Pilgrimage to india: 1976

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Sunday 12th December

Woke-up cold and fearing the journey ahead, the cold and the roads. Did the Guru Gita and took heart. Just read myself through the hours of travel and repeated the mantra to fight my way through the bouts of fear. Moments of hating the thought of going back and facing the Barby and Jade stuff and moments of unbearable impatience to get to he end of the journey. Arriving at Delhi quickly changed trains and made for Amritsar. Fortunately met a guy who shared his dope and his blanket with me. HURRYING ON TO AMRITSAR.


Monday 13th December

Staggering off the train immediately bumped into a guy who seemed to have pretty much the same plan as me, to get to England as quickly as possible. Bill. Overjoyed at the prospect of company. Sudden seemed a possibility that I might not freeze to death or crash in Turkey. Then lost him at the border at Amritsar when he was sent back. I collected my confiscated money by cycling in the sunshine to a different checkpoint. Into Pakistan and Lahore, then a 3rd class ticket to Pershawer. Spirits fell in Lahore, especially when I lost my Baba ring. Was trying really hard to collect myself but praying for company so delighted to remeet Bill and a South African gut called Amir. My third successive night on the train was a bit of an ordeal but survived it well 5 a.m. did the Guru Gita but meditation seems impossible and the mantra slips away in conversation and tiredness. THE WORST TRAIN OF THEM ALL.

Tuesday 14th December

In Pershaver. Amazingly French Christine still here. Tried to get ticket to keep going, couldn’t. Got stoned. Listen to fabulous Hendrix song, ‘may this be love’. RAINBOW GUEST HOUSE

Wednesday 15th December

Spent day sorting out visa and bus. A DAY IN PERSHAWER.


Thursday 16th December

Spent a beautiful day crossing the Khyber Pass. Amazing scenery, very smooth drive. Now in Kabul, stuffing myself with food and getting very very stoned. Meditated, body moving in kriyas, laughing a lot as I think of Baba. Maybe leave early in the morning to Herat. Have got a cold. BABA IN KABUL.


Friday 17th December

Up at 4 but couldn’t find bus. Now back in hotel, waiting for a joint, trying to put troubles aside. Might as well enjoy this road even if it is the wrong one. – Got very stoned the rest of the day. The Afghanis constantly praise Afghanistan and I don’t blame them because it is looking very beautiful today. Got too stoned. Did nothing but eat and then sleep. Then got stoned again, really cosmic and full of meditation movement, then ate again and slept again. Rearranged tickets for tomorrow. IN KABUL DOING KABUL THINGS.

Saturday 18th December

Up at 2.30 for bus at 5. Smart comfortable bus. Left on time, drove 20 mins out of Kabul, stopped, threw us out and made us wait 2 hours for a dirty old farting bus with rock hard seats. Beautiful journey though, truckng through the snow. Did the Guru Gita twice: during the 2nd rendition our bus hit another one and a lump of glass flashed past my bended head and hit the guy behind me, embedding itself in his head. The Afghanis wrapped his turban more thoroughly around his head and carried on with the blood colouring the makeshift bandaging. – Sometimes the cold is beautiful, sometimes it is cold. Time passes and I begin my birthday on a cold bus.

A BUS ACCIDENT DURING THE GURU GITA.

Sunday 19th December

Arrived Heart 6 am, Got bus that crawled to border at 8. Is very very cold here. Just treated myself to a birthday lunch – rice! Felt tired and a bit depressed during rest of day. Now back in Meshad, same hotel as before. Is very cold. HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY DOMINIC


Monday 20th December

The early morning news is that I’m stuck again. After a great night’s sleep went in to Meshad to look for a bus. Can’t find one that leaves before 3p.m. tomorrow and that’s an express costing 500 rials. My head is spaced out by the cold and my stomach is still bad. Find it hard to put this journey aside and focus on meditation but I’m trying. –Is now mid-afternoon and the sun is going down. Am sat in a very hot hotel room with 2 english guys on their way to Afghanistan. The money is disappearing fast but the rest is good and the warmth amazing. Went for a little walk and felt quite happy though with little enthusiasm for travel. Felt ok in Meshad today. When you’re free and relaxed the people are bearable. Too hot in the room to sleep! HOTLY IN THE HOTEL ROOM AT MESHAD.

Tuesday December 21st

Had a strange dream last night. It was my birthday and to my amazement Baba had come to the party. I was so moved that I hugged him and held him and tried to take refuge with him. Then he took down my trousers and sucked my dick in front of everyone. I didn’t care and I took it to mean that all of me was cleansed. Then Baba took me off to a line of girls to have sex with but even in the dream I knew this was a bit over the top and I woke up! –had a nice meditate full of strange yogic movements. Then washed my clothes and my hair and put iodine on my infected foot. Went for a walk and got offered a job selling carpets to the tourists. Felt very tempted but I’d already bought a bus-ticket. Bus left at 3, warm and comfortable. DOMINIC THE PERSIAN CARPET SALESMAN/

Wednesday December 22nd

Arrive in Tehran and it is full of snow, beautiful but cold snow, Decided to get a bus to Erzerum but it doesn’t leave until tomorrow so then changed my plan to get a different, more expensive, bus all the way to Istanbul leaving tonight. Went to the bank where I met an Iranian who offered me 70 dollars to go to Erzerum and back with him in order to smuggle in his car on my passport. It means an extra 1500 miles and two more trips across Tahir Mountain. I agreed because I thought that was the right thing to do. Certainly it will help finance the rest of the journey home and only delay me a week or so. CHANGE OF PLOT IN TEHERAN


Thursday December 23rd

Nothing much. Caught bus at 6 with possibility of not having to go to Erzerum. Sent letter and christmas card to Jade. Spent most of day on bus with Eddie, feeling groggy and with my temperature rising. NOTHING BUT CATCHING A BUS WITH EDDIE.


Friday December 24th

Slept briefly on bus and dreamt I was in a minibus with people trying to prove the harmlessness of snakes & leopards. I felt the snake encircle my neck and thought it was strangling me. Got to Erzerum. It is snowing. Thick snow, a white christmas. The room Eddie has chosen is neat but not very warm. Being here realize how cacophonic Tehran was. Wouldn’t have been a good place to work. A WHITE CHRISTMAS EVE IN ERZERUM.

Saturday December 25th

Fortunately delayed until Monday. Eddie is impatient, I’m ill. Feverish. Eddie wants to move to a cheaper hotel but I won’t let him. Ate a lot because it is christmas. In the evening met a swedish guy and we chatted for a while in the café as we watched the snow falling. At one point the bus driver came in and appeared to die. I was told it was just the effect of strong alcohol. The swede thinks I may have tonsillitis or mumps. CHRISTMAS.

Sunday December 26th

With the fever come intense dreams, one of my schooldays remembered with perfect clarity, a second in which I suddenly saw that my parents and brother and sisters were actually nice open people and I was the one at fault. Sweating profusely. Only got up to drink some milk. This is my usual fever, the fourth of the year. Remained ill all day, sometimes shivering so much with cold that I couldn’t breathe then at other times soaking the bed with my sweat. Baba give me strength. FEVER


Monday 27th December

Woke up feeling better. 10 am now, head hurting but bearable. –Eddie fixed us a lift with other freaks doing the same trip. Treated to a beautiful ride in the mountains, like the artic with a deep blue sky, rivers and frozen lakes, even an eagle. After a cold border crossing we drove a little further and then tried to sleep in the car. I can’t sleep, suddenly full of peace and joy as if I’d reached home. A MAGICAL JOURNEY IN THE SNOW


Tuesday 28th December

More or less recovered from being ill. Spent most of the day speeding through awesome countryside in a BMW. SPEEDING THROUGH THE SNOW


Wednesday 29th December

Eddie comes at 1 to take me for a meal. Rice & meat of course. Nothing else happens. Hang out in Teheran. DOING VERY LITTLE


Thursday 30th December

WAITING FOR EDDIE TO PHONE


Friday 31st December

STILL WAITING FOR EDDIE and getting a bit pissed off.

Saturday 1st Jan 1977

Not a good start to the year which is a Moslem day of mourning. Beginning to suspect I’ve been ripped off. Where’s my money Eddie? Where’s my passport? Where’s Eddie? WHERE’S MY PASSPORT?

Sunday 2nd January

Not looking good. WORRYING ABOUT EDDIE


Monday 3rd January

Was on my way to the police when I found Eddie in a café. He promised that everything would get sorted tomorrow and I’d be on my way again. In the evening got stoned, talked a lot, realized a lot and then went to sleep. Was offered work again and tempted to stay. What is the right thing to do? BABA FINDS EDDIE


Tuesday 4th January

Concluded business as, with some reluctance, Eddie paid. Seems Istanbul bus has been delayed until tomorrow so maybe it is local Turkish buses for me.

CONCLUDING BUSINESS
Wednesday 5th January

Got ticket to Erzerum but bus cancelled because of the snow. SNOW STOPS BUS


Thursday 6th January

Bought a ticket to Istanbul. Bunch of freaks on the bus. Snow is very thick so we don’t go far at all. A LOT OF SNOW


Friday 7th January

Use vallium to sleep. Coach still barely moved as we remained stuck in an ice cold snow blizzard. BLIZZARD.


Saturday 8th January

Bus gets moving and we cross the border back into Turkey. BACK TO TURKEY

Sunday 9th January

My throat infection erupts again; don’t know the cause. Shivering and with feverish dreams. Mary dispenses pills. For the 2nd day in row fail to do the Guru Gita. As we arrive in Istanbul my fever lifts a little. Saw a bus going to Amsterdam tomorrow. Think I may get it even though it is more expensive than it ought to be. As we got off the bus our little group told each other how much we had enjoyed the journey and company. SUDDENLY ISTANBUL.

Monday 10th January

10 a.m. now, bus goes at 6p.m. Ticket to Amsterdam is 49 dollars. My throat is bad but the fever not so intense. Arrived at bus station to discover bus non-existent. Squabbled with Turks who only gave some of the money back. Got a bus to the Bulgarian border which crawled along and then stopped for 7 hours. AND OUT OF TURKEY.


Tuesday 11th January

Bus is a farce. Run by a Turkish slob with no idea of us being customers. Am very tired. Didn’t sleep because coughing too much. The bus driver won’t give us our change in Bulgarian money and takes us for an unwanted posh communist lunch instead. –Still no sleep as we enter Yugoslavia and are held up by the seemingly inevitable car accidents. Just surviving though at moments quite high, especially in the communist countries, in Sofia particularly which reminded me of my teenage Russian revolutionary fantasies. A HARD DAY ON THE MUNICH BOUND BUS.


Wednesday 12th January

Writing this at the end of the trip and having trouble recalling much of this bus journey which passed in a haze. Had a dog sniff all over me at the Yugoslav border and the Germans took us to a cold customs shed where they opened and went through everything. The vibe got quite heavy when the Turks got drunk, heavy and aggressive and we tired, bemused and doubting we’d ever get to Munich. Anyway we did and I’m now checking out buses to England. As I slept on a bench in the railway station waiting room I left my body and started floating around. Outside my body I dance to the sound of bees in my ears. When I came to I was in a better mood. ASTRAL DANCING IN MUNICH.

Thursday 13th January

Day begins at 5. At 8 told there are no buses to London. Reckon I have just about enough money to get to Ostend if I don’t eat. I’m going to ask an Australian guy whether he could lend me £10 to get me to London. –Turns out he couldn’t. I suppose I could hitch but it is very cold and I’m not feeling so strong. –Have got a train, to Aachen and I’ll hitch from there through Belgium. Then I’ll have just enough to get across the channel. –Train rides proves to be very smooth and quiet in the company of three middle-aged Germans, one of whom feeds me cough sweets. Slept solidly for 6 hours. ASLEEP ON THE TRAIN.

Friday 14th January

Awoke at 4.30 am. A lady gave me bananas and orange juice for breakfast. 5.30 Arrive in Aachen which is wet rather than cold and approach a guy to ask where the autobahn is. He puts me in his car and takes me to the border. Almost immediately get a very fast lift to Brussels from a guy who gives me his sandwiches and 200 Belgian francs. Walked through Brussels and then had a succession of lifts which ended in a small village where an intensely cold wind blew. Was beginning to freeze when I had my final lift, to Ostend, and received my final gift, another 200 Belgian francs. Magic! Now in Ostend and I’ve spent every last franc on a train to London. The weather is bad so the ferry may not run. –It did run. Even though the sea was choppy, I slept. Now in London. The English people look as strange and as antiquated as the Indians did. Will meet my father in a couple of hours and drive back to reading. The journey is over. Om Namah Shivaya. THE MAGICAL LAST DAY.






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