June 17, 2020

An exciting time in troubled Kashmir…

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:06 pm by Aleksan

Sad to hear of more troubles on the Lsdakh border, India and China. This beautiful part of the world is plagued with territorial conflict

Back in the 80s Penny and spent a week on a Houseboat in Kashmir. It was owned and run by a lovely Moslem family, who all lived in a small boat next door. But Indian soldiers were everywhere and the situation was tense.

On one occasion our host’s son Rafiq burst in asking if we had seen his father, a bomb had gone of in Srinagar (pronounced Vinegar) and he had been slightly injured, showed bloody graze, and had lost his dad Rahim. Eventually Rahim came back OK. The next day we heard loud shouting and gunfire in the town, when out with Rafiq – we looked scared but Rafiq told us not to worry – Pakistan had just beaten India at Cricket!

Another day a friend of their family took us up into the foothills of the Himalayas, and as we entered a village, wild horsemen and running boys shouted and chased our car. We stopped at the “Bank” everybody crowding round as I went in to change Travellers Cheques. I had my details examined by four different clerks, and finally a man in a cage gave me some money. We jumped in the old Morris and our driver put the accelerator down, chased again for half a mile, we got out into the open.

Our driver left us to have a pic-nic by a beautiful mountain stream for an hour or so, but before leaving asked if we knew the address of Salman Rishdie. I enquired why – to whichh he replied “Because I want to kill him”

We were glad to get back to the Houseboat where we tucked into yet another meal of curried goat. A couple of days later the”balloon went up” guns started firing, and suddenly everyone wanted to get out of Srinagar…we just managed to get into a very old looking jet, after my stick had been confiscated in case it was a secret weapon! Never been more pleased to arrive at the posh Conference a Hotel in Delhi.

We have kept in touch with the family on and off and once Bashir, a younger son, visited us – he was selling Pashmina scarves. He now runs aTravel Company in Delhi, but we have never been back – and as the troubles are even worse, never will – but it was our most exciting and memorable holiday.

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