Tag Archive for '1965'

Algerian Adventure with Nik Douglas.

Nik and I drove by car in North Africa in 1965. First through Morocco meandering leisurely over much of the country.

Nik Douglas

nik douglas

Blithe we were, first cruising from Tangier to the caves of Hercules and south down the Atlantic coast for a few days in Marrakech. We then drifted Northeast across the country up to the Spanish Morocco enclaves of Melilla and Nador on the Mediterranean coast and over the border into Algeria. A large ball of marjoum purchased in Tangier had lifted us some few hundred feet above sea level and put us on course for conversations on the purpose and function of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Egyptian gods, and a discussion on the tomb of Tutankhamen where a great-uncle of Nik had worked with Howard Carter.

Nik expounded on the genetic engineering of man by the Annunaki, (and this is decades before Zecharia Sitchen wrote of the decoded tablets of Ur, the 12th Planet space invaders and gold digger slavery.) We raved awhile on P D Ouspensky, objective art, esoteric magicians, (dropping Alistair Crowley firmly into the category of theatrical bum)) and like this we floated across half of Algeria for a couple of days until arriving in Algiers City late at night. Here we encountered a serious change of vibes, which brought us into a crash landing from our previous high altitude. We drove into the city shortly after a coup d’état had come to a close at sundown.

We had no idea that the coup had taken place while we were swanning along the desert roads. Algiers had machine-gunned and grenade blast pocked buildings, deserted streets, most of them blocked to traffic and a general feeling of frightened confusion amongst the few citizens abroad. The Algerian President, Achmed Ben Bella, national hero, freedom fighter in the war of independence against the French, was already in jail and despite his popularity amongst the majority of the general population, this Coup D’etat was the act of the Algerian military which put in place army general Houari Boumedienne as President and Dictator. Nobody was about to risk his neck to try and get Ben Bella out.

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A Journey to Bamian

Luke Rader There was a time in the East, when travelers could stay at Sikh temples (gurudwaras) up to 3 days. The gurudwara in Kabul had particular problems. It was at the end of the long street of cloth dyers, whose wares were dripping overhead. Your stay there was permanently marked on your clothing, either by the drips or the splashs from the puddles of dye.

Now, early morning, the night watchman was brewing his morning cup of chai. He let me out of the door in the massive oak gate. I had to hurry around the pools of dye to get to the end of the street where there was the bus stop, which would take me to the central terminal. These buses were part of a wonderful electric bus trolley system, that had once been the pride of some East coast city in America. They took me to the terminal, where I had a reservation for a seat in a car going up to Bamian. where I wanted to see the standing Buddhas. It was a long hot dusty bump of a trip with many stops, so it was later in the afternoon when the car stopped on the highway.

I had to walk down from the road to a two story mud wattle hotel with sign on it ‘Government Rest House #5’. Later at dinner, I met the other two occupants of the hotel; one was a Daud princess and the other other an American educator. In the morning,they were going up to the Buddhas for some last minute photos before returning to Kabul and they offered me a lift to the base of the Buddhas. I had to wait until the plane with tourists came in from Kabul before I could go up. It gave me some time to look around. There were mounds of beautiful title shards, which none seemed to fit. Also you noticed in the folds of the unweathered part of the Buddha’s toga, a very deep and vibrant purple. The statue must have been very impressive in it’s days.

Now the group from Kabul was here and we started the climbing into the cliff with a maze of steps, that would take you to a doorway at the back of the Buddha’s huge head. You stepped out onto the head with it wonderful view of the valley. But it gave me vertigo and I had to sit cross-legged, then I laid on my back. This protected area was covered in Buddhist murals with vivid colors.

You marveled at the scenes with their rich colors and how they have lasted so long. The only real damage seemed to be the faces on the murals. they were systematically jabbed out with spears. but the rest had been left intact.

Later, I would walk out to a outcrop of rock in the valley to get a panoramic view of the cliff. which seemed to be honey-combed with chambers and passageways along with the two standing Buddhas. also this outcrop was quite interesting . It was covered with petroglyphs denoting the passage of flocks to pasture. But to me, Bamian was a eerie haunted place with a wind that was like the screams of lost souls.

Leaving Kathmandu spring 1966. Luke Rader wearing the hat.

Later I reached Kathmandu & spent the winter there;  the photo above is four of us leaving Kathmandu in the spring of 1966. I’ve never been back. I’m the one with the hat…

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