any acid to sell, they also arrived on foot and are studying classical Indian music, flute, sitar and drums so Jim has been having a shot. Three of the other people are a European style group who play and dance and there is a French girl with a puppet that entrances Chiara when it walks and dances. 24th Jim walked to the shops. It started to rain, the tent got soaked and we were up to the ankles in 4 inches of water that overwhelmed Jim's protective ditches. Billy who did not want wet feet, tried to keep dry by jumping on the table so it collapsed. The whole campsite is a lake. Moved over to the Scout Hall to sleep and dry the tent etc. There are 12 of us in one 140 foot room. We have bedrooms by rigging our mosquito nets, ours is in a corner by tying it to things. We wake up early to morning music practise echoing eerily round the hall. 25th We wake up early to morning practise echoing eerily round the hall. There are pigeons in the ceiling and the baby ones forget how to fly off the floor once they have landed on it. A really eccentric, tall, dancing American has arrived who may have spent three weeks in Simla jail. Eats only chapattis and wants to become a British citizen. Declaims Shakespeare, had a teashop in Nepal - Ganga. He's also been in Goa. The ants carry away the dead flies, both are eaten by the lizards and a big toad and wee toad who live under the veranda. 26th Met a nice American Children of God girl outside American Express in Connaught Circus. She lent me a magazine 'New Improved Truth' and told us where to buy brown bread at Nirulas since Wengers was shut. They have had an Exodus from America last year leaving the older generation (the Nixon one) to its fate since the parents were killing their children by not stopping the war in Indo China. Their reasons are also tied up with prophecy. Found a bookshop with books on every religious and mystical -ism invented. Including The 'Aquarian Gospel' about the Christian and non Christian sources of Jesus's life including Buddhist records that he was in India! The Carnet arrived but no letter from Helen. 27th Last night night a huge flock of little moths clouded round the light and fell individually to the stone floor, shook off their wings, found a partner and scuttled off into the grass. Everyone was enthralled, meanwhile the ants were carting off the wings and fighting over weak moth victims. Chiara spends her time swinging or persuading people to push her, painting with one of the boys in the group or getting pople to read her stories. Our money has not arrived so we went back to the Embassy. It was not the right guy so we only got 20R. Wrote home. 28th Discovered Alan is heating up our last night's tea leaves to make a cuppa for his breakfast.
Poor guy. Its fine by us, we'd just throw them away which was what gave him the idea. An Indian musician came and gave us a concert, he's a friend of the French people, plays a tamboura (like a sitar) and sings romantic mournful songs. He has toured in Russia and Europe and invited us to a concert on Thursday. Sunday 29th A Dutch couple arrived with a parrot called Coco age 3. They think he will live to be 100. He knows a lot of Dutch but only 'Hello' and 'Shut Up' in English. He sits in a tree and imitates hens so we guess he lived on a farm for a while. 30th I copied out a load of yoga postures once I'd written the dates in my diary. 31st I was bitten on the right pinkie by the parrot when I tried to stroke its beak so I am not writing well. It crunched into the side of my hand with its beak like a hole punch. The French boys made us a strange meal of potatoes and wild spinach that they did not wash well enough, so it was a bit too gritty. 1st August. Met Ram & Andre outside American Express when we took Phil, Sol and Annie up there. The VW engine is back from France and they hope to go back to Kashmir. They hiked in the mountains to a Shiva cave shrine, spending two nights in tents on the way. Had ice cream on a stick. When Jim has checked out the engine for them they will take us out to dinner. 2nd About 14 of us went to an Indian lady's house this evening to hear the musician, this time with drums and harmonium. It was a bungalow with a large front room carpeted with Persian type rugs. We all left our shoes on the porch and sat on the floor. There were three couches against the walls and behind them narrow cabinets with ivory and sandalwood figures including a nice carving of Ghandi. Two double sliding doors led onto the veranda and two doors on the other long wall went into the immaculate kitchen and front hall. They have TV and about 4 full time servants, so pretty rich Hindus in a nice American style suburb. All the windows and doors had screens. We had been told we would get a meal but unfortunately the music came first and we were too starving to really enjoy it. After about the 5th song (they last up to 15 minutes each) Chiara began to burst into tears when he started a new tune. The meal was a delicious buffet of vegetarian rice, fried chapattis, lentil curry, two kinds of potato curry, aubergine curry, pickles all not too spicy, yoghurt then loads of coconut sweets with silver on top. 3rd In the mosquito tent in the Scout Hall, Jacqui singing while I read Stephen Gaskin's 'Monday night Class' about The Farm in Tennessee. I copy bits out of it into my diary instead of trying to remember what happened in the blank days of last month, and swop it on. 4th Jim took some acid after a heavy meal. I read Lobsang Rampa's Third Eye and started a letter home. We are all sitting around waiting for visas, customs stamps and brushing off the flies. Sunday 5th I spend ages copying Buddhist quotes out of books I have to give back to people. If our money had arrived we could go out to a vegetarian Dosa restaurant again. Rice pancakes rolled around spiced potato served with sour coconut chutney, lentil sauce and yoghurt. Or we could have the nan that are like pizza stuffed with nuts and cauliflower, or cheese and potato or dried fruits served with spinach curry sauce and raw onions. 6th We went up to Connaught Circus again, still no money has arrived, but got letters. An American suffering from a culture shock 'nervous breakdown' which they get by flying into Delhi then seeing the toilets etc was creating about something or other. The Embassy told us to send a telegram. Must read Tibetan Book of the Dead, Jung, and Alexandra David Neel according to the advice I'm given by people that we talk to and quotes in books. 7th Finished reading Hienrich Harrer's 'Seven Years in Tibet'. Our Shangri la valley up in Kulu really was like his. Ram and Andre came over and Jim is servicing their van. Chiara is plagued by the 12 month old Rhesus monkey when it is let out of its cage and bites her playfully so she cries with pain and frustration because it is too fast for her. I have an argument with Jo one of the parrot's owners, about non-violence and child behaviour. A very fluffy haired Tibetan Lahso Apso puppy called Babu has arrived with some idealistic British, Chiara prefers playing with it to the monkey or parrot. He chases her pull along horse and cart on the veranda.
8th Money came at last in the shape of a cheque. My 'books to read' list is getting longer by the day. The days seem to pass and no one notices. My mum is on the island of Eigg with the Macdonalds, swimming in a cold sea. The idea is lovely. The wife of Jim's Landrover was in hospital with a liver infection but is out again. Best food she's had since she left New Zealand she said. They are Swiss with Australian nationality. He had 20 jobs in 3 years in New Zealand in forests, building slaughterhouse etc. 9th Went to the Bank and got cheque changed into money, so we had cakes and ice cream. Then bought books and some slides of Delhi and typical Indian scenes to replace the photos we never took after the camera was stolen. Four busses of a Danish Travelling Folk school arrived but seem very conservative. We expected them to rush around in the nude. Its taken them 4 and a half months to get here, then some Yanks came with a baby. 10th Jim is working on a German guys VW engine, having finished servicing the Land Rover. He is nerving himself up to the traumatic task of writing home to his Mum someday soon. Maybe because I'm writing home again, but it’s the same letter as last week that I have not posted yet and I've had to stop so Chiara can draw 'monkeys in a cage' for granny and Eddie. The campsite is expecting 3,000 Boy Scouts on Tuesday so we must try to leave before then. There is no electricity at night these days. Copied out bits about how to offer puja from Phillip Rowson's book 'The Art of Tantra' just in case I have to do it somewhere. The Americans have got us tickets to another classical concert tomorrow. It is Draupad this time which is the style of music they are studying. 11th The wife of the current vehicle under repair was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Their engine was in pieces laid out on sheets of newspaper on the Scout hall Veranda. Not knowing that Jim will be able to get it all back together again she is very worried. I'm unsure the monkey will not nick a vital part but try to reassure her. Took some people from Campsite to the Concert we wanted to see but it was postponed due to the electricity supply being off. Then we had a bad Muslim meal. We ran a very Stratford American and his French girlfriend to the airport. Copied out Chief Seattle's testimony from New Improved Truth so I can give it back to the Children of God girl next time we are up town. Sunday 12th Lay in bed listening to and watching people getting the Hall swept for the Scout Camp and making other preparations outside. Jo, the parrot, monkey and Co have gone have gone on to Afghanistan. The Americans Phil, Sol and Annie have invited us up to 'their' house in Mussourie so we are going tomorrow. It is a missionary station with a big school called Woodstock. 13th Had tea in Dehra Dun on the way up to Missourie in the hills. 170 miles. I lay on Chiara's bed in the van during the journey, which left more space for the others to sit, then Jim carried me into the house straight to the toilet. Too much smoking for me to be cared for or maybe I should not pretend I'm recovering. Water boils at a lower temperature here. Chiara has been dancing with bells on her ankles, singing to the drums, tamboura and harmonium since the house is littered with musical instruments. 14th The house is at the top of a hill, very plain one room leads into another without corridors which makes it very compact but can result in circuitous journeys, no windows, just skylights and four doors to every room. Huge pillars stick out of the walls here and there. As American a kitchen as can be achieved here. There are lots of books, in fact a comprehensive library spilling out of its own room. Bric a brac, vases of fresh flowers, ancient brasses, neolithic potsherds, mirrored hangings bamboo armchairs, Middle Ages type chests and cupboards that were probably made ten years ago and its in a lovely site with a view of mountains. I'm not getting worse but not getting better. Water boils at a lower temperature here. 15th Independence Day. In the mornings the Breadwallah, Milkwallah (very old and wizened with two cows and a marrow), vegetableman (with a huge wicker tray of bananas, pears. Peppers, cauliflower, scales and weights on his head) arrive at the veranda for your covenience. In the afternoon there is a masseur. Strolled or staggered down to the shops to meet the rest of the local
merchants on their own ground and watched Jim buy shirts. Most of the natives have American accents due to missionary activity. Phil, Sol and Annie are drinking chang a cloudy (potato?) beer to celebrate and there is the sound of festivities outside. Electricity fails a couple of times each night 16th Tuna for lunch. Back down to the bottom of the green foothills through Rishikesh where the Beatles Transcendental Meditation guru stays. Didn't see him but hundreds of sadhus in orange garments were coming up the main street from the river to have their free supper at one of the Dharmshalas. We nearly joined them! They were of all ages shapes and sizes of men with turbans, shaved heads or ash grey top knots. They carried holy books, umbrellas, beads and bowls under their arms. There is a beautiful meadow by the river with mountains behind. It is not the picture in shades of brown that the other holy places on the plains are. Cool in the evening with men fishing from huge stones in the river above the holy bathing places, the Gangees is cleaner, cold and fast flowing, the fish tiny. Chiara took her clothes off and 'swam' in a pool. We all would have liked to stay a fortnight or so. Further down the river in Hardwar we bought pots at what looked like a Venetian lagoon with lights floating on it. At night they sell leaf boats full of flowers in which you put a little clay light and float it off into the river. There were a lot of police around expecting religious strife perhaps and busloads of Americans. Just outside Hardwar the river had washed out the road into a sandbank and receded. There was great chaos, stuck lorries everywhere, exceited taxi drivers and everyone wanting through first. Sol and Phil stopped the traffic trying to get through in the other direction, mainly by shinning torches in their faces. Anyone who was alone would be stuck there for hours. Then saw a mouse on the road. 17th Bad wheel so got to Delhi at 2am. Lights on in camp. We slept then went swimming. Had to buy food to swim and I was sick almost straight after eating it. Spent the rest of the day in bed. Phil, Sol and Annie practice outdoors and are happy to show how they have been taught. One note at a time has to be mastered on the tabla before you are allowed another note. This takes months and the singing is taught the same way. They can talk to each other in Indian musical notation 'tin, taw' and so on. 18th Jim working on engine. I lay on the veranda trying to keep the flies off me. We have been told about a wonderful product that kills flies when they land on it. Must get some. Mum must be going back to school soon and Eddie back to College. I almost crawl to the 'new' latrines in the night, they were re dug for or by the Scouts in a slightly different place from before. Sunday 19th The whites of my eyes are orange, urine is orange and I am diagnosed by fellow camper Dave as having hepatitis, when he comes to talk to me through the mosquito net. They tell us to go to the Holy Family Hospital. I'm faint during admission, watch 3 Muslims saying their prayers in different parts of the hospital as I'm wheeled up to the ward. We have to pay according to how many people I want to share with, more is cheaper but we chose two bed, meals are extra and I choose non vegetarian. I get three drip bags emptied into me one after the other because I'm dehydrated. This is diagnosed by pinching of a bit of skin on my arm. The room has a noisy fan and en suite loo. Visiting hours are 10:30am to 12:30 and 4:30 to 8:30 pm. Chiara and Jim go back to camp. 20th They give me pills and take a blood sample. Feeling better but too much prodding of my liver going on by staff. Baljeet came with Jim and Chiara, who helped me with my lunch by eating the chicken for me. Reading Jung 'Memories, Dreams and reflections'. The hospital is outwardly the same as a British one but without the feeling that staff and patients have to pull together and overcome the hardships of the National Health Service. The nurses will not pick anything off the floor because that is the Sweepers job. This is one of the few Indian hospitals where the nurses, who are mostly Nepali, Tibetan or South Indian, will touch bedpans. They spend most of their time giving massages, taking temperatures and holding patients' hands to reassure them before injections and operations. 21st Dave came with Jim and Chiara to see me. He has seen the Dalai Lama. Absolutely revolting fried okra to eat with more chicken. It is Janmastami, Krishna's Birthday. There are special ladies
in saris who seem to do nothing but carry meal trays. Many of the Indians have their food brought in by relatives and since the visiting hours cover mealtimes your friends can eat with you if you order them a meal in advance. Apparently Embassy staff are sent here from Afghanistan if they are ill. 22nd Jim went to the Bank for £10. I had a blood test. Duncan Hards brought Lucy in with sores and came to see me. I wrote to Mum to tell them I'm in hospital how and why, also wrote to the insurance company. The charges against Nick have been dropped. Read Mary Stewart's 'Crystal Cave'. 23rd Another blood test but have slept well. The doctor says 'rest till eyes loose yellow, no fats, plenty of glucose, fruit and veg. Take vitamin B complex for 4 weeks and no alcohol for 6 months.' Jim and Chiara had got new chapals and Chiara has a tow along peacock, but its nose came off. 24th I'm sharing my room with a German Indian girl who was admitted on her 4th day in India with dysentery. Jim got out £31 from bank to pay the hospital bill. Back to campsite and flies. We have moved into one of the rooms at the end of the Scout Hall which have only two flies a day. Stew for supper. Lucy is weak, talked to Alan Pole and Peter. 25th Its hot at night. Nice toast, peanut butter and tea for lunch. Prices all up. Talked to Duncan about great topics of the day. Is the freak movement changing the world? Do 'heads' have a purpose here? Are Ted Heath's sideboards new or has he always had them? Billy the black and white dog spent all day sleeping under the bench. He goes foraging for food in the neighbourhood and gets kicked by the Indians. Considering what they have to put up with in the way of heat and overcrowding they are very even tempered but not to dogs who are the lowest form of life. Sunday 26th When will the revolution come to India and who will lead it? Newspapers say jawans would accept President Giri and Indira. Caste is breaking down in the Army but people are still religious. There are shortages of essential commodities, wheat, rice (in south especially Kerala), and mangoes due to pollution, lack of fertiliser, irrigation, electricity and or machinery. Where there are good harvests they may be badly handled or the sales distribution system breaks down then flooding wastes water and money. Chiara has been catching a lot of toads, tiny baby ones and big fat ones. She has not developed any warts yet. 27th A snake crawled into our room and Jim bravely killed it with a stick passed to us by the people in the next room, but it turned out to be a grass snake in the morning light. Sore swollen neck and I'm feverish. We went to the Town Hall where Jim and Chiara had Smallpox, cholera & TAB vaccinations, I felt lousy. Half of the gates were shut when we got back to camp so we had to stop and open them. Chiara worked out that granny would still be able to get the car through though 'she better bring some food with her if she comes'. There seems to be a lot of flooding in Pakistan so we are waiting for a few days, the company is also very good here. Jim went to another good concert, then had a bad night with his stiff arm. 28th Jim and Chiara lay around recovering from the jabs while I made breakfast. I had forgotten how to cook. Jim revived enough to press some dope out of pollen. Duncan came in with Lucy who is feeling 'weller'. Alan dropped in and fell asleep. Sol, Phil and Annie are worrying about money and discussing musical techniques. I'm thinking about how Laura Ingalls Wilder's books could be filmed with historical accuracy. It takes a while to work out the reasons for some of the 'odd' things that go on in India for example so many cows about that hardly produce milk but they do produce fuel for the poor and dispose of garbage. 29th Lying around then went up town so I could get my jabs. A Vietnamese family of 7 and Mum were creating havoc for the butch nurse. Met Ram and Andre and sat in the back of their van parked at the side of the road near a junction smoking their chillum. Having been in hospital encourages other people to tell their Indian hospital stories. One girl shared her village ward with a goat. 30th My arm is not too stiff. Alan went to the High Commission for referral to his parents to get him repatriated, but they are on holiday. We went to the Afghan Embassy to get visas. Then
visited a music shop in Chandi Chowk, Old Delhi, sitars were hanging everywhere and varied shapes of drums lay around. We drooled over tablas. There were lots of portable harmoniums, bells for dancers ankles, one string fiddles made of gourds, sarods which are Hawaiian guitar shaped and faced with shinny metal with lots of big string tuners like a sitar and 3 sets of main secondary and sympathetic strings. Chiara wanted a little table squeeze-box in a wooden frame, smaller than a coffee table book. She squeezed it and sang Hari Krishna. Bought Nan bread. There was a procession in Chandi Chowk of bands trying to drown each other out and floats carrying boys dressed as gods and goddesses. Lastly came the Guru having a carpet rolled out for him as he walked, they had two and put the one he stepped off in front of the one he was one, like rollers. 31st Got one month Afghan visas. Dave is contemplating the journey to Australia via Bali with some companions from London. We take turns to cook rice and vegetables for eight. We are studying the night stars with Duncan and Lucy's map but there is much puzzling to get latitude, season and time co-ordinated to find out which part of the map we should be looking at. We saw the New moon with Jupiter and Venus very clearly visible. 1st September. Jim is tripping with Duncan and Lucy to the sound of their stereo cassette player. The old campsite manager came to see us. General music making and we had supper cooked for us. Chiara is excited about going back to Kabul where she hopes there will be children to play with. She also expects a party 'up granny's street' which she sees as a days run from Kabul. She plays with her dolls and tea set or goes out to cut grass with scissors for her toy elephant. Sunday 2nd. In the morning the shower is now cool enough for goose pimples to be seen and you have to pee more because less moisture is evaporating from our skins. Jim is recovering from yesterday. 3rd Jim emptied the van and washed out the inside prior to re-packing for the journey home. He has also done a huge wash of things that have gone foostie again with the monsoon. It has not rained now for 4 days. We should leave daily. I am doing the mending. Tried lunch at the Muslim restaurant in the village. Noticed how the flies land on the rice but not the steaming hot curry. 4th Jim looked at the wheel and it needs a new bearing. We found a guy who had one and eight other wheels! Baljit came to say goodbye. We had scrambled eggs on toast for lunch. I wrote to mum to ask her to send more money to Ban Mille Afghan, Kabul, to cover the hospital stay. We need £220 instead of £175. I hope she and her bank or mine find out what bank it must be telegraphed via. It is embarrassing having to borrow. Then we went with Dave and Billy to the Muslim restaurant in Nizamudin for a delicately spiced meat 2R biryani. Seems we just found the Indian food we like in the last week we are here! 5th Re-packed van and Jim finished working on the wheel. Took Lucy to the shops. There was nothing for us at American Express or the Post Office. Went down to the Muslim restaurant again. Duncan did not like the look of Jim whose temperature was 102 degrees. Started off for Afghanistan, driving at night because the roads are quieter then, stopped for chay when Jim felt tired, then Chiara and I slept while Jim drove on to the next chay stop. 6th Sunrise at a lorry drivers' stop where we had lovely stuffed paratha, chillies and dhal sauce that actually did not have chillies in it, for breakfast. Slept under some shady trees then went into Amritsar to see the Golden Temple. Had to cover heads and wash feet before we were allowed into the temple precincts. The pool was empty because they had drained the water out so gangs of volunteers could go in and clear out the accumulated silt. This happens every 50 years. The Golden Temple is smallish but must be lovely when reflected in water. The pool is surrounded by marble pavements and collonaded almshouses where people can stay free for three nights. Some of the chemists have signs saying' Cocaine, Morphine, Heroin + Oral Polio vaccine' Got to the border at 4pm too late to cross into India. We thought it was open till sunset. Thought about camping by the road but I had to chase a guy away with the frying pan so we moved to a Rest House.
7th Went back to Amritsar to the New Tourist Office then had to spend lunchtime at customs because we did not bribe. Crossed the border with a French couple, just in time to get over. Back to the lovely biscuits of Pakistan. Stayed at Falettis Hotel again where we are the ones moaning about India to people who are eagerly trying to get there. Chiara said 'We stayed here last night' that was in April the night before her birthday! Lahore is hotter than India was. Chiara's heat rash is worse so no point in staying the fortnight we planned to see more of Pakistan compared to India. The food is cheaper here than in India, the people less westernised and perhaps less dissatisfied. 8th Drove on over the Pakistan Rivers. Had tea, Shazan mango juice and toast for breakfast then chillied meat and more Shazan for lunch. Only one flood hold-up at a one-way pontoon bridge where the old one had washed away. It had lots of snack sellers and collection boxes for flood victims. Stopped by the river again for lunch this time there are frogs and tall clumps of hemp plants looking like nettles. Bought porridge oats in Rawalpindi for 1r instead of 7r in India. Islamic hospitality seems to make the people here more sincerely friendly than in India. The Pakistanis listen to what you say in reply to their questions whereas Indians are generally too busy practising their English on you to listen. Stopped the night on the road to Peshawar, made porridge ate it and slept.Had to reorder the diary dates because last month had 31 days not 30 so I don’t know which day was the lost Sunday 9th At 3am we were wakened by troops telling us to move on or we'd get our throats cut. The van would not start so they pushed us. Slept at Peshawar station where we had a cooked breakfast in the non vegetarian section of the restaurant. Went to the Khyber Road through a bit of Afghan style landscape that is part of Pakistan's territory. Changed in Khyber and tidied up. Bought more Shazan. Crossed with a bus load. One Finn was not allowed in to Afghanistan because he had no visa. Found a lovely lake before the Kabul gorge and stopped for a swim. Stopped in Jallallabad for lunch and petrol. The magnificent Kabul river of April is a mere trickle now. We stopped later in a lay-bye on the wrong side of the road to get water. Forgot which side of the road we should be on when we pulled out and a car on the proper side of the road crashed into us flattening its tyre. Nobody visibly injured but this is the nightmare scenario of driving in Afghanistan due to the compensation they can demand. Drove back to nearest police where we were held up while the Insurance was checked and we met some English guys who were trying to take a caravan to Australia and have turned back to sell it. Stayed in a Hotel where a woman advised us that heat rash should be washed in hot water not cold which only makes it worse. Pity we had not known that before. 10th Got 100 Afs of petrol and drove to Kabul. Bank and Insurance were very good and quick. Six years ago the Manager of the only Afghan Insurance Company (they are affiliated to Slugocci, Norman our Fire and Theft people for the van and Royal Exchange) was a University Librarian Dean and before that he was a school teacher. He was also in England and says lots of Afghanis are still sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens so little investment is going on since the revolutions. Then went to Sharock Hotel where Julian, US Jim and Bob are. Egg and chips for supper. Our Jim definitely has hepatitis now but has been stuffed so full of Vitamin B and Ayurvedic liver pills that he is not showing many symptoms apart from tiredness. He hopes to get blood tested here to make sure. The Sharok has been altered, new restaurant and not enough customers. The new government is only issuing 7 day Transit visas to hippies, we got a month Tourist visa. Not much of the old atmosphere of March when it was full of hippies and not so hippies. The French couple we crossed the Pakistan border with have arrived here though we did not mention the Sharock to them. Grapes 2 and a half pence a pound. 11th Bob the English man we met at the Afghan border and his merchant seaman nephew are here. They came out with a van and the first ever caravan to enter Pakistan. It is the second in eight years in Afghanistan, they have come back to try to sell it because it is too expensive to ship to Australia where they are going. Colin left for Bandermere so Jim took his bed in the Sharock. We went to Sigis. As soon as I feel back to normal with hepatitis symptoms all gone I get an Afghan
cold. Wrote to mum asking her to send the money she had offered when ours was stolen in India. Still have Indian postcards to finish writing and post. 12th Bob sold the caravan to an Iranian for £550 which is less than they wanted. We got three letters and the medical expenses claim form, had to pay 5Afs each for them and bought grapes and tomatoes so cheap we made soup with them. Bob took us to Columbus with Julian and US Jim. Talked to a film extra from Bombay. Jumble sale. No money yet for us. Read in the Observer about cholera outbreak in Naples. US Jim told a long story about how he got to Woodstock because his father told him about it. 13th The van was sold to Pakistanis going to Germany. They have given us lots of Daddies sauce, Heinz mayonnaise and tomato sauce which are unobtainable here. Also delicious army tins of cheese which fell off a lorry. They started off with three tea chests full of tinned and dried food. had salad for lunch. Went to Columbus again with US Jim and Julian had veg schnitzel. Wrote to Mum, Chiara decorated the flap with a drawing of a dog attaching a toy elephant near the sandpit. Nights are cool so Chiara's heat rash spots have all gone, she is delighted to be wearing her pyjamas again at night though at midday it is too hot to go out on the street. We just sit under the trees here in the courtyard and I embroider while Jim plays chess or we talk about exchange rates with people. 14th Bob got the plane to Rawalpindi to Mrs Ch. not Fred. We got the Nicholas' camping gaz cooker to use and return to England for them since they have also sold their van to go to Australia. It should warm us up on cold mornings and be a change from cooking on parraffin, also lentils. Had salad for lunch. Made more soup and salad and grapes. Lots of Italians arrived. Yogurt 5Afs. Afghans 'slippery'. Lentil and tomato and chips for supper. Sewed. 15th Went to the bank and the Post Office, then to the Embassy. Got 200Afs, the Hotel bill is 150 Afs. Went to Chicken Street to see the Lapis and turquoise shops. Had spaghetti for supper. Watched a magician. The Hotel is full now. Julian is flying tomorrow. The Afghans were always proud but they seem twice as proud with the new Republic. Apparently corruption has decreased drastically, the police are certainly more efficient. We've been stuffing ourselves with apple pies and chocolate brownies. Sunday 16th Julian left at 10:30. Jill and Lucas walked in straight off the Pakistan bus and we were surprised to see each other. Tomato soup. Borrowed money from Jill and Lucas then went to the bank and for a Coca Cola, Jim exhausted. He went for turquoise but the shop was shut. Spaghetti for supper. 17th Jim G left. Lucas bought our Jim's boots for 200 Afs so I went to the shops. Palmolive soap 12Afs Spaghetti 18Afs, 26 oz salt 30Afs. Afghan cheese 500gm 80Afs, eggs 4Afs each. Danish wild cherry chewing gum. Didn’t go to bank. Made soup. Tables arrived. Kebabs 48A for four and soup for supper. Two vans left for Jalalabad. Strawberry tart 4A and coffee 5A. Jill has toothache and we all slept outside. 18th Breakfast then coffee shop. 100 Afs from jeweller, brother gone to army. Looked at Hotels and moved to Tarajmeer on Chicken Street so we have a room to put the van contents in. The Cavalier which was closing had loads of puppies. Met Ashak at kebab place. 15A tea 2A. Family Circle 10A. Went to bank but no luck. Letter sent 10th arrived at Post Office on Monday. Sigis after supper where we had lovely strawberry milk shake and rice pudding and talked to travellers. We are sharing the room with J&L and have brought the camping stove etc in. 19th Up and had porridge, there are some fleas in the bed. Tidied the van then went out for coffee and strawberry tarts. Did a clothes washing. Had lunch at Mercedes of soup then Mantoo 15A which are pasta with mince and spinach. Read then went down to bank but no luck. One letter sent on the 9th from Helen at the Post Office. Wrote to K, Ruhani and Helen. Back to Mercedes and Sigis. 20th Read 'Inside China Today' Too late for the bank. They get mail two times a day and cabled money orders can arrive at any time. Had kebab or mantoo for lunch. Made spaghetti for supper plus strawberries.
21st Banks shut. Salad, potatoes and soup for lunch. Camping gas ran out. Indian ladies buying vegetables. Smoking, Jim playing chess with the Hotel Manager or mending the van's batteries. Lentils, fried potatoes, salad and grapes for supper. Bed early. 22nd Money arrived at the bank but we left it too late for the Post Office. The hotel staff were watering the mats in the hall to keep the dust down. A friend of J & L came round for her to sort out the boil on his head. She is a trusted expert who can get the 'seed' out. Sunday 23rd Went to get money. Da Afghanistan bank crowded. Since the revolution last month they can only give Afs not dollars etc. Talked to Italians and an American girl who works for the Museum. Jim and Luca went to the money market to change Afs for Deutsh Marks. Emptied van. Supper at Sigis, Wener Schnitzel (hopefully goat) and milk shake. The peppermint tea is on the house. 24th Took van in to get Indian dents in the panels beaten out, cheaper here than in GB. Had coffee and tarts then Jim went to pay back Embassy. I went to the shops with Chiara. Looked at waistcoats, embroidered dress fronts etc. Bought Chiara bracelets. 25th Collected Iranian Visa. Went with Lucas to sell old clothes spent 80Afs on a green shirt, a dress piece and Afghan socks. Posted air letter to Eddie and Mum. Went to Sigis again for more peppermint tea. 26th Packed the van again and went down town to the Post Office to change 40marks. Walked back, had a Coke. Then ate lunch in the Hotel garden. Jill and Lucas' friends have got out of jail in Italy. Set off for Kandahar. Arrived late, went for kebab and to Peace Hotel. 27th Went out to get breakfast and saw three puppies. Then shopped for red mirror hat 40A, black velvet embroidered waistcoat 150 Afs, got Chiara a little Afghan dress for 50Afs and more dress pieces for 50A. The streets are crowded but no one notices us, unlike India. Lovely biscuits for sale in the German bakers. 28th The start of Ramadan. Jim worked on the van. We left late to drive to Herat all night. Jill and Lucas slept first. Saw plenty of camels but no sandstorms. It was a cold night in the desert with a beautiful bowl of starry sky above us. Arrived Herat 9am, locals say its unusually cold weather for the time of year. It is a bigger town than I remember from last time. New Super Bezad Hotel is very tidy and has lots of vans. Because it is Friday there is a 'Sunday' feel and the streets feel less friendly. We admire sweet shops and eat in a greasy restaurant. 29th we could not buy new bread for breakfast because nobody eats till the afternoon in Ramadan, when offices etc close after 2:30pm. Tidying and Jim finished off mechanical stuff. Trying to swop suit. Broke down. Headed for the border at 3pm so we were too late to cross when we got there. The customs man was too hungry to be polite. A cold night again. Slept at border with Jill and Lucas on the floor. Sunday 30th Crossed the border with a thorough search of the Van after we had taken everything out of it. The dawn to dusk fasting is making some of them grumpy. Tears and shouting. No hassles on Iran side apart from having to each take three pink cholera and dysentery pills. They say there is an epidemic in Afghanistan. This is the border all the stories of petrol tanks being sawn in half and holes bored in woodwork to look for hashish come from so we were dreading it. Had a sausage and cheese picnic then drove to Meshad. When we came this way there was the same number of Afghanis and reals to the pond, but now we get far more reals. Melons 6r, cream cheese, dates and sweet halva. Some banging on the side of the van and spitting. There is a campsite but we slept in the park. 1st October. Meshad has a lovely 2 domed mosque one blue one 22 carat gold over the grave of Imam Reza a martyr. It also has tiled walls and gateways. The Meshadis all have turquoise factories or shops and offer tea and a look round every ten minutes. Washed in warm water and sunbathed back at the quiet campsite. There are a few Europeans in Volkswagons and five huge fluffy dogs, like polar bears. We watched a cat catching a frog. Jim worked on the van. Cheap tomatoes and the best yoghurt in the world. Chiara is talking about what she will do when she
gets back to Edinburgh and how granny will say she looks smart in her dress and hat and she will watch the television and help make tea.Slept in a backstreet. Jill has Hepatitis now. 2nd Changed money and went to Post Office to post letter to Mum. Car parts and garage for wheel bearing. Sugar shop, bakers. Went to turquoise shops. We looked at so many stones green, blue, striped, polished, raw that I got sick of them and did not buy any. Jim got one for his Mum. We experienced some hostile curiosity near the Golden Dome. We decided to eat out. The national dish is chello kebab. Rice with kebab on top garnished with butter and a raw egg. We could not find one of those shops but found one with a steaming platter of sheep heads in a circle. For 50 rials we had bread, soup and cheeks and tongues for three. The customers were mainly turbaned country boys tasting the delights of the city and amazed at women eating in restaurants - or restaurants for that matter. Bought dates and apricots. Drove out of town. 3rd On the road to the Caspian Sea Jim and Luca taking turns to drive. Lunch by a stream. Reached the Armenian area up the east side of the Caspian. By dark there is no sea to be seen. Stopped in a field. Dogs barking and donkeys braying all night. 4th Curious school kids watch us having scones for breakfast. Ladies in skirts and shawls sell us heavy bread. They are christian and ignore Ramazan. Cotton growing in fields also watermelon fields. Ladies selling huge red radishes at the roadside, lots of basketwork shops. Drive along the coast and up to the shore where we bathe in the Caspian which is warmer than Elie but very shallow. Tomato soup for lunch. Sunbathed on the long deserted beach. Made a bonfire. 5th Iranian men bathing on holiday but not the women. Drove off past the mat makers of Amol and Babol over the mountains to Tehran. On a hill above the city we watched its lights. Bought some dear apples. 6th Into Tehran with its long straight streets. Supermarket, Post Office (where Jim got a letter saying his brother's wedding is on the 24th November), Argentine and Turkish Embassies, garage, shops. Tried to find chello kebab again. Got the gas filled for 160 Reals. In the campsite was a German travelling hotel full of middle aged Germans. A bus with trailer with walls which lift up and canvas sides which fall down, steps, coat hooks, beds in tiers for 40 odd and a cooking galley with huge pots, dehydrated food, German jam and disposable plates. But they still get diaroeah. A couple are living in a display lorry like the travelling banks, with a shower and a veranda. Freaks in a room. 180 R. Sunday 7th Washed clothes and lay beside the swimming pool at Tehran campsite. Jim worked on van. Bought pictures 20R and Coke 15R. Left and got tyres repaired for 20R. Supper by a busy road then slept on a bare cold plain. 8th The men drove on all day turn about, with me and Jill not feeling well. Had lunch in a quarry. Rallied after that and looked in a cloth shop for material to make 'Turkish' trousers for Chiara. Friendly locals, stopped after Tabriz. 9th Up and drove down towards the border. We had breakfast at a rubbish tip. Cheap dates 15R and rose petal jam. An easy Border crossing into Turkey at Gurubaluk with many TIRs from the Iron Curtain countries bringing cheese to Iran and taking back dates and cotton we suppose. Loads of Iranians bringing home fast German sports cars with roof racks of spare parts. The Turkish road is a pitted, winding goat track after the wide, smooth Iranian roads and a bad road to Mount Ararat and past it. Rain and muddy flat fields for the first time since leaving India. When we stopped sunglasses, torch and a purse were stolen when we opened the front doors to get back in and people crowded round. Had a nice supper in a café but the van is not starting so has to be pushed. We were near two lorries that crashed and we had to drive off the road round them. Stopped on a muddy track. 10th Past Erzerum, up two splendid huge mountain passes then driving slowly down little valleys. Butchers at the tops. Trees in autumn colours. In Turkey you realise how little scenery Iran and Afghanistan had. The autumn colours are on the hills, little bushes turned red, orange, gold and yellow, rocky grey and brown hillsides, green hidden valleys. We meet up to 30 foreign vans and cars a day going in the opposite direction, families with kids, single men in VW cars, couples on
motorbikes, hippies in cheap busloads going to Nepal or Goa for Christmas or Australia. Finished the dates and started on the olives, no cheese to be had, but boys selling apples from orchards at the roadside. Local children with fair hair. Gumashane to Trabzond where I wrote to Mum then slept by the Black Sea beach. 11th Played on the pink and blue swings. Bought lump sugar and drove along the coast to find a campsite. Peasants digging sand, shocking straw and drying corn and nuts. Found a camping beach and a freak bus with motorcycle outriders stopped beside us. It includes US, Canadian, Danish and Geordies. Smoked with them. 12th People tripping but not me in case I forget about Chiara, swimming, bussed into Urgup. Bought sesame bread, cheese and halva. Thunder storm, local boys in suits. Lorries stopping to gape at us. Met a South African family. I sewed. Bonfires and chess, talking about the state of America. Rain till late. 13th Bus left for the east and we packed up and went west along the coast again. Jim and Lucas weak after yesterday. Stopped at a 5TL campsite and made lentil soup. A Turk with a gun came to talk about whether armies are needed or not and the different political solutions for different countries. Sunday 14th Drove along to Samsun after stopping to pick shells, bathe and sunbathe. Jim fished for little fishes and Chiara washed Teddy. Shops mostly shut. Started on Ankara road but clutch cable broke. Stopped at a garage then had omaletts for supper off the road. 15th Found lots of little white pointed shells in a stream. Drove to Ankara having a cold picnic on the way. Passed and re passed a family on two lorries moving farm. Looked for a clutch cable in Ankara and got some wire from a very helpful guy. Stopped for supper in a lorry drivers' café, they are a bit tatty but have lovely food. Tomatoes stuffed with mince, stuffed peppers or aubergines, couscous instead of rice. Chiara went for lamb stew. Served with loads of bread but no wine or beer in Ramadan especially for ex hepatitis cases. The preparation is all more elaborate than our egg, beans and chips places., now the accelerator cable is going. Lucas drove us to Istanbul in the rain. Crossed the ferry and Jill was sick. Got to Blue Mosque parking at 1am, lots of vans. 16th Up looking at occupants of 40 vans and walked to post office but no letters. Bought Chiara a bracelet and bead rings. Met a French guy with a child and Jim and the guy had a smoke. Then Jim worked on the van. Had an expensive coffee in the Pudding Shop, there are lots of notes from people wanting lifts east. J&L are sleeping in a hotel. Jim went to the Turkish baths. There is a little American girl called Vasya for Chiara to play with. Some vans are going to India others have come out of Syria because of war there. Weather fine, sunny and warm. 17th Jill and Lucas found friends in Charlie's van, Spanish and Swiss. Went to Turkish Baths with Jill and Chiara after lunch for a long lazy session. The sunbeams come in through little round windows in the domed roof and illuminate the clouds of steam. We came out shinning, smooth skinned and perfumed. Had been to Greek & Jugoslav Embassies in morning also Migros. There is Foot and Mouth disease in Greece so you have to go in convoys. The black hearse is back in town. Bought prayer beads at the Blue Mosque. Chiara's blonde sleeping eye doll stolen by a Turkish child. 18th Up late, phoned Greek embassy. Went to Blue Mosque with Chiara, Vasya and her mother. It's very noisy here. Then to the swing park where Chiara caught her hand in the slide bars as she came down and bent her arm back, but it seems OK. Jim working on the van still. Went for coffee 75kurus with Jill and Lucas. They had had fish 5L for lunch at a café in the bazaar so we went there for supper and had stuffed tomato, pepper and aubergine served from the usual round flat dishes on the counter. Back to the van where there was a party on the grass, a cauldron of soup, melons, nuts, wine and music for Latins, their partners and friends. Police and middle aged Turks joined in with cigarettes and peanuts. Chileans playing drums and a Spaniard on guitar. Talked to Charlie and Scotty. 19th Up to see Charlie and Co go off to the Border. I wrote to Mum asking her to send a postal
order to us at Dover PO also wrote to bank manager asking him to send her the money so we will be insured in UK. Jim wrote letters so the Post Office was shut. Goodbye to Istanbul, stopped at Migros. Picked up a dark haired French hitchhiker called Yvon Legoff. He had his stuff, including guitar, stolen in a taxi. Ate lunch on the move. Posted letter to Mum at Ipsala after Chiara had done her flap decoration in black, blue and orange. Blue sea. There was no convoy at the quiet but quick border into Greece. But they are not changing money. Found bread outside Alexandropolous at a kiosk. Nearly 30 drachma to the dollar. Roasted chestnut and slept on the beach. 20th Paddled, had toast and jam on the beach. Drove through Greece beside the coast and hills. Army manouvers so jeeps and tanks pass us or we pass them. Found a bank and stopped at Thessilonika at dusk to buy Greek Mountain tea, yoghurt and jam etc. Camped where there were wood shavings for the people sleeping outside the van to lie on. Sunday 21st Drove a bit smartly to the border. Mushrooms growing and the rubbish is more affluent. A deserted American at the Yugoslavia border. He'd been left by an English land rover that had his girlfriend in it. Supposed to be flying from Amsterdam but the he's going mad waiting. He's being treated kindly by freaks who cross the border. 15 dinar to the pound. Got coupons for petrol. Drove up East Highway to Skopje and bought bread in Titov Velo. Autumn tints on the trees, hills with farms in the valleys. Shops shut and hunters going home to Italy. Stopped in a wood. If I sleep on the front seats, Jim and Yvon can sleep on the bed and Jill and Luca on the narrow floor of the van somehow while Chiara gets her own bed. 22nd. Up at 5am in the rain, driving or sleeping. I read 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' all night. Talked to some Australians at breakfast and passed them later. Expensive coffee at a garage 4 dinar. Children washing plastic shoes at a tap. Titograd has quiet suburbs with men mowing the lawn, fat cows. Stopped in a wood for supper after finding shops (with fruit juice) off the highway 23rd Spent the last of our dinars at a Supermarket. We were searched fairly well at the border to Italy. It was a laugh for us, though one of my Kabul perfumes got broken, but Jill and Lucas were nervous since they understood what the guys were talking about. Drove to Venice, parked and looked around. Its lovely to look at and peaceful since there are no cars only river traffic. We saw the pigeons in St Marks etc. Lots of trashy glass souvenirs, toy gondolas and ice cream. We waited, hunkered down, outside the Supermarket then realised people do not do that here. Went back to the van by bus boat. Bridge of Sighs, St Marks, Rialto Bridge with shops on. A lovely selection of foods available. Made spaghetti. Lucas drove on and we stopped by a river. 24th On Italian roads, since the Autostrada is too expensive. Houses all the way Padua and Verona which is still a walled city where we saw Juliet's house. Then a Lakeside picnic lunch of barbecued chicken in a walled village. 1,300 lira to the pound so we haven't a clue how much things are costing when everything is in the hundreds. Dropped Yvon on the Turin Road to hitch to Paris. In Milan Jill and Lucas stayed at Lucas father's house. He is an inventor developing a boat with tank tracks like a big water beetle. We stayed with the Italians who got home ten days ago, in their flat in a block where their mother lives below them. Modern chairs, cats, silver and paintings. They are very shocked by how much prices have risen while they were away. Had pasta and chocolate then slept in the front room on a couch and a bed. 25th We were shown round the centre of Milan. The very light Duomo church, the insignificant Prado, opera house and Castle. Saw no Michealangelos but ate chestnuts. Went to the Post Office to send a letter to Mum repeating earlier requests about money, insurance and MOT in case she did not get previous one, then discovered you can buy aerograms in shops. Had lovely pasta with spinach omelette for lunch then whisky and My Fair Lady. Met Jill and Lucas, smoking and went to American Express with them but no letters for us. Made supper, spilt half the spaghetti in the gutter while draining it then slept in a park. 26th Said goodbye to J & L after breakfast and drove to Switzerland. Garages shut, lunch in a car park near Como before an easy border crossing. Good Swiss roads 7 francs to the pound. The
countryside is missed because so much time is spent in tunnels and we worry that we may not be keeping up with the minimum speed limit. Snow and ice up at the St Gottard tunnel, Chiara was most excited but soon got cold hands and stopped playing in it. They would not let but us spend the night at the top. Bells. 27th Drove to Zurich by the lakeside, the fields have no fences, chalets, German speaking. Cold, had lunch then found Heidi in a nice wood floored flat. She gave us coffee and cake then we went to Rene's country cottage 3 miles from Wadenswill which they are renovating and we can live in. It is near a fairly busy road but all around are pastures with apple trees, belled cows, woods and wooden farmhouses. There is one big room with a woodstove, toilet, bed, table, stairs, and a garden. The interior walls have been removed because they had woodworm. The remaining walls are panelled, the windows are double glass with shutters. Sunday 28th We moved the cupboard so it screens one side of the loo. The shower is partially installed but unworkable. Rene came and drove us to his place for lunch of vegetable salad, pasta and venison then cakes and coffee. Shower and washed clothes in their automatic washing machine while Jim played chess and I looked at 100 famous painters. Chiara drinking chocolate milk. Home to cottage for sausage, potatoes and wine. 29th Up cold. No bread, didn't find Wadenswill in the mist so had soup and dumplings for lunch. Van would not start. Drove to Wadenswill after lunch to Migros and Co-op. Everything is dated and priced including how much it costs per 100gms in three languages. There is TV surveilance and a restaurant. Looked at the lake. Spaghetti for supper then Rene came to say he had a garage job for Jim. I finished reading Henry Millar. 30th Up 5am. Jim went off to work in the Ford garage, then I slept till 9. Tidied house, washed clothes, did yoga, lunch. We went for a long walk in the exhilarating autumn air and found apples and ripe brambles. Read Magister Ludi. Made supper including apple tart, Jim brought chocolate and yoghurt. 31st Halloween. Up at 6am. Jim to work. Chiara and I went to Wadenswill at 10am, an hours walk. Had lunch in Migros, Co-op was shut. Chiara rode on a duck and an aeroplane then we shopped in Migros and walked home tired. Chiara had a sleep. The farmer came to mend the chimney then Rene and Heidi arrived with cakes. They had met Wolfgang and Heidi in Tehran. Chopped wood, had egg and chips then Jim got back. Hot stove fire and gas fire, tidied up and bed. 1st November. Up at 6am, corn flakes for breakfast. Slept till 9am, read Krishna. Farmer came to continue work on chimney. Noodles for lunch. Chiara eating bananas and asking about babies. Jim has been laid off so maybe we have to go home. 2nd Long lie. Breakfast then man came to work on chimney upstairs. He had a chat with Jim. The farmers wives still bake their own bread. He's never seen the sea but 'Its just water'. Goes to Germany each year on holiday. There may be work for Jim from the engine repairman here regrinding cylinders. Jim started making a sawhorse then he went to town with Chiara in the evening to get fags. 3rd Started letter to Mum before going into town to Migros. Then we were caught by store detectives in Denner because Jim had tobacco he had not paid for. The police were called and took us to the station for a warning, then we went home for lunch. Rene and Heidi came late to work on roof. Spaghetti for supper was much appreciated. Sunday 4th. To Rene and Heidi's for lunch of hamburger and red cabbage. Had a shower then back to work at the cottage. There is a new job for Jim so he went to see the place. We got milk from a very hygienic farm up the road. Milk pipeline, fluorescent lights, wood ceiling, tails tied up and three cats. Went to bed early but could not sleep. 5th Jim off to work for 7am. Chiara and I tidied up the house then went to Wadenswill to change money and buy supplies. Missed two busses on the way back. The fencing job guy bought Jim lunch.
6th Tidied up, played and then went for a walk with Chiara. Rene and Heidi came and she brought me some off cuts of material from her work to sew into things. They had already had supper. It was snowing and Jim still at work. 7th Tidied then sewed a black, white and red apron for Chiara. There should be enough material for a patchwork quilt. Jim changed money and bought food on way home from work. He is still working at the school playing fields. 8th Went to Wadenswill after lunch. Busses sussed out. Went down to the harbour. Found P.T.T but I was not understood by the girl when I tried to buy stamps. Saw a lovely toy wicker pram for 70francs and a not so nice plastic one for 40F. Back on bus right to the door. Forgot radio batteries so no music. 9th Usual then up the hill for a walk since it’s a nice sunny day. We watched the lorries and bulldozer then picked clover with red leaves. Jim is working on Saturday so we went to Migros after supper.50F worth but I forgot to pay for hare! Police caught us for parking but we were let off. 10th Jim to work. Chiara and I painted second window and did some washing. Rene and Heidi came to do some work on the toilet. Went back to their flat with Jim for supper had black pudding with stewed apples and mashed potatoes its called Heaven and Hell. We were all very tired and they have amoebic dysentery. Sunday 11th. Long lie, meusli for breakfast. Heidi had brought more material yesterday so I started sparkly trousers for Chiara's Afghan dress. Occasional sleet but no snow yet. Jim cooked hare for supper and amused Chiara. Bed with radio playing since we got new batteries. 12th Sewing again, did washing and played with Chiara. Finished painting the wood outside the door. Made another apron. Chiara tried on her ensemble after supper and was much pleased and excited. Painted 3rd window, then off to town. Discovered I'd been buying return tickets in both directions! Success at P.O. then went to Co-op. Got chicken and delicious cake in Migros. Jim late because the Land rover broke down. Hare soup then egg and sausage for supper. 14th Princess Ann's wedding. Painted, tidied, posted letters and discovered a mobile Migros supermarket. Jim bought spumanti. Renee and Heidi came for supper, chicken fricasse, carrots, potatoes, chocolate pudding and mandarins. Rene chopped wood and Jim cut his finger. Bought two more tyres. 15th Jim's last day at work in Switzerland. 16th To France and the return Hovercraft journey. My diary entries end here. We travelled back to England where a Postal Order awaited us for petrol to get back to Scotland. Visited Colonel and Mrs Coles in Didsbury, Manchester and got home to Scotland in time for us to go to Jim's brother's wedding.
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