[The New Year, 1977, was seen in rushing around in a Buik between posh parties in Delhi and dancing to Abba. But Nikki was ill and all we really wanted to do was go back to Ma Calaco’s doss house and our hash-smoking room-mate – an eccentric but kind Dutchman who caught mice and made us coffee!]
FRIDAY 31ST DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Three
“This party was full of the trendy young of Delhi– all in Western clothes. Abba was playing. Small room for dancing – Nikki and I both dancing with JB Singh. Although it was the house of best friend Chris, he kept saying they only went to such a small party so others wouldn’t say they were too grand to come – some friends! Nobody seemed particularly ecstatic to see them!
Nikki not at all well and nearly asleep. Kept asking them to take us home but wouldn’t listen; said we had to go to another party first. Nikki pleading with them by this time. Stopped at really posh place – big party of about 100 people – but we sat in car while JB went into say hello. Already Pixie telling him to look out for other girls – kept boasting that all the “trendy” people of Delhi were there – all properly invited etc. Imagine if we’d walked into such a place with our jeans on!
Finally agree to take us home to Mrs Calaco’s. JB insisted we’d meet next day at open air garden. Dutchman and weird Yank who’d moved out for us, were in the room – stoned on hash. Dutchman quite amusing and cheerful though strange. Long fair hair and long beard – made us some coffee. Fell into our dirty sleeping bags and slept.”
[The Thamel quarter of Kathmandu had become home and I was already growing nostalgic at the thought of leaving the place. But the group were melting away and it was almost time for Nikki and I to make our way to Delhi to find the elusive return tickets. One more day of cycling the backstreets of the city, mooching around Freak Street, drinking endless milky coffees – and of course a visit to KC’s.
WEDNESDAY 29TH DECEMBER, 1976
“Di up really early – bus at 6.15. Said a sleepy goodbye! Said a second sleepy goodbye to Shirley a little later. Morning – breakfast with Heidi at Shangri la – talked of education and interpreters! Hired bicycles with Chris and Nikki and went to Yeti Travels – tickets to Delhi confirmed! Signed away most of travellers’ cheques! Gave us sweet tea. Chris’s money come through too, so he treated us to coffee at the Ra Ra Restaurant!
Back on bikes – really good fun. Lunch at Kathmandu Guest House with Heidi – had savoury pancake rolls. Later set off on bikes again down narrow lanes – hair-raising ride avoiding cows, people, vehicles, gutters, porters with swinging poles of earth, dogs and babies! No one gets out of the way – though we soon got the idea of ringing bells continuously! No wonder Nepalese are addicted to bells and horns!
Went to Aunt Jane’s (parallel with Freak Street) for their lunch. Very small restaurant upstairs – very famous – perhaps first of the ‘trendy’ places to go. In Freak Street plagued as usual by boys with Tibetan books and people offering hash.
On way to Yeti Travels again, nearly got knocked over at roundabout – one of many near collisions! Great fun though.
Had coffee and apple crumble at KC’s for last time – sob! sob!After dark spent last of rupies on little presents eg Nepalese hats – shops are lovely at this time because still bustling with sounds and life and welcoming lights. Know this narrow crossroads so well – on first night the bus got stuck there – quite nostalgic about leaving.”