PATNA: RETURN TO INDIA – chilled beer and rickshaws but no Rolling Stones, 1976

[After the emotional farewell to Nepal, Nikki and I flew to Patna en route to Delhi.  A chilled beer, a rickshaw ride and pleasant people in Patna lulled us into a false sense of holiday.  We laughed at a mad American searching for the Rolling Stones and a cautionary tale that Swaggies had been left stranded in Delhi without tickets home …]

THURSDAY 30TH DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Two

“Soon left the hills and below was the Plain of India.  Air hostess in sari said, ‘Namaste’ as we boarded.  Given nice snack and free Carlsberg beer! (chilled!)
Landed at Patna.  Met up with driver of Encounter Overland – cheerful hot-tempered Aussie.
Nice middle-aged Indian man – well travelled, amusing and very polite treated us to coffee then put us on a rickshaw and told the driver to give us a tour of Patna and drop us off for lunch then back for next flight.

Lovely day – felt on holiday as jogged through wide streets lined with trees and attractive bungalowsStrange to be in India with no Swaggy bus in sight!  Familiar sights of men in loincloths; millions of bicycles and rickshaws pouring across traffic lights and mad drivers again.

Stopped and talked to funny American guy who’d missed the plane to Kathmandu because they had lost his luggage.  He asked our driver if the Stones were playing tonight in Patna!  He couldn’t bear the idea of New Year in such a place! 

Went to bank then dropped at incredibly posh hotel – had a coffee!  Man was complaining behind me because he got cabbage and not carrots, just the limit because this morning he got orange instead of tomato juice!  What a fuss!

Back to airport – plane to leave at 2.55 – didn’t leave until 4.30!  Talked with Encounter guy – he’d heard of Greyhound [Asian Greyhound] people having no tickets waiting at Delhi post restante!  Airport stood us sweet tea and gritty butties!

Air India flew us out – Indian music, bigger plane, hostesses in saris.  Gave revolting mango juice.  Landed at Lucknow then off again to Delhi.  Tiny snack and coffee.”

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