[We stayed an extra day in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan – Pakistan’s biggest province. In a letter home, written in Quetta though not posted until Rawalpindi a week later, I give it the thumbs up. “We reached Quetta yesterday – fantastic place – funny mixture of Eastern and old-fashioned British …”
I remember feeling that the town was strangely familiar – after the kebabs and flat breads and Persian script of Iran, Quetta had omlettes and milky tea and English spoken in the shops and cafes. After the desert dust, it buzzed with life and colour and commerce and noise. I had a curious sense of homecoming. This was on the fringe of the old British India where my grandparents had lived and worked – my grandfather was employed by the Indian Forestry Service – and where my mother had spent her childhood. I was drawing nearer to all that. And shopping for hippy gear in the bazaars – that was my kind of shopping!]
” Lie in !!! (10 o’clock). Had leisurely breakfast at Metropole after taking 1 and half hours to get up. Lovely omlette and chips. Had mad time in clothes shop looking at embroidered waistcoats and tops – in one shop about 6 of us had half the stock out to try on – turned shop upside down – I bought a gold velvet dress!
Saw a lot of men praying in lines outside mosque in bazaar, between 12 and 1. Lot of stalls close down then.
Wandered through cloth market.
Tonight went to Liberty Cafe for meal (I only had tea and pud) Others had curry.
The Pakistanis from last night came in again – apologised for any offence. Tried to get involved again but we left (Dr gave Sally prescription for voice though). Waiter rushed out after us, very flustered, trying to tell us that they were bad men!
Hurried home past armed guards!
Adrian had tried to get some hash – had nearly asked 2 men who turned out to be plain clothes policemen! When he finally got some, no one was interested in smoking it!”
[Quetta features in my mystery novel of the hippy trail, OVERLANDERS – it plays a pivotal role]