DRIPPING MEAT DOWN THE KHYBER PASS, 1976

FRIDAY 26TH NOVEMBER, 1976

Woke to find selves sleeping on a thoroughfare!  People almost walking over us – very curious standers-by watched us – difficult when came to dressing!  Long wait while Afghans searched bus, roof, boot – opened some cases – found bottle of whisky in each one!

On Pakistani side were hassled by money changers.  Very dirty border village; big wicker benches (like hammocks) outside cay shops.  Neva and me had dry cake thing – one of those eating days.

Exciting drive through Khyber Pass – not officially allowed to take photos, so had to balance at windows without truck behind seeing us – probably only get a blur!  Very barren, rocky mountainsides with dusty houses perched on slopes and in valley.  Winding road, very narrow pass at one point; quite easily be ambush or battleground areas!  Lots of pack ponies around, looked after by fierce little boys.

Stopped at village in middle of pass (highest point of pass – Landi Kotal).  Very dirty with rather tall buildings – looked unusual.  Fascinating bazaar set down almost under cover and very narrow.  Great hunks of dripping meat, knives sellers, deep open drains, dead rat, hashish peddlars, men with guns slung over their shoulders – Pathan country!  (Disappointed that haven’t seen very many swaggering Pathans!)

Stopped at Peshawar at a fruit and veg check point.  Man came on bus and slit our fruit from Afghanistan – chucked some away.

Countryside soon levelled out – real surprise and relief to see green trees and semi-green fields again – some of the scenery was really quite english.  Fascinating market towns, throbbing with life and colours again.  Drove late after stop for supper where locals almost fell in the stew they came so close.  (Crossed Indus River by Attock Fort).”

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