DOPEY TONGA DRIVERS AND HASH-FILLED HOSTELS – AGRA, 1976

[The final stage of a very long and exciting day – the day I saw two Indian gems: Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal.  Judging by the number of exclamation marks in my diary entry, I was returning to the tourist hostel in Agra still intoxicated with the sight of the Taj Mahal by moonlight.  Then it was back to the hippy trail experience of coffee, chips, Stevie Wonder at half speed and hash filled dormitories.]

THURSDAY 9TH DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Five 

“4 of us began to walk home – waylaid by tonga drivers.  Little old man in white turban and blanket cornered us.  In we got (me, Jan, Adrian and Sally).  We sat in front – something soft below feet – think (at least it smelt like!) muck and straw!  He couldn’t get horse to move at first – others [drivers] laughing at him.  Then off it went.  Kept kicking its rump up at us and heading off the road – bloke had no control!  Anyway he was nearly asleep he was so doped up with hash!

Headed for every vehicle in sight!  Thought we’d had it when roads converged and a car came in opposite direction and we were on wrong side – luckily car shot around us!  We decided to pay him off at a big hotel – didn’t think he’d negotiate the corner to our place!  He tried to drive in the gates of this posh hotel on his rickety tonga!

At hostel we all piled in and had coffee and chips.  Attendants tried to give disco effect by switching different lights on now and then!  (records were grinding round on turntable – Stevie Wonder’s voice had dropped  few octaves!)

Tried to find a place to sleep – me and Jan were shown up onto roof – room with no glass in windows!  Or the other choice was a room next door with a couple of others, but couldn’t breathe the air was so thick with hash etc!

Fortunately they opened up another room below and we dossed down on these beds (like hammocks stretched across frames).  People kept popping in and shoving more foamies in.”

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