My nephew is doing a semester in India, and we received his first long missive about his adventures this week. I couldn’t help rehashing (find the pun) my own trip overland June to November 1969, from Copenhagen to Katmandu and back again, for the most part pregnant with my son until I birthed him in Kabul that November. My memory of the India portion of the trip seems spectacularly intact, despite my departing memory of more recent events. I didn’t want to lose the paragraph I sent him--a story possibly entirely shocking and new to him–and so I’m preserving it here, as my Sunday note.
My trek through India in 1969 crossed into the country overland from Pakistan, through New Dehli, into the Kashmir valley (we spent a week on a houseboat on the Dal Lake that was totally amazing) a side trip to the Taj Mahal, and then straight on through to Napal. We were in Dehli for more than a week, waiting for a part for the car we were traveling in– an old Mercedes Benz that Phil–they guy with the money–had bought in Bremen Germany. Often we slept in sleeping bags near the car. One day a man woke us up frantically and pointed to a cobra near by. There were kids begging bakshish on every block, and I had nothing for them. I loved the chapati. Phil was a disabled vet, the crew with him comprised me and Dave (Misha’s dad) a Danish woman named Utte and another army vet, John. We were there in August or September, and Misha was born in November in Kabul. Dave and Phil went in together to buy hashish in Napal (where it was legal at the time) and then had a falling out, so Dave and I got left behind in Katmandu and had to scramble back by train through India and Pakistan. I couldn’t go any further than Afghanistan, so we stopped there for Misha’s birth, stayed about 10 days and then travelled by bus into Russia and back to Europe (Luxenburg) by train. Dave got scared on the train when we had come close to the border guards finding the egg size block of hash that we had stored in a baby powder container, and he threw it out on the train. So we arrived back in Miami without our “nest egg” as broke as when we had left the past June. It was quite a trip, I’ll certainly never be able to do it again, and I’ll never regret it.