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[pct-l] PCT verses HCM trail

In a message dated 10/11/2001 11:12:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
Montedodge@aol.com writes:

> Where were YOU in 72???????

Hehe...  you wouldn't believe it, but I was in Afghanistan!  

Part of the last Vietnam draft, I was unfit for duty, 4F (blind in one eye).  
Who was I to argue?  

Only 19 with the world around me, my first long distance trek would be 
overland to Nepal, a trip taken out of the Whole Earth Catalogue.  Just so 
happened, I landed in Kabul and fell in love with the people and the country. 
 Talk about mountains! Hindu Kush, foothills of the Himalayas.......   They 
took their snow measurements from of a page out of the Sierras.

 <A HREF="http://geoimages.berkeley.edu/GeoImages/Powell/PowellAfghan.html";>Images of Afghanistan in 1976-78</A> 

Of course it was much different then, they had a pro-western King, educated 
in Europe, suave and sophisticated.  I only met kind and generous people.  
For the life of me I can't explain why, but I experienced countless times of 
"trail magic" from some of the poorest people in one of the poorest countries 
on earth.

I went in a used VW camper van and traveled the country and got to see some 
awesome scenery, including the giant statues of Bhudda carved from a mountain 
face in the Bamian valley and the high elevation lakes at Band Amir.  A 
couple places in town had traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for 
foreigners (squab instead of turkey).  My daily budget was a $1.50, which 
included private room, three meals, smokes and even a few luxuries.

Shortly after my nine month stay, the last couple only signing "Mr. Bob" on 
the hotel bills with a promise of money coming from America, the communist 
took over while the King was away.  The last 28 years speak for themselves.  
End of Shangri-La.


PS I forget if I had to pay a fine for my 7 month overdue visa.  : )

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