Greg
Greg's diary
May 1967
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The Asia Trip
    
Groogle

Monday, 1 May 1967 Madras
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Bank Holiday, India

Oh, these mornings will kill me some day! I always try to persuade myself that if the necessity is there, I can be up and ready in a flash, but of late I am beginning to think that it will have to be a pretty dire necessity.

Up, nevertheless, in a rather less than usual space of time today, while Dad was apparently away doing something, and then back came he for breakfast, after which we decided on a plan of action for the day, and , after ringing Wihou [don't recognize the name any more] and mob several times fruitlessly, off to the AASI in Mount Road (fortunately, Dad had found a road map), and there discovered that the bloke had our carnet, which was fortunate, as Dad had been doing his block about it because he thought he had lost it. After a little discussion on Dad's part, and looking for maps on mine, we came to the conclusion that we had better go and try to change some traveller's cheques at the nearest bank—which I think is a really clever thing to do before 1000 hrs on a Bank Holiday. Nor surprisingly, they were all shut, so off to the Tourist Information Bureau, where I left Dad, and off to the nearest Esso station—we had already bought 5x10 litre tins of Esso Extra, which seems to be the only way to get the stuff—to buy a road map, but they didn't have any, and sent me back the way I came, where I found Dad already being fixed up with maps. Back after that to the AA, and while Dad negotiated inside, I showed their mechanic the hydraulic cylinder, and what would have to be done to it. The fellow seemed to think that all this was old had—all very well, if we can change the cylinder. Dad out a little while after that, and on the way back to the hotel, having left the car to be washed, he told me that the cylinder is at the airport, and it can't be cleared until tomorrow. At the hotel, changed into some other clothes, and walked back, in order to get some photos. On the way, stopped at an astrological bureau for a reading each, which will be ready tomorrow, and then by taxi down Mount Road. Just about all the food in this town is vegetarian—I wish to God I could taste some good meat again! Had some food after a lot of looking round, and then off to a chemist's to buy some more drugs, including Daraprim—the warning has been sounded about malaria, so now we have enough for the next 4 weeks, which should see us out of anywhere where we are likely to get malaria.

Back by foot to the AA, stopping on the way to buy some Fixadon (made under license in India)—I have some passport photos to print tonight—and there met a bird who had done the trip all the way from England (5 months so far, and eventually she intends to go to Australia to seek, if not fame, then fortune), and had a fairly lively conversation with her. She has been alone a lot of the way, though for most of the way she had an Australian fellow who she picked up in Egypt (God only knows what she was doing there).

To the YMCA, after a lot of searching for it, and eventually back again without having done much more than change $50 at Rs 9.50. Drove round town, for no other reason [than] to see it, and then back to the hotel, having decided that Madras is best left unseen.

Printed my photos in the evening, and in the circumstances I was surprised how easy it all was.


Tuesday, 2 May 1967 Madras → Nellore
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And on it goes. This town is slowly, but surely, getting me down, and the sooner we are out of it, the better.

Dad woke me up early, and said something to the effect that we had better plan our actions well this morning so as to get out of the place as quickly as possible. Eventually, after having some breakfast (or at any rate, that was what they called it) down town and to the AASI, where we paid for the carnet fees, etc., and off to Wihou and Co (Private)—that in itself was a bit of a difficulty. I wish that in India they had a few road signs. I have not seen a single one yet. Then, after getting the papers re the hydraulic cylinder to the Air-India freight office, to pay handling charges, and then to the Post Office to post some letters and send Mum a telegram.

Then down to the harbour area, where Dad got the Insurance from the Caledonian agents [does this make sense?], while I looked in vain for Customs House. Eventually found it as Dad found me, and both in to spend an hour and a half doing our best to cut our way through the ample miles of Indian red tape to get our hands on the hydraulic parts.

Then, eventually, to the AASI, and their mechanic took us round to a grotty little place where they intended to change it [the hydraulic cylinder]. The instructions in the workshop manual state that all hydraulic work should be carried out in a clinically clean atmosphere—here the car was resting on the dirt, dust, etc. that goes to make up Madras soil. Nevertheless got down to it—eventually, rather against my will (Dad had gone off to buy some meths), the mechanics took over, without the workshop manual, and when trying to remove the piston con rod from the buffer support, were thinking of hammering it out. It was in fact a hell of a job, and eventually Dad came back, and I left them to it, and went to have drink, and when I came back, they had it out. After that, things went smoothly enough, and, thank God, the whole operation was a success.

Off to pick up our horoscopes—that was a complete waste off time—Rs 30 worth of bullshit.

Back to the hotel and checked out—they broke my bottle of DA163, damn them—and then down to change some $ US at only Rs 9.75 cash, bought some more DA163, and off for a Chinese meal, as all Indian meals so far seem to have been so awful. The food was good, though, and we were well happy when we set off (supposedly) for the North. After about 10 miles, it because evident that we were in the wrong places, and we eventually enlisted the help of a local to put us on the right road, to which we had to get after going the wrong way along a one way street—-they must be trying to prevent emigration north. The bloke refused money, although we had taken him 8 miles out of the way—odd for an Indian.

On, along very mediocre roads, to Nellore, where after a bit of enquiry found a traveller's bungalow, where Dad slept—I in the car.


Wednesday, 3 May 1967 Nellore → Vijayawada → Hyderabad → Nizamabad
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Dad woke me up pretty easily this morning—after all that, it looks as if I was right about getting up—by knocking on the windows of the car, and told me that, having consumed all that coffee last night, he had not been able to get to sleep until about 0430, and,, since it was only 0630, he had not had a very restful night. Ah, what it is to sleep in a bed, instead of on blue PVC which sticks to you when you sweat.

Off pretty snappily—so quickly, in fact, that I suspect that the taukeh thought we intended not to pay—and then to the Caltex station, where we got the directions last night, and filled up the tank, lowering the octane rating of the contents to an estimated 88.

Then off in a northerly direction, with intent to reach Vijayawada. It occurred to us after a while that we had not yet had breakfast, and so stopped in a little town, check water, air, oil, and then bought some coffee, bananas, and mangoes, and en route again, as we could not find much else of any more substantial a nature. Off, ever north, and as the sun burnt down it occurred to us that we were thirsty, and so we looked around every little town in that area to find bottled drinks—Dad is worried about anything made from local water, and I suppose he is not altogether unjustified. No luck however, until we got to Gunton, and it eventuated that the stuff we got there was just plain soda water—ugh! Decided after that that, as I had a gallon of Madrassi water in the back, I might as well drink that, and eventually persuaded Dad to this effect.

Arrived in Vijayawada round lunch time, and headed to the Post Office, where Dad had wanted to phone Mum, but no phone. Down to the CTO, but after a lot of typical Indian red tape, discovered that we had to do it from a private telephone number or the GPO Madras. Had makan there—Chicken Beryani [sic], and quite good at that. Then on to Hyderabad, which was quite a long way with little to commend it. At any rate, the roads showed a slight, though definite, improvement, and got rather boring. It was stinking hot, and after a while it occurred to me that my ventilator was not working, and so stopped to fix that.

On, ever on, and eventually reached Hyderabad, and had the problem of finding the YMCA, which was quite a problem, as Hyderabad is even bigger than Madras, and the map we bought was a s good as useless. Eventually found the YMCA , and washed up, and Dad over to get some sleep, while I went round the corner to fill up the tank—we have done 330 miles [530 km] since last tankful, at 32.6 mpg [8.6 l/100 km]. Also had the car greased, which was, in fact, due before Vijayawada, and then back again, to find Data, wrote up my diary, and then had a rather frustrating time finding some food and getting out of town, all his not being helped by Dad being very tired and irritable. Pumped a bit of coffee into him, which made him a bit more human, and then on to Nizamabad, where, after more messing around with the town, found a lodging place, and, for some sum like Rs 4.50, bedded up for the night. Blokes [in] next room reckon Citroën are thinking of making Ami 6's in this country. Bang go Ambassadors.

In fact, the plan was to build 2CVs, not Ami 6's. The Hindustan Ambassador was still around in 2000: it was a copy of a 1948 Morris Oxford, and in 50 years they don't seem to have updated the design. I believe that Citroën never did build cars in India

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Thursday, 4 May 1967 Nizamabad → Nagpur → Jubalpur Images for 4 May 1967
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Woken from some rather troublesome dreams—something about Mr. Andrew bringing me before a court of enquiry because he thought I was a drug addict—by Dad suggesting that we get under way and off northerly. Spent a bit of time eating mangoes, washing, etc. (with the mangoes we had, the latter follows almost inevitably from the former), and then tidied generally up, while Dad went over to last night's service station (where we had left the car), and got it, filled with petrol, and then we put all the barang in the car (and Dad nearly forgot the CDC case, damn him), and then off. Road looked pretty odd, and Dad, in his usual fashion, decided that we were probably off course, but I managed to keep him quiet long enough to hit the main road, and then belted off north on the HH7, which we have been on since about Vijayawada.

Not particularly good roads around here—they got worse as we went on, and as a result we could not keep up much speed. Eventually, near Adilabad, we lost the surface altogether, and processed on raising an enormous cloud of dust at about 60 mph [100 km/h]. Tried our best to get a drink at a place about half way to Nagpur, but not go, so I left the wheel to Dad, and on we went, and before too long came to a fork, and after enquiry, discovered that if we followed the sign pointing to Nagpur, we would come to a bridge under repair, and so off in the other direction, which was a bout 20 miles longer, and which caused Dad to swear quite colourfully, both at that and at any other petty annoyance.

Eventually, after a long and rather tiring journey, arrived in Nagpur, and were directed to the Mount Hotel Annexe to have lunch, while Dad tried to get on to Mum in K.L.. He might have known it was a lost cause—the fellow had spent all morning trying to get on to Delhi. Still, Dad wanted to leave no stone unturned, and so hung about there until 1430, when, for another day, communication with Malaysia was broken. Cancelled the call, off to fill up the tank and on, north again, in the general direction of Jubbulpur—or however the spell it. [Best spelling is “Jabalpur”; the British did some strange things with transliterating Hindi names]. Roads round here are not very clearly marked, when they are at all, and we managed to get ourselves quite quickly lost in Katin, 5 miles from Nagpur. Even the local directions do not help much—“Go straight”. One would gather that the locals have not been far out of their own town, from the ridiculous directions one gets from them.

Got caught up in a fair a bit later on, while Dad tried in his best sign language to buy some sheets, until I pointed out to him that they were not what we wanted, and were pretty expensive anyway.

Then on, ever on—-but, with all the unintelligent beings on the road, ones speed is severely limited. The idiocy of the people is terrible.

Eventually arrived in Jubalpur—the roads were almost impassable with people there, and we got ourselves well and truly lost before being guided to the local hotel, where we were delighted to find there was no prohibition—until we found beer was Rs. 7 a bottle.

A number of Indian states have prohibition. At one place, which I seem not to have mentioned in my diary, we had to register as alcoholics in order to be allowed to buy beer.

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Friday, 5 May 1967 Jubalpur → Khajuraho → Agra
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Woken up this morning, while still in a state of torpor, by Dad, and soon after in came the bloke with breakfast, and the news that we had a flat tyre—the latter is so common that I paid little attention to it

In those days, typical tyres were still cross-ply, and the sidewalls were pretty much straight. The Citroën was one of the first cars to use relatively flexible radial tyres, and the sidewalls bulged significantly, more than modern radial tyres. People were continually noticing this and telling us that we had a flat tyre.

until I went out the get something from the car. OK. I belive him now. I have seldom seen a tyre so flat-even after I change it, I had to knock the cover back into shape. Dad was worried about what could cause a tyre that has done barely 2000 miles to have a flat—I can't see that it was much more than chance.

After that, which delayed us somewhat, off in a northerly direction, and eventually managed to get out of Jubalpur, and onto a quite good open road along which, at one stage, I managed to hit 95 mph [150 km/h]—which, with this fuel, and this load, must be considered pretty good for any road.

At a place which I expect was called Seoni [spelling?], filled up our tank—why only 27 odd mpg?—and off onto a little dirt road, which Dad reckoned to be a short cut. Came to a ford 18" [45 cm] deep, and Dad very nearly changed his mind, but I took it across, despite the bullocks all over the place, and out again, without any noticeable damage, and then on over some very desolate and dirty country—everything is covered in dust now, and we are going to have a pretty good de-dusting session when we get to Delhi. I am still wondering how to clean out the ventilation system, and, even more important, how to prevent more dust from getting in. I hope none has yet found its way into the carburettor or engine—we are going to have to have a look at the air filter fairly soon.

Eventually to Khajuraho. Somehow, I did not expect a very fantastic tourist industry there, despite what Dad said about it, and I was not very surprised to find it almost non-existent. Why can't the Indians do anything straight? It is beyond me. Had a look at the pornographic carvings which we had come so far to see, and took myriads of photos—some of them are in the most improbable positions, including several not in the Kama Sutra—one with the fellow (looked like a Sikh) standing on his head (or hair).


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Then off, with intent to get to Agra as quickly as possible, and burning very fast along these grotty little roads—they are nearly all bumpy as hell, but at 80 mph [130 km/h] on LHS2 and nitrogen, one hardly notices them.


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After a while, decided to have a rest and let Dad conduct the vehicle, and woke up quite some time later as we were approaching Gwalior, where,after considerable searching, found a hotel where we persuaded the manager to let us have a bath and makan, and then off again (after a couple of false starts) to Agra—a very good road by Indian standards. Arrived late, and went all the way to the Taj Mahal before we found somebody who could show us to a (rather grotty little) hotel. Late to bed.


Saturday, 6 May 1967 Agra → New Delhi Images for 6 May 1967
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There is no doubt about it but that these early mornings are difficult to keep to, especially when one has not had enough sleep for a long time anyway. Nevertheless, did my best with the situation, and even managed to eat the rather grotty breakfast that they offered us. Then out to give the car a pretty thorough cleanout, as it had been accumulating dust since we left Madras (or just possibly since we arrived in India, which seems more to the point). Checking the oil, I discovered that the hydraulic reservoir was nearly empty, and managed to trace the trouble to the front left side of the car—it took a quart or so of oil to top up, which scared the hell out of me. It was impossible to see exactly where it was all coming from, as the whole thing is very effectively sealed. Left it for Delhi, and then up to go and see the Taj Mahal.

This must surely be the most beautiful building I have ever seen—there are other beautiful buildings, nut none is half as beautiful as the Taj. Strangely enough, it is also kept in good condition, which is odd for this part of the world. Took the best part of a roll of Ektachrome on it, sparing little trouble—there is hardly a thing out of place.


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The tomb is the most resonant room I have ever been in, unless it is the central dome above it. The whole time we were there, we were followed by a Sikh, at first we thought, just to see we didn't deface the building, but it turned out that he, too, was a visitor. He did not seem to want anything, but helped with the photo-taking, carrying my bag, etc.—and at the end, said goodbye, and left! I just do not understand it.

Ha something to eat nearby—they took a hell of a time to prepare it—and bought a couple of marble jewel boxes for Mum and Jennie, then off to Delhi, starting considerably later than we had hoped.

After about 2 hours or more, arrived in Delhi, Dad feeling very shitty about the heavy traffic on the roads, or something like that, and to the YMCA in Jai Singh Road, where they have a very nice (though quite expensive) tourist Hostel. Telegram and phone message from Mum, who proved to be just round the corner at the YWCA, so over to pick her up, and back and booked in the YMCA, and upstairs to recover from the time we have had. Mum did not seem at all annoyed about the fact that I was growing a beard—good—and seemed very happy that we were all here together. She has managed to get the binoculars for which we asked in our telegram to her—Pentax 10x50's, which I find very good, and consider more useful than 7x50's, and just as much use as them [huh?]

Later on, after tidying up my person somewhat, looked at the Citroën repair manual—it looks to me as if the height corrector has a loose feed pipe, and we intend to have a look tomorrow.

After that, out for a makan angin round town, and back again for makan, and spend more time in the room, discussing arrangements at Gießen—I wish parentals trusted me more. Early to bed—boy, do I need this rest!


Sunday, 7 May 1967 New Delhi Images for 7 May 1967
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For some reason, our room boy (I think, in fact they call them bearers)

To 21st century Western people, particularly US Americans , this may appear racist. It isn't in the slightest. Those were the terms that everybody used.

brought in some tea this morning at 0615, a rather unwelcome intrusion on my sleep, but there was, of course, little I could do about it apart from let it get cold, which I did quite satisfactorily by going back to sleep for another couple of hours until Dad rang me up to say something to the effect that there was some (hot) tea waiting for me down there, and would I like to come and get it?

This I did, and fairly shortly after that, went down yet further to the dining hall for breakfast, and this was not too bad. Spent a lot of time discussing how to use the day to its best advantage, and decided, at my suggestion that the hydraulic leak in the car might be nothing more than a screw connection on a feed pipe to the height corrector worked loose, to remove the wing and have a look at it, so outside, where it was terribly windy, and all our tools, hubcaps, etc. kept blowing away, but eventually got the wing off, and then more protective covers to remove, and finally the hydraulics to see—I was right: it was a feed pipe.


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This took us about 2 minutes to tighten up, and the dismantling and reassembling about 2 hours—why can't they make locking nuts on these things?

Upstairs to relax, and got some paper at the desk with intent to write to Jennie, but before very long off to the market to look for little nick-nacks to buy (this was Mum's idea), but I got rather intrigued myself by some of the stones they had, and ended up buying a couple of green agates (I thought they were jade, but in any case, they were nicer than the jade available there), one as a keyring, and the other as a fob for my waistcoat chain.


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Then back home (Dad had developed the squits), and Mum and I had makan. Then backup upstairs again, and sat around reading about Pentaxes (that Keppler is a good book—it makes interesting reading to such as I) and then considered writing to Jennie, and by the time I started on that, the phone rang, and this proved to be Dad, by now having recovered from his attack of the squits, saying that we had to have tea, and carry on accordingly from there.

Down for tea, and then, apparently, was the problem of our little black-market money changer. No matter what they may say in Madras, the rates are higher here—Rs 10.00 / $1.00 seems to be just about standard. Finally found our little bloke—he was somewhat reticent about coming—and then changed our money and off to the market again, where I bought a bracelet for Jennie. I hop, after all this, that I don't come home like the expectant soldier home from the wars, and find her run off with somebody else. That would just about break my heart.

Saw a not-very-cultural Indian dance troupe in the evening. A mob who seem like Jesus Christ and many disciples have moved in the opposite me—holding seances or some such thing all night.


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Monday, 8 May 1967 New Delhi
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Up this morning at a more sane hour than yesterday, and down to see Mum and Dad, at the request of the latter, though I somewhat jumped the gun, as he had expected me to take longer than it did, in fact, take me.

Down eventually to breakfast, and then out, with the long day ahead of us impressed on us. I wish I were allowed to play a more active part on the organisation of such things—perhaps it is only my vanity (in fact it is extremely likely to be my vanity) but I think could get things done in less time than it takes Mum and Dad, who seem, somehow, to bumble around somewhat.

First to the Pakistani High Commission, where we had to make application for a border pass to get from India into Pakistan—this John Crowley said would take us 21 days at least—and were told to come back this afternoon. Then to the Afghan Embassy, and arrived before it was properly opened, and then, after much argument, persuaded the bloke that we would be able to get the visas today instead of tomorrow.

To Ariana Airlines then, and waited around while Mum and Dad did what they had to, and then messing around in the Government Emporium, which Mum wanted to see, and of to the Burmese Embassy, where Mum had a visa to get. We had intended to get a Soviet Visa, but today and tomorrow are public holidays in the Soviet Union—the anniversary of VE day or something. Ironically, it was open yesterday. Asked to come back to is afternoon at the Burmese Embassy, and then off back to the Afghan Embassy by some diverse route which got us nowhere.

At the Afghan Embassy met a girl who is going by local transport, and she seems quite nice—rather the innocent, [one word which even I can't read] type, and I have my doubts as to how well she will fare. Gout our visas (at long last) and off to the Pakistani Embassy, where I met her again, and passed the time of day. She seemed very young, but, from her passport, is apparently 25. Oh, what the hell—anyway, not as nice as Jennie (not sour grapes—Régine Ruiz must be about 25 by now, as also Kirsten Schoen. And they acted their age.

Off to the Burmese Embassy, and on the way stopped at a little garage for a drink, and saw what is probably, at the moment, the only Citroën 2CV in India. On the way back from the Embassy, stopped in and had the oil changed (long overdue, as usual), and then left the spare tyre to be repaired. Down to have a bit to eat, and Dad got extremely snaky with me about some minor detail of description, which, in turn, irritated me. Off later went he to get Mum's visa, and came back a little calmer. Then to Ariana, Air India, Dad ran into a taxi (this somewhat evens the score, and besides, we were not badly damaged), and eventually got details of applying for Soviet entry. Picked up the tyres, and more shopping in the Jan Path, and eventually back very late to the YMCA, and arranged everything for a very early departure tomorrow morning to Srinagar.


Tuesday, 9 May 1967 New Delhi → Chandigargh → Jallundur → Jammu (Kashmir)
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There is something wrong somewhere, and I thing that basically it is the lack of a really interesting thing for me to do—if there were that, I have little doubt that I would wake up each morning much more quickly. Of source, the other possibility, which is probably equally likely, is that my theory that I can do better on 6 hours sleep than on 8, is wrong.

Anyway, up this morning after 6 hours sleep at about 0500, and proceeded to get all my barang packed up and ready to leave. Then down to see Mum and Dad, after which off again down to the car, and checked everything to do with the smooth running thereof, and off as soon as Dad had filled the boot, and Mum half the back seat, with rubbish.

Then quickly through Delhi, which, one quickly finds, bears very little resemblance to New Delhi, and much more resemblance to all the other dirty grotty little Indian villages. Eventually, without recourse to the nonexistent road signs, got out on the NH 1 again, and very good it is in the part of the country, too—we managed a very good average indeed to Karnal, about 70 miles away, where Dad gave me the wheel, and, after checking the hydraulic reservoir, on to Chandigargh, where we arrived at about 1000 hrs, which is a pretty creditable performance. Chandigargh, though supposed to be a model city like Delhi, is rather open and barren, and again, almost devoid of signposts. Had a quick look round, and Dad took some ciné of the buildings which caught his eye, and, after a drink and an endless search for the Tourist office (to get a map to get out again) off to Ludhiana and Jullundur, and just outside Ludhiana got caught up in one hell of a traffic jam occasioned by an army lorry (and the place is crawling with them) broken down. At Jallundur to a place called the New Raj Hotel, where we were given a room to have a wash and makan in. This place is stinking hot now, but I noticed a radiator in a corner, and assume that it must get quite cold in the winter.

After that, off again, and I went to sleep in the back, and woke up in some little place where Mum and Dad decided to stop for a Coca-Cola, and had some difficulty in getting it, and when we did, it was some vanilla and caramel mixture in Coke bottles, and to add insult to injury, the fellow wanted Rs 1.40 for it. What a waste of money. Mum and Dad were so engrossed in something that they left without me, and it took them (apparently ) several minutes to realised I was not there—this time I spent being bombarded with questions in Punjabi from Punjabis, and then off again.

A little further on, changed drivers again, and got some petrol—the needle registered below empty, and Dad did not believe we could make it to Jammu on the remainder (though, as I had opined, we could have). Kashmir border was a bit of a problem—the state is obviously slightly non-aligned—and into Jammu, where we found, at length, a circuit home to stay the night, and then old homing pigeon Dad got completely and utterly lost before we finally found somewhere to have makan. Exhausted to bed.


Wednesday, 10 May 1967 Jammu → Srinagar
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I must surely tonight have slept worse than for years past—and that includes the usual assortment of park benches, rubber estates, lorry engines, etc. There were two reasons for this: first, it was stinking hot, and I was somewhat desalinated, so I felt both hot and sticky. To add insult to injury (or, more properly, both), I was bitten by mosquitoes in force for the first time in at least 8 years, and for some reasons, every time one bit me, they [the bites] all began to itch in unison. On waking, I found Dad having almost [? can't read it] slept under similar conditions, and Mum, strangely, not bitten at all. As old Captain Rasputin would probably have observed, they must have been female mosquitoes.

Downstairs, and ascertained that the dip portion of the right headlight was dud, and so, for the time being, changed to the yellow bulbs, though I hope we can get some more in Srinagar—although I suppose it all hinges on what size bulbs these Ambassadors can have.

Pretty soon out of Jammu, and once we started climbing, Mum let me sit and sleep in the back, and I woke to hear them talking about drugs, etc.—they hold some most naïve views.

On, ever on—the road, though a masterpiece of engineering under the geographical circumstances, kept our average for the first 100 odd miles (when Dad drove) down to about 25 mph [40 km/h]. Stopped for makan, which was served quickly and efficiently, at a place called Banchal—the tourist bungalow or circuit house or something.

Took the wheel after that—the acceleration was right down, partially due to the gradient, but also partially, I think, due to the low atmospheric pressure round here. Went through what must be the longest (not to mention wettest, considering this is the dry season) tunnel I have ever been through, and on the other side quickly started to descend into the vale of Kashmir, which I think must be one of the most beautiful paces anywhere in the world. We are still quite high up, but it is not hill country—in fact, a lot of the land is under padi, or a corresponding quantity of water. I could have stayed there, just at the bottom of that last pass, for months, without growing tired, or running of ouf photographic subjects. But not so. Took one photo and then on to Srinagar, where we arrived at 1600 hrs, and headed straight for the director of Tourism, where I saw a man whom I am convinced is Mr. Rogers, the student master at King's last lent term, only like me under a beard. Did not see him, but stright to the HB [Houseboat] “Queen of Sheba”, which Mum and Dad found a great disappointment, but which was rather as I had expected it. Checked a few others, which were no better, and then off to see a carpet factory—considering the speed at which some of these blokes work, I find it amazing that they take so long to make these things. Then off for more shopping, which bored me stiff. Early to bed.


Thursday, 11 May 1967 Srinagar
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Woke up rather late this morning, having slept well, but still feeling rather tired, and determined, for a change, to spend the day relaxing rather than running all over the place and enjoy the luxurious treatment afforded to one on a houseboat. Mum and Dad up quite early for breakfast, but I decided to stay longer in bed, and not force myself to get up, but rather get up when I felt like it.

Eventually, around 0930, up, and had a bath—by this time Mum and Dad had gone out to look for carpets or something—and I was alone (just about) on the boat. Had breakfast, which was not the most wonderful meal I have ever eaten, though it served its purpose. Then into the lounge, dressed in silk,, and sat down with my diary to write up my diary which of late I have been neglecting, and for the first time for about a year, ended up 2 days behind. Nevertheless, managed to remember enough to make it reasonably coherent.

Then set down to read “The Sucker Punch” by James Findley Chase (or something like that), which was interesting, if somewhat unlikely and naïve. Finished that just about by lunch time, when returned Mum and Dad and told me all about the wonderful carpets they had seen in town, and the way they were so completely undecided as to which ones a) they preferred b) they could afford.

Had makan, after which, for some reason, Mohammed (the house boat keeper) suggested we went and saw the sights of Srinagar, and so off in the car (I did not particularly feel like going out, but was told it would be interesting), and off to see first, at the top of a hill, the fountain of life (some Muslim thing), then some Moghul gardens, and then a somewhat different thing, Moghul, but more like a combination of the two former. I was not particularly impressed by any of them, but the view from the fountain of life was quite good, and I suppose I might have a few good photos to show for it.

Back again to the houseboat after that—Mum and Dad were off again to see some carpets, and I didn't want to get mixed up in it all, so got them to drop me off. Before too much time had elapsed, arrived the barber, and got him to trim my hair as little as possible, and then wash it—I forget how long it is since last I washed my hair, but it was too long, and it contained a fairly representative selection of Indian Road dust.

Then started writing a letter to María del Castillo, and lost interest after that, and started examining the Citroën workshop manual to see what really difficult jobs there are to do—clutch and brake relining look fun. I am thinking of buying an old car, and then doing it up.

Feeling grotty in the evening, and early to bed. Fellow called Subhana the Worst, thinking of importing a Citroën. Good luck to him.


Friday, 12 May 1967 Srinagar Images for 12 May 1967
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Woke up in the middle of the night, feeling lousy, and had apparently been groaning somewhat, for Dad had heard me too, and came in to see what was wrong. Little that he could do right then, so I took a codeine, which relieved my stomach somewhat, though, surprisingly, it kept me awake for quite a while.

Woke up at about 0800 hrs, by Dad's efforts, and felt like death warmed up, though Dad did not seem to find it terribly bad and did his best to get me out of bed and up onto the sun deck.

Eventually, much against my will, I succumbed, and with the aid of another codeine tablet, managed to persuade myself that I was not all that sick, though it was all I could do to eat a piece of toast.

Then, of course, there was the problem of what to do with the day. Originally, we had intended to climb the Guluang [sp?] mountains (on donkey), but this was obviously out the way I was feeling, and so Mohammed suggested that we go for a drive to see the scenery of Kashmir.

I was feeling pretty grotty, but Dad had been told that it was quite a short drive, and, after all, there is little strenuous in sitting in a car and being driven, and so set off for some little place, then name of which escapes me, and en route Mohammed decided that the whole journey would take us about 100 miles [160 km]—after he had heard me tell Dad that we had enough petrol left in the tank for a good 70 miles [110 km]. Went quite a distance to the first place to see yet another Moghul garden—see one, and you've seen them all, and this was little exception. Admittedly, there were different mountains in the background, but that was about all. Behind the garden were some trout hatcheries, which were not much to see, and it was almost impossible to take any photos because they surfaced for only a fraction of a second at a time, and the water was very muddy.

Set off then in the direction of a higher plain, and thence through some rather steep and quite beautiful country, though by this time I was feeling rather grotty, and did not take many photos, but just sat there considering the possibility of getting a job in July and October, both of which will be relatively free. Also considered the possibility of setting up a small D&P [developing and printing] business with Paul in Sandown—we ought to be able to rake in quite a bit in July.

Feeling awful by the time we stopped for lunch (by which time we were also on the reserve petrol), and so slept in the car while the others ate. Thence straight home, stopping only for some petrol, and as soon as I got back, lay down on my bed, as I had little strength for anything else—probably because I hadn't had anything to eat for so long. Anyway, some soup made me feel considerably better, and after that arrived the doctor, who diagnosed food poisoning or something like that, and diagnosed [sic; should be prescribed] a most lethal sounding mixture—belladonna and phenobarbitone—amongst others. Anyway, when I took them I felt a lot better. I think, though, he is overestimating the time it will take me to recover—though I may never do so, if I heed what he recommends.


Saturday, 13 May 1967 Srinagar
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Woke up at about 0600 this morning, but quickly back to sleep—no doubt because of last night's early night, and also all the sleep I got yesterday in the daytime.

Woken again by Dad at 0800, and stayed awake this time—I now feel much healthier, thank God—it would have been hell had this gone on much longer, and it would also have done little good to our travel arrangements. Still, hardly feeling on top of the world, however, and I had breakfast in bed—not that I have had it here at the table—and only had scrambled eggs and tea.

Then in to have a shit, which, thanks be to God, I managed almost without trying. While I was in there, arrived the doctor, who examined me again, suggested I keep on with the tablets, watch my food, and also that I should go in for biochemistry (this after his enquiry into what I used my sly drool for).

After that, got dressed, and up onto the sundeck, having been waiting, reading old letters from Jennie, for far too long. There found Mum still with my pen after abut 5 times as long as she said she would want it, and so sat down and tried to puzzle out the ID19 brake system. I think, in the long run, it would be better to get a DS, as long as the prices don't vary too much. But how much would one ask for a 1956 DS 19, even in good condition? It couldn't be all that much.

Then finished off my letter to María (and, fortunately, found the other two pages), and started reading some letters from Paul, which, when it is all boiled down, are hilariously funny.

Mum and Dad back not too late for lunch, and then I actually managed to eat quite a bit—but then, I ought to be ravenous. Still, I am making a pretty rapid recovery, and should be fine by tomorrow.

After lunch, Dad said something about taking the car in to have the undercarriage stuck back together again. Went along just to see what was going on, and got them to clean out the air filter, and then off to the Post Office to get some stamps for my letter to María. Thence to the furriers, where I had my hands measured for some gloves, which will be sent on to me.

I had my doubts about having things sent on from India, but my mother was convinced they would do it. I never saw the gloves.

Then by tonga to the Dal lake, where, without my knowledge, it had been decided that we should go for a ride on a shikara, and this we did. Then to the houseboat of Mohammed's brother, Abdul Rahman, who operates “Malaya”—what a name for a houseboat. It is, in fact, about the nicest houseboat I have ever seen.

After that, picked up the car, and back to the boat, where I started reading “Une Vie” by Maupassant—unfortunately, in English: these things lose a lot in translation. I shall have to get it in original somewhere. About half finished it—like “The Angel in the Corner”, which it probably inspired. Talking with a simple Muslim about the mechanics of night and day. He puts it down as above the comprehension of anybody except Al'lah.


Sunday, 14 May 1967 Srinagar → Jammu → Amritsar → Ferozopur
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Woken this morning as planned by Dad, at about 0520 hrs, when it was already light here, and was encouraged to drink my tea and quickly get up for breakfast, which, surprising even myself, I did, and had the usual scrambled eggs and little else (well—some porridge. Somebody reckoned that it would do me good, though I think the only good it did me was to lessen the gnawing hunger in my guts.

Then packed everything into the car (or rather, Dad did), while I checked the oil, etc., and put quite a bit more into the sump, some into the hydraulic reservoir (are we losing any? I don't think so: the place underneath the height corrector is now dry), and discovered that 5 out of 6 cells of the battery were dry, so down to the service station on the way out, and had the battery topped up and the tank filled.

Then off, and Dad driving, all going smoothly until we got to Anomtnag [spelling?], where, mysteriously, we managed to get off the main road, and on to some tiny little place, which all the locals swore would get us to Benihal. So it did, in fact, but it was something of a long way round, and our hesitation did not make it any easier.

Up through the tunnel, and up and down all over the place, Dad taking ciné right, left and center—I am rather fed up with the scenery, but took a couple of shots for the record.

Compare what I wrote 4 days earlier:

I could have stayed there, just at the bottom of that last pass, for months, without growing tired, or running of ouf photographic subjects.

It must have been somewhere round here, while Dad was driving, that he tried to change gear and nothing happened; he stayed in the previous gear (3rd). Got him to stop, where we quickly found that we had lost a screw in the linkage. That was a bit of a worry for a while.

Eventually approached Jammu, and Mum and I had lunch on the move. Then we stopped, I took over the wheel, and Dad had lunch. By the time we were all finished, we were in Jammu, and Mum wanted a photo of a temple, so I took one for her, though from a lousy vantage point, as we had no time for messing around if we wanted to make it to Ferozopore tonight.

On, ever on—the lack of culverts, and reliance on fords (which now, of course, are dry) makes the road between the Jammu and the Indian border either uncomfortable or slow, and to my way of thinking, this was both. More messing around, filling in forms and all the usual red take, at the border [between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India], and then had tea as well. After that, on, heading for Amritsar, and the road, although supposed to be “Other Motorable”, was not at all bad, and I easily managed 80 mph [130 km/h] along the open stretches, of which there were quite a few.

After that, at Amritsar, woke up Dad (who had been asleep for quite a while), and tried to navigate our way through town, which Dad did with remarkable success, enquiring at only two service stations, one of which sold us some petrol, and the other of which invited us for tea—the Sikhs are very hospitable.

Got into a bit of a cul-de-sac at Patti (what a name for a town) but made Ferozopore, despite a flat tyre—why front left? Is it anything to do with the accident?

It was almost certainly due to the fact that we were driving on the left, and the front track of the ID 19 was 20 cm wider than the rear track, so this was the most likely tyre to collect junk off the edge of the road.

Had makan at a grotty little place after settling in at an equally grotty rest house. More mosquitoes.


Monday, 15 May 1967 Ferozopur → Hussainiwala → Lahore → Rawalpindi → Peshawar
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-½ hr (Pakistan) [UTC_5:00]

Up as ever today, and managed to drag myself out of bed long enough to have some tea, which at any rate managed to wake me up. Then got dressed, and down to working out where all my documents were, after which to the task of working out our mpg [fuel consumption] of recent date, and then filling in the log book. Meanwhile Dad, who was cleaning the car, got a bit snaky with me for not helping, which was not helped much by the fact that I subsequently complained about the condition of the photographic accessory boxes that I have bought for Paul and (especially) Jennie.

Then to breakfast, which was the usual gleasy flied eggs on something not completely unlike toast. Then I greased the car (which is more of a job than I thought) and off to Hussainiwala, where we crossed, slowly, from India into Pakistan, and while getting out of India through the customs, ascertained that John Crowley came through at 1300 hrs yesterday. Oh well—we should beat him out of Pakistan.

Then on to Lahore, and as we were arriving there, decided to change some money, as on past experience the stuff had come in valuable. Staggered through the middle of town—and it is quite a nice town, nicer than all but a few in India—and parked near the Chartered Bank (which, come to think of it, no longer reminds me of Lesley Cannings. That memory took a long time to shake off). Finally got the money, and into the YMCA restaurant opposite, and had lunch, discovering at the same time that there was a ½ hour time difference.

Off again, and rather confused by signs pointing to “Rawalpindi” and “London—6732 [miles, 10823 km]” in opposite directions, and eventually took the former as being more controlled. That in itself was a bit of difficulty, but we eventually managed it, and were soon on a straight open road which is much better than those in India, as well as being straight as a die. On, on, at a relentless speed (though we did slow down for the occasional obstruction), and stopped at some place whose name is hardly worth remembering, were it not for the name of the river it is on—Jellum—and bought some oranges, and I took the wheel, and again on to Rawalpindi and such like. The flat, straight road finally ended, and we had some windy, hilly roads instead, which were rather fun for throwing the car round. Also rather interesting mountain scenery. Then into Rawalpindi, which I tried to persuade Mum and Dad was the capital of Pakistan, to no avail, they insisted Karachi (Eventually, at Peshawar, discovered that it used to be Rawalpindi, but now is Islamabad, a new town 10 miles away).

Bough some petrol in Rawalpindi, but at Rs 4.00 [USD 0.84, £0/6/0, in those days, indeed very expensive] per gallon it is about as expensive as anywhere I have seen, so only bought 2 gallons [9 litres] in the first instance.

On to Peshawar, where we finally found a Dak bungalow, where we had a conversation with a well educated Pathan who told us all about the Kashmir [illegible]. One wonders how India can get away with it.

Makan in town, then to bed. This place is a dump.


Tuesday, 16 May 1967 Peshawar → Khyber → Tarkhham → Jalalabad → Kabul
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Up early enough this morning—if anything, too early, considering the time we finally got away. It would be much easier if we didn't have Mum to worry about. I am not quite sure how, but she manages to turn quite a simple overnight stop into a major operation.

Had breakfast while we were there, and, after checking the usual, off to the nearest black market exchange house, where Dad bought some Afghanis (as opposed to Afghans), though this was somewhat complicated by the impending visit of President Ayub Khan, as the were going to close off the street about 15 minutes after we eventually got out of it. Then to a service station to get a couple of gallons of minyak, and off after that to look for the Khyber pass, which took a bit of finding, but after seeking local help, got on the right path. Rather a bit of confusion when we discovered there was a toll, as Dad had changed all his rupees into Afghanis, but fortunately or unfortunately, they accepted these. Then up through the Khyber, which I found more than a trifle disappointing after the road up to Srinagar, and then to Torkhham, where were both the Afghani [sic] and Pakistani customs, though the former were supposed to be in Dakka, 7 miles away. Also, in direct contradiction to the AA information, they drive on the right here—I was expecting a more dramatic change-over than that.

On thus to Jalalabad, though some quite interesting countryside on not at all bad roads. There is one petrol station in Jalalabad (where we filled the tank), and another at Sarobi, and that is all between the border and Kabul—really with it. Dad took the wheel at Jalalabad, and onto Kabul, stopping quite a bit en route. Just outside Jalalabad is a toll gate (more sensible than the Indo-Pakistani ones) for a tunnel—I am more impressed by the efficiency of people on this side of the Hindu Kush.

On, actually through some gorge in the Hindu Kush—I should know its name, but it evades me now—and rose into the Kabul plain, where we quickly hit Kabul, and drove round for quite a while trying to find the Aryana hotel, and managed it eventually, after first asking a couple of blokes who spoke little or no English. The Aryana is a crummy little dump, but for the price, OK, and so booked in and then down to the Khyber restaurant for lunch—that name is popular round here, and so, no doubt, is the restaurant—Kabul is a surprisingly modern city, and the Khyber in keeping.

After that, to Ariana (another popular name, and, as I learnt later, the old name for Afghanistan, the latter having been founded in the 18th century) Airlines, and they had made a cock up of our bookings to Tashkent, but had more or less managed to get us on the flight (special) on Thursday. Then off to the hotel, while Mum and Dad went shopping, and started a letter to Paul Hallett about the latest developments, etc., and about my plans for our future holiday travel, etc.

Mum and Dad back quite late, and then off with them to the Khyber again for makan—this time not so nice, though still not bad.

Late enough to bed, though very tired. This town beating bores me.


Wednesday, 17 May 1967 Kabul
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Dad in, interrupting my dreams, at about 0720 this morning, and suggest that I got pretty quickly `out of bed, as we had work to do. Followed over to his room in 15 minutes, and then waited around a bit until they were ready, and off to the Khyber (again!) for breakfast.

After breakfast, set about finding the whereabouts of Intourist, which we did quite efficiently, and in there to be told that they had not heard anything from Intourist/Moskva about it, and so little could be done. Over to the visa section, where we were told to wait a while, and eventually told that the Vice-consul would not be back from the airport for an hour, and would we come back then?

Off to try and arrange something about money, and discovered there was no American Express office in Kabul, so off to another travel agency, who were apparently not very helpful, before going to the Soviet Embassy again.

There we were told flatly, after some waiting, that Intourist had not replied, and therefore we could not have a tourist visa, and that a transit visa was only valid for Moscow. So the trip is off.

After writing this web page, Dad reminded me that the vice-consul carried an enormous bunch of enormous keys with him. During our discussion he disappeared several times for protracted periods, unlocking doors with one of the keys and locking them again from the other side. Dad recalls him as the most unhappy-looking person he has ever seen.

Then back into town, and cancelled our bookings for tomorrow, and on to the BOAC office for a refund of our tickets, and then booking Mum back from Teheran. Damn it, why does she have to come?

After all that, were reminded with a bit of a jolt, that we had forgotten our Iranian visas, and so off first to Iraq [i.e. the Iraqi embassy], where they did not seem very able to give us a visa today, and then to Iran, where we were told that, if we were in a hurry, we would do better to get a visa in Herat, where they could complete the formalities in a couple of hours, and we could then be on our way.

After that, off to the Khyber for lunch, and then back to the BOAC office, where I parted company with Mum and Dad, and off to take a few photos (though the attempts was not very successful) of Kabul, and ended up, about half an hour later, at the Khyber, parched, and after a coke, had a look outside at a Citroën 2CV (the place is crawling with them), 1999 QA75, which has come overland from Paris. Who would have thought it? Anyway, that was what I said to the bloke standing next to me, and we got into a conversation about it, and eventually had a pretty general discussion—he is a Strine, from Brisbane, but worked for a long while in Port Moresby, and now is seeking his fortune round the world with a view to hitting Pommieland or Deutschland. Off eventually, and walked back to the hotel and pretty quickly to my room, where I finished my letter to Paul, and then hung around doing nothing until suddenly it hit me that we still had that flat tyre, and so off to tell Dad, and eventually brought all the tyre changing stuff up, and did the job, and then off to the Khyber for makan.

Packing in the evening—last before Mum flies.


Thursday, 18 May 1967 Kabul → Kandahar Images for 18 May 1967
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Oh, these mornings. Come what may, it is agony to part company with my nice warm bed! In any case, there was the necessity this morning, as Dad said we were pushing in 20 minutes. I don't know what it is that makes me believe Dad when he says such things, but I think that it is possibly that I am at such times not yet conscious enough to think about it. The result was, in any case, that I staggered a few minutes later into the other room, where Mum was still dead to the world, and before too long off down to the car to load all our enormous quantity of barang into it—this time, of course, including the spare wheel, which we had left upstairs last night, and then after checking all the usual, sat in the car feeling grotty while Dad tidied up the back seat. It is a pity that Mum had to bring such a hell of a lot of junk, as it is now cluttering up the entire back of the car.

Off to the Khyber, where we had breakfast, and at the same time got some people to get some lunch for us, which we put in the golden tripod, and then off, after a brief encounter with some bods coming the other way, via a petrol station, in the general direction of Kandahar. Beautiful sign leading to a well built dual carriageway, and went 5 miles along that before it finished, and there was a completely ambiguous fork in the road. Took the wrong turning, and went a couple of miles out of our way before we found out, and so back and took the other turning.

Off on this, which was a very good road indeed, though I was somewhat worried about the fact that the car seemed to refuse to do more than 85 [mph; about 135 km/h] under any condition, whereas normally I would be hitting the tun [100 mph, 160 km/h] on that road.

What I didn't realize was that we were climbing quite steeply.

Made a pretty good average, anyway, and in about 3½ hours had covered 200 over miles, and stopped for lunch, on as close an approach to a lay-by as we could find, and were pretty quickly joined by a red headed/bearded Kraut from Aachen, who had been living in Williamstown, Melbourne, long enough to sound like a Strine. Mum decided that we would have to share our makan with him, but at any rate we had an interesting conversation—he is doing the whole think on what looks like a Honda S90—best of luck to him.

On, this time with Dad driving, and averaging about 10 mph less, but still getting somewhere, and, after going through some particularly uninteresting scenery, arrived in Kandahar at about 1600 hrs, and immediately set off for the Manzel Bagh hotel, which had been recommended by the Iranian Vice-Consul in Kabul, and, as it was quite nice and also reasonable, booked in, and then, after a beer and a wash, set off to find a hydraulic hoist, as the gearbox needed attention, but got nowhere. Eventually found, with the aid of the hotel taukeh, a service pit nearby, and so took the bottom plate off, and topped up the oil, and tightened everything well again.

Makan was next on the agenda—smoked chicken and not very nice, but we got into an interesting conversation with a couple of Afghan agriculturalists, who gave their opinion on the trip to Teheran. Early to bed—I am very tired of late.


Friday, 19 May 1967 Kandahar → Herat Images for 19 May 1967
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Even after I was woken this morning I continued to dream—significantly, about Jennie. I wonder what is wrong with me, though, that makes me take such a long time to wake up in the morning. By the time I finally staggered out of bed, Dad was already checking the usual on the car, and so quickly got dressed, and out to help him, as he looked somewhat puzzled. That took about as long as usual—Dad had mainly been cleaning the car until I came—and then back into the hut/chalet—call it what you will—for breakfast, which was pretty awful, and then out again with all the barang, which I have been letting Dad pack [into the car].

Then more messing around—it baffles, and rather irritates me how everybody concerned takes so long about all this. I am sure that we could easily cut it all to half the time. Eventually off, got a fill of petrol, and, stopping every hundred yards to take essential ciné of still shots—there might, I suppose, be some point if there were scenes with motion in between—off to Herat along the new, concrete Russian highway, which was much more open than the American one, and besides the car was behaving better. Got the tun [100 mph, 160 km/h] up before Dad decided that it was dangerous, though 90 mph was not—it is amazing the psychological effect of 3 figures. Managed to keep that speed up pretty well, nevertheless, apart from the occasional stop. There was little to stop for, however, and the country was as barren as you like—3 towns in 350 miles [560 km]. Eventually arrived at a roadside service area n the middle of nowhere—225 miles in 3 hours: 75 mph [120 km/h] average. No wonder the cooling water was at 95° C—and up here that is probably the boiling point of water.

Had makan at the hotel there—beautiful modern Russian kitchen there, all unused—they cook on an open fire out the back. It is really pitiful to see the way these Afghans (who must surely be one of the most unintelligent races in the world) have left the hotel just about fall apart.

Off again, after getting a fill of petrol—the consumption really went up on that last run—and with Dad driving this time, about 20 mph [30 km/h] slower. Maybe he has a point at that. Still, we will see how it goes tomorrow, along the “breaker's yard”.

The documentation we had got from the British Automobile Association had claimed that the road from Herat to the Iranian border was the worst of the entire journey. The term “breaker's yard” came from there.

Eventually arrived in Herat, at another Russian place, the Herat hotel, similar in many respects to the other place [the hotel in the desert]—even had the same type of swimming pools. And again these positively stupid Afghans running the place—or rather, misrunning it. I hope the Iranians are a little more intelligent than the Afghans—I have had all of them that I can stand.

On re-reading this in December 2001, this sounds surprisingly harsh. I think I was more upset with the lack of education of the Afghans than by their stupidity. I seem to have forgotten to write down one incident at the Herat Hotel: I found that the globe in the bedside lamp was burnt out, so I called reception and told them so. The response “Yes, we know”. It seems they didn't understand that they could be changed.

Off into Herat in the evening, and had a look around, and saw the famous mosque, and took a couple of photos, though light was none too hot. Saw Alf and Bob, whom we met in Delhi and Kabul, and also Red, whom they know, and we met yesterday—he is staying in the Hotel Herat too.


Saturday, 20 May 1967 Herat → Islamkillah (-1 hr) → Taiabad (Iran) → Meshed Images for 20 May 1967
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I knew I could do it! All I needed was sufficient stimulus. Woke up this morning at 0730, and remembered that we were due at the Iranian embassy at 0750 for our visas, etc., and so hopped [adverb illegible, maybe “neatly”] out of bed and down to wake up Mum and Dad—the latter was astounded to see me up and about so early.

Off after arranging everybody, to the Iranian embassy, where we left Mum to keep an eye on the bloke, and went off to look for a bank, with only limited success. Eventually, Dad managed to get some money changed, and back to the embassy, where we found a family from Dunedin [New Zealand] travelling in an extraordinary vehicle called the “Holdfast”, looking like a cross between a VW Kombi and a 10 ton lorry. Couple of daughters, one of them about my age, and rather nice—I wonder if we will see them again. [we didn't]. I hope so. Back to the hotel, and I continued to do the routine on the car, and then off to change the engine oil after breakfast—that presented fewer problems than I had anticipated, and soon all was ready, and all I had to do was take a couple of photos of the marble floor of one of the rooms, go to the Iranian embassy, and off—the breaker's yard ahead.

This was quite disappointing. Everybody tells us that this is the worst stretch in the entire road, and yet, apart from the occasional pothole, the thing was quite smooth. Got completely covered in mud when going through a puddle—even the roof was covered.

Arrived at Islamqala [spelt Islamkillah above] at about 1310, and saw Red there as well, and sat with him through Afghan passport control, and drank tea with him through customs, and eventually got off before him. At the frontier, the Irani MO [Medical officer] gave us each 8 enormous anti-cholera tablets [in fact, capsules] to take—Mum nearly choked. Woke up the passport control, had our passports looked at, and on to Taiabad [20 km], where we saw the police, who stamped our passports, the customs, who told us to see the security police, who stamped our passports again, and then got our carnet [carnet de passages en douane, the customs documentation for the car] done, and everything checked

In fact, they were quite thorough. They were the only customs officers who discovered that the carnet had a typo in the chassis number of the car.

at the Customs, filled with petrol and on to Meshed, which was easier said than done—Dad had rather generously left the longer and more difficult part of the drive to me. This was full of little dips, which appeared without warning and shook the car from head to foot every time—not to mention the fate of the contents. About halfway, passed a well-nigh identical D-type [i.e. Citroën D series car], which acknowledged us, and then on, where all the inhabitants of the villages were obviously wondering why we had turned back. Corrugations in the road were terrible, and the windscreen sounded from time to time as if it was going to part company with the car.

Eventually arrived in Meshed with only 3 (or was it 2?) cylinders firing, and more or less patched it up, and even managed to get hold of a matching (or more or less) pair of headlight bulbs for the car, at great risk to person and property (or however the cliché goes—it applies, anyway).


Sunday, 21 May 1967 Meshed → Quchan → Shahpasand → Sari Images for 21 May 1967
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Woken up early this morning by the sunrise—shades of summer creeping in again. It is rather pleasant when one is in comfortable surroundings, but here it is difficult to do anything in a bed except sleep, because the thought of the place is so unsavoury to begin with.

Eventually up, and hung about guarding the room while Mum went to the bog, and then off to clean up myself, and down to the car, where we were long overdue for another greasing,

The car required greasing the front suspension every 2000 km.

and so set to doing it myself, while Dad tried, with eventual success, to fix up the bonnet catch of the car, which had worked loose.

After that, Mum down, and we all had breakfast, and then off, and found the road to Quchan without too much difficulty, and after nearly losing a headlight rim, onto some very bumpy and rough dirt roads. To make matters worse, it started to rain, which turn all the road into pools of mud, and we also came across some quite deep puddles, which taxed the clearance of the car—though all was eventually well.

Arrived in Quchan, filled with petrol, gave the wheel to Dad, and bought some bread, and then on in the direction on the next little town, Bojnurd, on the way stopping to buy Mum a mini-Meshed carpet, and at Bojnurd changed over again—was this road ever rough! After Bojnurd, had a flat [tyre], and braked too heavily, resulting in a ruined inner tube and a chewed up interior for the tyre, which was, to say the least, annoying.

On, ever on, and through some hills into some rather more pleasant country, and faster road, before I hit a rock and ruined another tyre—sidewall ripped open—it doesn't look as if we will be able to do much about that one. Dad is thinking of complaining to Michelin about the weak sidewalls—but that is the price one has to pay for cornering ability.

In fact, I had chosen the wrong tyres for the trip. Michelin had only just introduced their first asymmetric high-speed tyre, the XAS, and we had taken a total of 6 of them with us for the trip. M+S tyres would have been much more suitable.

Eventually put a brand new tyre on the other wheel, and then on—Dad took over the wheel, as he was a bit worried about what would happen if we messed up another tyre—though he reckons that, with a bit of sidewall patching, the first punctured tyre ought to be OK.

Then on to Behshahr, and, by a short cut, missed out Gonbad-e-Gaboos (though that is a name that has been more or less haunting me since first we started planning this trip), to Shahpasand, where we hit the tarmac road which seems to start at Gondad [sic]. On this much faster to Gorgam and so decided to push on to Sari, so that Dad could have his swim in the Caspian sea before going on to Tehran tomorrow.

Looking at the map, this itinerary seems to be inaccurate. The correct spelling of the one town is Gonbad-e-Qabus, and Behshahr is a long way after Gonbad. I can't find Shahpasand on any map any more.

Shacked up in a crummy little joint where I reckon we were charged through the nose, and had some local makan there before hitting the sack because there was nothing else to do—besides, we were tired.


Monday, 22 May 1967 Sari → Bubolsar → Teheran Images for 22 May 1967
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It was hardly worth staying in bed this morning, the whole place was so grotty—the immediate reaction on waking up was to get up and out of the place as quickly as possible. Still I managed to do my best, stayed in bed for another 10-15 minutes, before staggering up and out to look for the bathroom.

Then breakfast, and Dad paid the bill. It strikes me that, for the sort of accommodation and extremely greasy food that we got there, 397 rials was pretty steep—and this impression was hardly alleviated by the fact that as soon as Dad had paid, the fellow took the bill, tore it into little bits, and threw them all over the floor by Dad's feet. Then off with what little barang we had left, downstairs, and loaded it into the car, and off in search of the Caspian sea, and after enquiring at Babol, were told to go to Babolsar, which we did, and then took Dad town to the short for his swim in the sea, and got what I think will prove to be some rather interesting facial expressions on ciné.

It was pretty cold. And yes, for 8mm ciné, the expressions are amusing.

Then to a nearly resort hotel to eat some caviar, as Mum said it was the cheapest in the world there. It was, admittedly, very nice, but if that is the cheapest in the world, I should hate to have to pay for the most expensive.. 700 rials is pretty expensive whichever way you look at it, and even if you charge it to the Diner's club.

I can no longer find out how much the Rial was worth at the time. FXConverter tells me that 700 Rials are now worth USD 0.40, which for three serves of caviar would really be the world's cheapest. If anybody can point me to a converter for 1967, I'd be interested.

Off then in the direction of Babol, Amol and Teheran and, thank God, it was tarmac all the way—suddenly I am not so fond of dirt roads, having ruined 2 tyres on them in a remarkably short space of time.

After Amol, the road became notably windier, and the condition of repair was not so good. Nevertheless, we made pretty good time, though we managed to hit a cow en route, without (apparently) doing much damage to either us or the cow.

Took over the wheel a little more than half-way on, and on to Teheran at quite a fair speed—it was downhill all the way. People have said nasty things about traffic in Teheran, and admittedly it is pretty reckless, but one would hardly, as has been suggested, have to be a hardened stock-car driver to take it. Or possibly I would do pretty well in stock-car racing.

At the BOAC office, confirmed Mum's booking, then off to look for hotel, which was more difficult than we expected, and eventually booked into the Excelsior, which was very expensive, but on Diners Club.

In the evening, after a quick attempt at recovery, off with Mum to the bazaar, where shoe looked at just abut every carpet there, but (possibly just as well) the prices were too high, though she did buy some other stuff to be send home by post.

Then back to the hotel, and after makan, Mum did her packing, and then, after a rest, off to the airport, where [continued the following day]


Tuesday, 23 May 1967 Teheran
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we had a hell of a wait for the plane (though fortunately it left 15 minutes early). Still, only got to bed just after 0300 hrs. Thank God this won't happen too often.

I had been feeling pretty tired all yesterday, and so the effect of this late night added up, and ensured I slept in very late this morning—or more accurately, this afternoon. Woken by Dad from a dream about Lesley Cannings, of all people, at about 1145, to give me an application form for an Iraqi visa, which I filled in, and then he off again pretty quickly down to the Iraqi embassy, and came back about an hour later having left our passports for visas at the Lebanese Embassy. When I asked him what he had done about the Syrian visas, he swore and something to the effect that he did not know we had to go through Syria, and the he did not have any pages left in his passport for any more visas—which was, to say the least, rather confusing. Ascertained that there was no Australian embassy in Teheran, and so rang up the Pommie embassy, where Dad was put onto a bloke called Mr. Wogan, who suggested that he come around about 1000 hrs tomorrow, and he would see what he could do.

Then did my best to contact the Syrian and Turkish embassies, and drew a blank at both places—Dad put me in control of the trip as from noon today, why exactly , I do not know, but I don't really mind.

After that, down for lunch. I have had a problem lately—my right testicle has been aching madly, and I cannot walk any great distance as a consequence. After lunch, got hold of some writing paper and up to the room, where Dad had decided to go to sleep, and started writing a letter to Jennie, as I have not now written for some time. Eventually, however, succumbed to Dad's power of suggestion, and went off to sleep—why I am so tired of late, I do not know.

Woke up quite late after that, and Dad complaining about the fact that we have been sleeping so much—he expects me to wake up automatically at the right time now, I think.

Down after that, and Dad wanted to go out for makan, and eventually persuaded me to do something about my right ball. Meanwhile, and American couple had come in, and were complaining greatly about the fact that their booking for a double room had not been honoured, so Dad offered to give them ours, and we moved into two single rooms. Then took a couple of Saridons [pain-killer] which eventually relieved the pain, and off out to find somewhere to eat, but ended up buying a couple of car magazines and a map and coming back to the hotel for makan, as we no longer had any money for foo.

Late to bed—difficulty in getting to sleep. What a lot of noise traffic makes in this town!


Wednesday, 24 May 1967 Teheran
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Set the alarm for 0800 this morning, but unfortunately succumbed to sleep, and did not really wake up until Dad came in at 0845 and asked what the hell I thought I was up to. Told him, and then off downstairs to breakfast on an omelette—why do they have to make them so oily in Iran?—and then off to the Lebanese (or is it Libanese?) embassy to pick up our passports with visas in them, and got them at 0930, as planned, instead of the quoted 1000 hrs. At the same time, was told ho to get to the Syrian Embassy, so off and dropped Dad at the Pommie High Commission (or, more likely, Embassy or Consulate), and off down Kh. Pahlevi under instructions to look for a big roundabout. What nobody told me was that it would be 10 miles before I got there. That I found my way to the Syrian Embassy without making any mistakes, and after asking my way only once, I must attribute to my remarkable sense of direction (actually, I astonished myself). Then got the visa application forms, ascertained that it would be 480 rials for visas for the two of us, and then back to the Pommie Embassy, where by this time Dad was a fully-fledged Pom, with passport and all. He also told me that the bloke at the Embassy strongly advised him against going into any Arabic countries, as the biggest blow-up since Suez is apparently pending—something about Israeli access to the port of Aqba [sic] or something.

My recollection of my father's report on the matter was that Mr. Wogan said something like “Mr. Lehey, if you were to go to Israel now, you would be a bloody idiot”.

Consequently decided to think about it, and to the hotel to so something about patching up the inside of the spare tyre, which had been chewed around by the last flat.

Then had lunch, for a change at a little pub round the corner called the Fontaine Bleue, which was quote nice, and got some really lavish helpings for the same price as back at the hotel.

After that, back again to the hotel, and I started reading some magazines, but before at all long succumbed yet again to the urge to sleep—there must be something in the Persian air that makes one want to sleep in the afternoon.

After that, woke up quite late at about 1630, which somewhat irritated Dad, and down then (I was feeling really crook) to watch him put the tyre on the spare wheel, and then up again to try to recover.

Eventually Dad in, a bit snaky, as he always is when I am unwell, and suggested that we went to see the Crown Jewels, and eventually persuaded me to come too. Got down to the market, bought a Thermos, and then off to find that the Jewels were being “repaired” and would not be on show for 4 months. What a waste of time.


Thursday, 25 May 1967 Teheran → Qazvin → Zanjin → Tabriz
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Up this morning at a quite-early-enough 0600 hrs, and up as quickly as I could at such an hour, and into Dad's room with a lot of my stuff. I had been feeling just a little constipated last night, and had taken a couple of the Laxatives Dad bought in Srinagar. Boy—that is the last time I take more than one of these at a time! I could hardly keep off the bog, and was on about 10 minutes after breakfast, disposing of that. I wonder how well digested it could have been in that time.

After that, all the barang loaded into the car, off to buy some minyak and air (which is not free here), and then off on a wild goose chase looking for the Teheran-Karadj freeway and, on the third attempt, found it, paid our 10 rials, and off. Must be the only good road in the country, though the crosswinds shook the car at speed, and made Dad think he was burning a big end. The road, alas!, lasted all too short a time, and soon we were on an ordinary tarmac road as far as Qazvin. Then I took the wheel, and petrified the road within 20 miles—well, at any rate, it turned to stone. To make matters worse, it was loose gravel, and roadholding was down to nil. Eventually it cleared up a bit, though it was still a job to do 60 [mph, about 100 km/h]. Also the rear mudguards are scraping against the tyres, which makes a very worrying noise. [This was a common problem with the Citroën D series].

On thus to Zanjin, where Dad took the wheel again, and we got some wire to hold the rear mudguards in place. As soon as Dad took the wheel, the road miraculously turned back to tarmac, and so I lay down and went to sleep, as seems to be the custom at this time of the afternoon in this country.

For some reason I didn't note one of the more spectacular happenings during this afternoon: while I was asleep, Dad drove into a trench across the road, about 30 cm deep:


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I can't recall exactly what damage was done. I think that the rim of the right front wheel was bent. Dad lost his temper and went at it with a hammer, but I was able to stop him before he did any damage.

Woke up an hour later, and Dad had done the best part of 100 miles, so let him finish that [we were doing alternate 100 mile stretches], and then took over the wheel—rather amusing watching the American car that had been out-accelerating us on the tarmac, when it hit the gravel and we roared past it. I did not wait to see, but I am sure that it must have got stuck in one ford with its back wheels off the ground. Why, by the way, did the road fall to pieces when I took the wheel? Managed 48 miles [77 km] in 2½ hours, going was so bad.

The road included a number of road works and deviations. One of these was so steep that we barely managed it in first gear.

At 1415, when I took the wheel, we had visions of getting to the Turkish frontier by nightfall—arrived in Tabriz at 1800 hours, and checked in at the cheapest pub we could find, and had makan—shish kebab—outside.

Dad was still making fun of my testicular pain, which I had had for a couple of days, and insisted that I ate sheep's testicle kebab.

Also did a bit of shopping round, and bought a lot of food.


Friday, 26 May 1967 Tabriz → Bozargan → (- 1½ hours) (Turkey) Milan → Gümüshane
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Woken up quite early enough for my liking this morning at 0445 hrs by a VW and a Land rover taking turns to see who could make more noise. I suppose it must have ended in a draw.

Immediately thereafter, a good 10 minutes early, the fellow came in to wake us up, and Dad up pretty smartly, though I clung to my rights and stayed in bed until about 0505. Then up, dressed, and out to the car, where the thermometer registered 13,5°—not nearly enough for my liking. Checked most car parameters, packed the stuff into the car, and were off by 0535, which I found somewhat surprising. Eventually managed to clear the town—half the roads in Tabriz are under road works, and we had to take some grotty little detours before we finally go on the right road—this, in all fairness, was quite good for 85 miles [130 km] or so. During that time, had breakfast (Dad thinks nan and dates do the job well. Not so I).

Near Khoy, just after leaving the good road, handed over to Dad, and bought some petrol, and then out of the town again, and Dad damn nearly bent the car in a 2 ft [60 cm] ditch which appeared, with its rocky bed, completely without warning. As it was, it made a mess of the right front wheel, and broke the exhaust pipe clip.

Then I off to sleep, and Dad on in his erratic way, and eventually came back onto the same made road again—that made Dad swear. From there to the border, the road was not too bad. Met Alf and Bob at the border—they were on a bus, as their Landrover had fallen apart on the Meshed-Teheran road—that amused me. Through the border, after the usual red tape, and I at the wheel again. The roads in Turkey are, thank God, a lot better than those in Iran—though I suppose that is obvious: they could not be much worse.

Changed over with Dad in due course, and went off to sleep, and woke up just as Dad discovered we had 2 flat types—not bad going. Changed the first, and repaired the two, and were just about to put the same one back on the front left universal joint, when we found we had put it together with hundreds of stones wedge on the other side—did Dad ever scream! Eventually off again, and to our destination, the name of which I forget, but discovered that the time was only 1720 so bought some more minyak, and off in the direction of the Black Sea coast—according to the BP map, the road is much better this way.

On thus, through the hills, and would almost certainly have made Gümüshane by 2100 hrs had it not been for a rain storm. As it was, we made it by about 2200 hrs—18 hrs on the road, 530 miles [850 km]. Longest day's run ever.


Saturday, 27 May 1967 Gümüshane → Giersun → Samsun
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Slept in a little later this morning, mercifully, and Dad suddenly sprang into life at about 0715, as I was watching him and wondering how much longer he would stay asleep.

Into the stinking bog for an absolutely essential crap—otherwise I would not have gone near the place—and then off to get dressed, and took the barang down to Dad, who was doing something in the nature of checking the usual mechanical parameters. Finished that, and then off to a little place across the road where they gave us something that was presumably the Turkish equivalent of breakfast, and charge £ 7.50 for the privilege. Off after that to look for an oil place—we were rather low on the stuff—and no luck so decided that it was not that bad, and we could survive until we found something.

Then off in the direction of the [Black Sea] coast, I thinking of a dream I had last night, where I had 2 girls, both crying their eyes out for me. Even now, it makes me feel a heel—though I can't identify either of the girls in the dream. Maybe I need an interpreter.

Hit the coast, and discovered that today was Atatürk day or something (the fellow who told Dad said it was independence day—but independence of what?) In any case, it meant that the banks were closed until Monday, and so we could not change any money. Discovered also that Türk £ are a damn sight cheaper in Tabriz than here—I wish Dad had found that out before we left Tabriz.

Off with what we had, getting somewhat entangled in the shoddiest procession I have seen in a long time—considering the Turks seem to be such a miliary-minded mob, it is surprising that their military discipline is so poor. Took the wheel a lot further on, just before the road deteriorated—say what the map may, the roads here are pretty grotty—and Dad prepared some lunch, which was a few tomato sandwiches. On, climbing all over the places, at least as far as Giersun, where the road improved fractionally, and then changed over with Dad again. Almost immediately, it started raining again—I don't think much of the weather in Asia Minor. Crawled along to what we had intended as our destination anyway—Samsun—and then spent a bit of time trying to tune the car up somewhat—it was not taking the local petrol too well, or something—and Dad managed to book us into a pub.

In the evening, after a bath (Boy—was I in need of one!) out to see the town. Must be as many barber shops as all the others put together.


Sunday, 28 May 1967 Samsun → Ankara → Izmir (Smyrna)
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Up at 0600 hrs this morning, much against the grain—how I hate getting up so early in the mornings! Still, it has to be so if we are to get anywhere. To make matters worse, some silly bastard had washed the car. I was furious, and all for giving him nothing more than a boot up the arse, but Dad is always somewhat intimidated by these blokes. This time, however, he was forced to do something, because he had hardly any local money, and so gave the bloke 10 Afghanis, which seemed to please the bloke, being a nice-looking note. Wait until he sees what it is actually worth.

Then off in the direction of Ankara, stopping only to get hold of some minyak, and then along some much better roads than we had expected, while Dad prepared some rather tasteless fish for breakfast, and fed that to me. Still, this is definitely the way to do it, rather than to have a much more expensive and time consuming breakfast tat the hotel.

Then Dad took the wheel, and on, without much change. The roads got a little worse for a change, and then better again, and he knocked off his 100 miles in remarkably short time, stopping only to get some water.

Then my turn again, and had to stop for a rather urgent crap, but then on through Ankara, where we stopped briefly to change some money, and then out to buy some petrol, where we had quite an argument because we suspected they were overcharging us, and then bought some oil. Now we are using Castrol 20W40 Multigrade—I am sure they make a 20W50, but it seems unobtainable in this country. Still, if they don't, we can always try Duckhams. Makan was quite good apart from the audience. Then on, and in 15 miles the tyre which we had so lovingly nursed back to life in Teheran fell apart for good and all—in was almost enough to make us cry, especially as we now have no spare tyre, and Dad is consequently very worried.

Pushed on nevertheless—considering our aim today was Ankara, wee were quite happy with the results, and even more so with the remarkably good, almost European standard roads that we have been having lately. On, ever on to Afyon, just before where I took the wheel, and after buying some food really burn to Üsak, about 80 miles away, and over supposedly bad roads that recently had been resurfaced, and got there round about twilight, and so peed on to Izmir, where we had intended to arrive tomorrow evening, and arrive there at about 2200 hrs, and booked into quite a good hotel, on the Diner's Club.


Monday, 29 May 1967 Izmir → Ephesus → Priene → Izmir
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Woke up at about 0900 hrs, feeling as if I could sleep for as long a period again, and rolled over, and in 10 minutes was woken by Dad telling me that I was about to miss breakfast, and so I told him to go to hell, and so he did, as far as I can tell—though he described it in terms of the dining room downstairs. When he came back, he also mentioned something about going for a drive, which rather puzzled me, as he had said last night that we would stay here all day today. Accordingly swore at him, and asked him where we were to go, and he said something about such exotic sounding places as Ephesus, and so I though it it sounded too good to miss, and I got dressed and went downstairs to see how the food went, which was not very well. While we were down there, changed $20 at £11, and, sufficiently elated, to the car, to find a tyre deflated. To the nearby service station, where we got petrol, air and grease, and then off in the direction of the signs to “Efes”, which I think is a horrible name to give any town. Still, along some very nice roads to Selçuk, eating the remains of yesterday's oranges, and the cheese which we bought in Tabriz.

At Selçuk, Dad decided to get hold of some food for us to eat at the ruins of Ephesus, and this took him a hell of a long time, during which I ascertained that we had a slow flat in the only good, original tyre that we have had so far, and off then to Ephesus, where we found nothing of at all much interest, and so decided that it was not worth the £7.50 they were asking, and off along the coast road for Dad to see the beautiful Ægean sea, which quite disillusioned him—this rather surprised me. I have never thought all that much of either the Ægean sea in general, or the prospect of having our own Greek island in particular, but had assumed that Dad's different opinion was based on a difference in taste rather than the fact that Dad did not really know what the Ægean was like. I myself am astounded at how much similarity there is between this coast and Marcel's photos of the Greek side. One could easily believe that one was in the same place.

On then to Priene, where we saw a lot of wind-blown stone columns (they did not even look like marble), for which we paid £3.00 plus quite enough in chewed up tyres getting there. Had a belated makan near the sea under some ancient olive trees, where we were visited by an Ancient Turk who claimed to have known Homer, and then back to Smyrna in time for makan, after which walked round town, coming back to find our tyre completely flat, and so upstairs and fixed it in not too back a time. Late to bed though as a result thereof.


Tuesday, 30 May 1967 Asia → Europe
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Izmir → Dardanalles → Istanbul

Up early enough again this morning—I am wondering now just why I didn't fly back to UK to be with Jennie that much sooner—but then, just how much is any girl worth? I suppose that question will never really be answered. And what does it matter, anyway?

Wrote an Ephesian postcard to Jennie, and then down to breakfast, after which Dad up to get the remaining barang and to pay the bill, and I down to the car to check everything there—boy, are we in need of a tuneup—and tidied up the back seat while Dad packed the boot. Then round the corner to a bookshop, where I showed Dad a rather interesting map of Europe which, however, he declined to buy. Then bought a German technical magazine, ,,Hobby”, and off in the direction of the North, Dad driving first. Reading the magazine—I have never before seen a completely general technical magazine, and this was rather a revelation. Even if they are general about it, there is no doubt but that they are thorough—a complete description of the mirror mechanism of the Contaflex [camera]—(or was it the Contarex?), which I must sometime study in detail. Also details of hotting up BMWs, and a comparative test report on the [Ford] Taunus 17M and the Fiat 124.

Then my turn at the wheel—she is really complaining now about delivering any power, and rather a nuisance to accelerate, especially going round corners, and the thing was jerking away there like nobody's business.

Eventually arrived at the port for the Dardanelles, not far from Troy, and discovered that we had a 70 minute wait until the ferry next left, but that there was a motor boat service for 15 TL, and that this would leave at a few minutes' notice, and so we opted for this, and pretty quickly across the Dardanelles, and arrived in Europe, and up to Gallipoli [Gelibolu] to look for some food, only to discover that no Australians were allowed into the town, despite the welcome sign,

Gallipoli was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, in which thousands of Australians died. The anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, 25 April, is a public holiday in Australia.

and also en passant, that Robert F. Herbert, my grandfather, fought there and came back to tell the tale.

Many years later, my cousin Mark Doyle, who changed his name to Louis Nowra, made this part of the basis of his pseudo-biography The Twelfth of Never.

On, and eventually, at some grotty little town, found some bread, though nothing else, and so bought some of that, and fed it to Dad with dates which look quite putrid by now, and tried it myself with cheese before deciding that it tasted better without.

On to some other little town, which was also a main road junction, and bought some cherries, and on to Istanbul, the car jumping all over the place, and nearly got passed by a VW Variant (though I was still hitting 90 [mph, 145 km/h]) and in Istanbul booked into the Piyer Loti Hotel, because it was the only place we could find on the Diners' card, and had makan there, then quickly to bed.


Wednesday, 31 May 1967 Istanbul
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last day

Dad has a wonderful knack at waking up at about 0700 hrs, no matter what the events of the night before, or what the local time. No doubt it would come in useful at times, but right now it is one hell of a nuisance always being woken up so early.

In any case, there was a fair amount of work outstanding, so first tried to contact the Citroën service station (there was actually a place listed as such (in Turkish) in the book, No. 484242 for future reference), but the did not apparently open until 0900, and so over to look for the YMCA, which was supposedly near Santa Sofia, which is apparently a museum, which seems a bit of a come down for a place with a history like that. Eventually, after walking round the grotty environs of the blue mosque, found the YMCA—no letters from Mum—and then off to get the car, which we finally persuaded to start, and off to do our best to find the Citroën place, and this we managed without too much difficulty, and were told that they could not change the steering arms today, but that a tune up would take about an hour, and so I waited around while they did it, and until Dad came back with some money, and got them to do some other minor jobs as well. Then off to another place, where they offered to give us a new exhaust pipe in an hour for £85, which was not bad, seeing as though it cost $80 in KL.

The underside of the Citroën D models was completely flat, and the exhaust pipe was suspended, almost completely unprotected, below. By the time we got to Istanbul, it had been completely flattened from multiple groundings. I suspect that this was the main reason for the poor performance.

Left the car there, and caught a taxi to the British Consulate, which was not too far away, and there awaited 2 letters for me from Jennie, as soon as I could prove to the bloke (who hailed from Portsmouth) that they were addressed to G. F. LeHey, not G. F. Lettey. Dear old Jennie—I am nearly crazy about that girl. Popped into a restaurant, I to read the letters, Dad to have lunch, and had an expensive and totally unappetising lunch while I read what she had to say. The letters could not have arrived before this morning—postmarked 27/V/1967.

Off back to the exhaust pipe shop, where the car was ready, paid them, and got some free maintenance further down the street, and then off to see the Bosporus, which Dad has always wanted to see, so risked all sorts of dangers in order to get there, and see nothing, while I also tested out the new feel of the car. I had almost forgotten what heavy acceleration was like. I can't help feeling, though, what Jennie said about being terrified by this tart who cornered on the wrong side of the road. I wonder how my driving would suit her. Dad was not very impressed with the Bosporus, and so back, parked the car by the hotel (where there are also 2 other Citroën D types next to ours) and off to see inside Santa Sofia, which is not really much to see, and then back to the hotel, wheer I wrote to Jennie, and Dad slept. Off to the YMCA, but still no mail for Dad, and so back. In the evening, out to find some minyak and then to have something to eat at a highly recommendable area where the food is both cheap and good.


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