Quetta, New Years day walk, Chiltan Hill, – Bob’s story. Ah, yes, as I was saying, our New Year’s day walk. This involved getting a bus out along Brewery (pronounced Biroori) Rd for perhaps 5 miles or so, 1½ Rupees in a bus we unexpectedly found was divided by a curtain hung across the middle, one end for women, one for men.
This, I think is done principally to ‘protect’ women, since Islamic ideals don’t always seem to be too high when it comes to harassment, visual or tangible.
It did pose a bit of a problem as to how we would both know when to get off ! The last stop – easiest solution, and the foot of Chiltan Hill for a view point of the town. On the way, a Tibetan-looking bloke sat near me, turned round and asked me “вы понимаешъ Русский Язык ?” (Vi ponimaesh russki yazik ?), [actually slightly incorrect, using plural ‘you’ where he should have used singular – BC], but asking if I understood Russian.
I did, to an extent, but thought twice, rapidly, before replying (in English), that I was English. I don’t think it’s such a good idea to let people know things like that around here, and it might be difficult to explain how and why I understand some of it. [In retrospect, being thought a Russian at that time with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan may have ‘allowed’ my inquisitor to stick a knife in my neck BC]
When we got off, we started to walk up quite a big hill with a road zigzagging up, but quickly found ourselves getting out of breath and chest pains (slight), presumably this because of the altitude, but I dunno, it’s only about 6000ft at the top of Chiltan Hill.
We got up there and had some nice toots and pictures of the snowy peaks over the valley. Basked in quite warm sunshine, out of the wind – I say ‘basked’, we actually had quite a lot of clothes on, but it was a bit sunny. A nice time.