[It’s New Year’s Day and rather than wander the streets we decide to take refuge in the YMCA in the hope that money will come and we’ll be able to afford it. It comes with “a nice institutional atmosphere” (we must have been feeling low) and comfort food – liver and cabbage Indian style and milk jelly. It’s here that I read Wuthering Heights for the first time and am completely bowled over.]
SATURDAY 1ST JANUARY, 1977
“Decided to move out and spend money on room in YMCA because can’t be long till money comes through. The American said he’d gone to bed at 9.0 last night! Said goodbye and left.
Back to B.A. – no telex from London yet. Went to park and ate our grapefruit and some bananas. Lay in sun – I slept while Nikki wrote to Chris. Avoided open air cafe! Went to YMCA and booked in double room Rs86 – between £5-£6 including breakfast. Nice institutional atmosphere! – i.e. pretty clean, nice lobby, little balcony opposite room overlooking small courtyard with chairs and tables.
Sat and had coffee in lobby – nice American from Mrs Calaco’s came in and chatted with us – he’s thinking of changing rooms because the Dutchman snores so loudly (Nikki says surprised he doesn’t choke himself!) Walked into centre with him. We went to B.A again! No telex. Man gave us tea in back office, talked of his New Year. Insisted on NY kisses and hugs as we left! Why is it that as soon as you talk they presume they can get fresh with you?!
Went and bought more throat lozenges and asprins, then bought “Wuthering Heights” [from second-hand book stall] and went and had coffee and a pattie. On way back met JB Singh – we thought we’d avoided him so well! Authoritatively arranged that we would meet him tomorrow at open air restaurant – though we said we might be flying out. We said too ill and tired to go to his cousin’s party tonight. I had sore throat today too. Finally disengaged ourselves – he thought we were still at Mrs Calaco’s.
Back to hotel at 7.30. Nikki went straight to bed. I went down to restaurant and had lovely Indian dish – basically liver, rice and cabbage – but done up in nice sauces with strange sounding names, together with dahl (quite spicy) and sweet chutney. Then had a milk jelly and coffee. Restaurant was fairly empy and quiet. Went to bed – read Wuthering Heights till just after 9 then slept till 8.45 next morning when knock on the door!”