[Some extra info that I put in a letter home, written in Quetta, about the construction camp in the Iranian desert]

After dark we drove through a range of hills then the bus turned into this encampment of huts – we were expecting the usual cry of ‘tents to the left!’ but the driver disappeared and came back to say we were kipping inside; there was a mess bar with beer and vodka and HOT SHOWERS!  Was this a mirage, a touch of the sun?! …

Some of them [the British construction workers] were quite interesting about the local people – the Baluchis, split now between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, but who want independence (roads at night are chained off to prevent trouble).  Iranians aren’t employed so as not to upset the local economy, so they employ Pakistanis and Baluchis (the last are paid peanuts for a day’s work, whereas some of the British blokes will leave with virtually a million!) …

There’s tension between the [British] engineers and the miners, electricians etc, because the engineers usually boringly withdraw into their rooms while only a few are left to entertain themselves in the mess; only when Swagman arrives do they flock in!  Apparently it’s becoming quite a usual stopping place for Swaggers – the men all tend to pour out their problems to welcome strangers like us.  Geordie John from Blaydon said he’d meet me in the Dun Cow sometime!”


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