Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Islamabad to Quetta -1985
The years like waves lapping on a beach have washed away most of the details from this leg of the journey. If I search through my mind long enough I discover vague recollections. We drove through roads which were actually not to be traveled. They were considered unsafe. The setting of the sun signaled the time to find a place to camp out. In the desert there was not much choice, we simply drove off the main road far into the sand. One morning we woke up to a man on a camel- or was it a bicycle?- somehow being on a camel would make it more 'romantic' I think- but the more I think of it- he was on a bicycle. He was pawing through our belongings. We quickly made tea- offered him some- and with some courteous sign language shoved our utensils in the car and crammed ourselves in after them. Off the wee 1958 Morris Minor trundled back to the road leading to Quetta.
As for directions, there was many a time we had no idea where we were going. At these interesting intervals, we stopped and gestured to whoever might be passing by and yelled out "Quetta? Tehran?" for we wanted to be going in this general direction. No one seemed in the least flustered by our yells, they simply pointed in the direction we needed to go.
We lost some of our belongings on the way. They weren't stolen, they were simply 'left behind' at each of our campsites. We would forget to pack them and only when we were hours away did we realize they were left behind. Of course this caused several minutes of "Its your fault" "No you were in charge of the..." type of conversations. Those didn't last long, because it becomes tiresome in a tiny car to be carrying on about things which can't be helped.
Jumbled memories now come washing up on the beaches of my mind. I fear some of them are actually from my time in Turkey, so I won't touch on those now. It is at such times I wish the journal with the details of the trip was not burnt in the fire. Ah, but it was, so now I must rely on my memory, although a poor help it is!
The night before reaching Quetta, we camped in the middle of a desert. In the middle of the night, I crept out of the tent to gaze at the stars. The desert stars sparkled, shimmered, and glistened. There were no city lights to dim their beauty. The stars looked like precious diamonds strewn across black velvet. There I stood, so small, so insignificant in comparison to the natural wonder. God knew how many stars there were and he knew the number of the hairs on my head....and He knew me!! Yet, in knowing this and being overwhelmed by this truth, I still preceded to want to control my life and make my own decisions.
The next morning we arrived in Quetta. A lovely city inhabited by friendly people. Although there was still the phenomenon of seeing mainly males walking about, they were not threatening. We checked into a travelers' hotel, and I set out to find some oranges at the nearby market. I, a lone female, walked to the market where I found a stall with lovely fruits to choose from. The stall keeper was generous and added an extra couple of fruits to my basket.