Of Hills and Valleys — 8 Comments

  1. Fascinating account. I’m probably still high on the painkillers but they (the Bomborettians) and their village have a distinct adobe/Meso-Americana feel to them. Perhaps a race that came down from Siberia (when others turned right and the Baring Sea)?

    Hear what you say about 35mm. One of my greatest regrets in life , one of the few things I would ask that nice Mr.H.G Wells to ‘correct’ would be my having had a cheap 35mm or even a 110mm (had some of my best snaps with those things) constantly to hand in my late teenage years.

  2. PS you might tell us, for the terminally sad among us, exactly what 35mm camera you had with you?

  3. I agree with your sentiment about having a camera to hand back in the early years. It didn’t seem important at the time, but hindsight, as they say, is 20/20 vision.

    The camera I had back then was a second-hand Petriflex SLR with just the standard lens. It had its foibles, but was a pretty high-end piece of kit as far as I was concerned at the time, only having had Instamatics and the like prior to then.

    My old Olympus OM 35mm SLR is currently languishing in the cupboard gathering dust, waiting for 35mm film cameras to come back into fashion. I just can’t bring myself to chuck it (and the extra lenses) out.

    The problemette I have with SLR cameras is that they are bulky and heavy. I currently have an old Nikon digital SLR (D70? I’d have to check), which is a great camera, but when you have to lug it around with you, it’s a bit of a pain. My favourite camera, which I bought six or seven years ago, is a Nikon Coolpix S6150. It takes brilliant photos, and is small and light enough to put in a shirt top pocket, which is ideal for spontaneous snapping. Has a sophisticated and comprehensive menu (which I rarely use, as I’m a ‘point-and-shoot’ type), and does great videos, too.

  4. At the risk of being nosey, did you find accommodation on your travels or did you sleep under the stars? I’m wondering whether the people in that remote valley were used to having strangers, travellers in their midst?
    The vast majority of humanity must have lived in a similar or greater degree of isolation in the distant past. So it seems to me that their attitude to travellers would have been critical to the development of our civilization.

  5. I love your wonderful travels and pictures, though my legs turned to jelly just reading about the heights! You have had an interesting life. Any old pictures of Teheran ?

  6. …did you find accommodation on your travels or did you sleep under the stars?

    Both, insofar as while I was walking the valley, people would sometimes call out to offer (very basic) accommodation, which on a couple of occasions was just a charpoy under the stars. It was great.

    I certainly wasn’t the first westerner they had seen. I’d guess there had been a steady trickle of the more ‘adventurous’ traveller over a number of years, plus of course local traders who weren’t indigenous. But they were very open and friendly – I never felt any concern for my safety, even when sleeping out in the open. From which I would deduce that the westerners who did make it there prior to my arrival behaved with suitable decorum, thus creating a favourable climate for subsequent visitors.

  7. Ah yes, the heights… My stomach churns slightly when I look at pictures of guys doing crazy stuff on the top of high buildings. I’m really not keen on heights. I had to really grit my teeth at some points when I was travelling to and from the valley. It required a good deal of determination to deal with some of those situations! 🙂

    On that trip out to Afghanistan and Pakistan, I didn’t stop in Tehran (just an overnighter), so I’m afraid I don’t have any pics of there. The other times I’ve passed through and stayed a few days in Tehran, I haven’t had a camera with me.

  8. Good to hear. Helps restore my faith in human nature, which has taken one hell of a battering in recent years.