November 11, 1961 – Kashmir

Floating Houseboats, Srinagar, Kashmir – Clear

     It was so cold this morning I really didn’t want to get up.  Yesterday and today there was a frost on the windows and it made me snuggle down in my blankets to wait for the stove to warm the room up.  I was sorry that we had to get up early to leave this lovely place and return to New Delhi again.

       Breakfast was good but melancholic because we knew it would be our last meal in our homey little houseboat.  This time instead of eating in the dining room we all huddled around the fire in the living room since it was warmer there.  After breakfast some vendors stopped by to sell us things again and since we had some time all of us looked over their wares one more time.  I found three more scarves I liked so I splurged and bought them.  I decided to keep one to use on the remainder of my trip and the other two I got ready to send home.

      Leaving our houseboat was harder than when we’d left our hotels because we’d gotten more personal with Gulum and the two boys who had taken care of our needs these last few days.  We exchanged farewells and I gave Gulum my address.  I asked him to stay in touch and I hoped he would.  I had come to respect and like this 28year old young man and hoped his future turned out to be a good one.

      As our car pulled away from the houseboat for our trip to the airport I took one last look back and hoped that I would be able to come back some day.  This had been the high point of my trip so far.

     We enplaned at 2pm and started our flight back to New Delhi.  Once again we flew over the Himalayan range and the view was just as spectacular as before.  Our flight took us over the Gobindsagar Lake and Bhakra Dam and even looking down from the plane’s window I could tell the countryside looked beautiful.

Bhakra Dam at Gobindsagar Lake, 764 Altitude

     Once we reached the airport in New Delhi we had the usual delays getting our luggage and waiting for our transportation to go to our hotel.  By the time we arrived at the Ashoka Hotel again at 4:30pm I was tired.  I was glad when we got to our room and found out it was very nice and that we had a little better view than last time.  Since our stay here was just going to be over night I only took out what I was essential for tonight and tomorrow.  I didn’t want to have to repack a lot in the morning before we left on our trip to Agra.

    Dinner was good but nothing really special.  Edith and I both missed Feelamnabi, Gulum and the other boy who had taken care of us back in Srinagar along with our meals, however, we ate it anyway.  After dinner I returned to our room while Edith went to the beauty parlour to get her hair done.

     When we checked in I had been disappointed to find no letters waiting for me.  Nevertheless, I decided to finally finish the letter I’d started to Ramona and start one to Bob so I could mail them out.  I pulled out my letter to Ramona and found it looked like it had been moved but decided not to worry about it because I was too tired:

     Later Nov 11, 1961.  Well we couldn’t mail out of Kashmir so will add to this.  I bought two Cashmere scarves here and I’m sending them home.  If I don’t get all this stuff I’ll be disappointed. 

     Well I got in a bridge game off and on while we were in Srinagar and now we are back in New Delhi.  Our room is right over the swimming pool and I could jump in from the window.  We had a nice trip down and when we flew over the Himalayas I took some pictures, also of Gobindsagar Lake and Bhakra Dam – 764 feet height and built by the man who built the Grand Coolie Dam. 

     We will go to see Taj Majal tomorrow, stay all nite and then come back here and the next day go onto Madras.  Tomorrow will be a dirty dusty trip. 

     I can tell you now that Edith fell in Bali and broke her wrist.  She has had it in a cast ever since but next week (by the time you get this) the cast will be off, we hope.  She took it very well and has kept going as well or better than most of us for the most part. 

     You notice I’m beginning to conserve the paper, well postage is high.  If you want to know what the pictures are look on the itinerary that will give you an idea.  However now I am writing on the box so tell the camera man to keep the boxes with the right film – if possible. 

     Edith is in the beauty parlour right now getting her hair done.  Their charges are the same as at home, from $3 to $4 each. 

     Did Janice have a nice Birthday?  I hope so.  Oh what’s the matter with me; it is Penny in Nov and Janice in Dec.  Well she will probably have the red dress material by then. 

     Have you written to Peggy Aw?  I am going to write and ask her to get something in Hong Kong and you might have to send her a check.  I will tell her to write me and tell me how much it will be.  Open her letter and then send her a money order for it.  I think it will be under $10.  My coat is lovely but I had them make the sleeves short.  Now I find I would rather they were longer so I’m asking Peggy to see if she can get me about 9 inches more of the material. 

    Well dear I can’t think of another thing to say except we are having a good time.  Sometimes I get a little weary of the whole thing and wish I was back in front of my TV set but I’m glad I’ve seen these things.  I will give me appreciation of what we have and lots to be thankful for.  Love to you all.  Mother

P.S. Is Anna with you?  Give her my best and the letter is for her also.

     I felt good finally finishing the letter to Ramona so I started one to Bob and his family:

Nov 11, 1961- New Delhi, India

Dear Pat and Bob, Penny, Patrick, Liz Ann and Sammy;

    This is a picture of our hotel here and we have a lovely room.  You are not getting so many letters now but as we are in the places we can’t mail anything anyway (good grammar?). 

     We just came from Kashmir.  We stayed on houseboats there.  They were very comfortable and surprisingly we could eat the food in fact it was very good.  We had a nice boy and as it was very cold up there (we had a little tin stove in each room).  Gulami kept the fire going, also put hot water bottles in our beds every night.  Five of us stayed in the one houseboat – 3 bedrooms, a small kitchen, dining room and living room. 

     The merchants brought their wares to the house boat and I bought a couple of scarves and had them sent home.  I sure hope all this stuff gets home – if not – I’ve spent a lot of money for nothing.  Edith is broke and I have enough to get us both to Italy where I hope some money will be waiting for us.  I’ve hollered to Ramona for help.  I guess you kids are going to have to support me for the next couple of years but I’ll have had my fling. 

     At Kashmir we went to see some lakes, rivers, parks and the Shalimar, as it says on the itinerary.  Tomorrow we drive to the Taj Mahal – stay all nite and come back here again. 

     I have received  only one letter from you and one from Penny.  Are you mailing on time?  You have to be a little ahead of the date as the mail is very uncertain here and if I don’t get it – it is not forwarded.  I wrote to Madhu but haven’t heard from him so will wait and see if he gets in touch – that is all I can do.  I gave him all the dates I had in India also the hotels, etc. 

     I haven’t seen any earrings for you Pat but the trip isn’t over and I keep looking.  Open up the package from Hong Kong.  The jacket in blue and white is yours and I do hope you like it. It is reversible and you can wear it for evening.  The wooden box, don’t open.  Bob I hope your clothes fit.  We couldn’t figure out your 25 inches for sleeve length as ray was 26 inches so if they are too long may be a tailor can fix.  I just pray you get them.  

Love Mother

     After finishing Bob’s letter I was tired.  I sealed it up in an envelope and put it with Ramona’s letter to mail in the morning.  Edith had finally returned to our room and I noticed she watched me as I sealed up Bob’s letter.  Both of us decided to go to bed since tomorrow we expected it to be a rather rough day of traveling.


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