Flying to Tehran

Letter transcription:

1964-03-04-gry-p-1March 4, 1964

Dear David – As you can see I am using Bangkok stationary. The envelope is from New Delhi. I have learned to carry a supply with me. Our flight out of N. Delhi was scheduled for 5 a.m. – we were just half an hour late which isn’t bad. We are now flying to Tehran – a 4 hr flight – then on to our next stop Beirut. When we were in Djakarta I thought we were prepared for Indiana but not quite. All my reading on Indiana hadn’t quite given me the picture. They have had 17 years of independence and I suppose they have accomplished much in that time but by our standards they have far to go. We tried to buy film and couldn’t get any for our instamatic. We went to several shops in downtown N. Delhi but were told same story everywhere. They just aren’t importing anything that new. I asked one guide how many dams had been built since independence. He said 22. That is a pretty good record for 17 yrs. We were in New Delhi, old Delhi, Agra & Jaipur and conditions were much the same in every place. You couldn’t imagine the dirt and filth unless you see it. There are so many poor people who just eek out an existence. We went by car from Agra to Jaipur and saw how people live in villages. It was so filthy in all the places we passed we wondered what kept people from dying. People and cattle live together and sanitation as we know it is nonexistent there. We saw people using the roadside for toilets – They seem to think nothing of relieving nature any place they may be. We were walking in downtown N. Delhi yesterday trying to find film and a woman was holding a youngster so he could urinate. In many places children go without clothes and we saw more babies without diapers than with. One thing that is very bothersome is the beggars. It seemed they were everywhere. One guide told us in N. Delhi they try to keep them off the streets – there is a home for them but they would rather beg than work so they escape from the homes provided for them. We are getting so low on film we didn’t take many pictures while there. We are not sure we can buy more and we have a few places of interest to visit before coming home. One of the dirtiest things we saw was the use of cow dung for cooking fuel. The women go around and gather the droppings and make patties which are laid out to dry. We saw huge piles. One guide said those are stored for rainy season. Dad said he didn’t know what kept them from getting lockjaw – from the handling of dung. We had to take an early a.m. flight to Agra and it was a little after 7 a.m. when we arrived. Altho it was fair and not a cloud, there was a haze low. It was the smoke from the cow dung fires – cooking breakfast. We went out to see the Taj Mahal by moonlight. Our driver said we would have to go before the haze from the cooking smoke filled the air. We think they would be better off if they used some other kind of fuel and use the c.d. for fertilizer. The trip from Agra to Jaipur took 5 hrs. At about half way there was a rest house for people like us. At least we could use a toilet and our driver had soft drinks in a bucket of dry ice so we had a little refreshment on the way. I think the driver never suggest American or European travelers eat local food. When we were in Malacca we met an Indian Minister. His daughter is in school in Delhi University. We went out to see her yesterday. She hasn’t been home for two years but hopes to go this June. You just be thankful you are an American and that you are in a school like I.U. It is simply wonderful compared to the one in Delhi. With all the faults we can find with our own country there is no place quite like it. Yesterday morning when we went down to breakfast we discovered the

1964-03-04-gry-p-2[page 2] help had gone on strike and we had sort of a cafeteria breakfast. The tipping system is – 12½ % is added to bill and at the end of certain period the tips are divided. I have no idea how but we were told the strike was because the help wasn’t satisfied with the tip distribution. The room boys – called bearers had also taken the room keys with them so the skeleton staff trying to clean up the rooms couldn’t get into some. We had turned our key in at the desk so our room went uncleaned. The method of sweeping is with something resembling a broom which just moves dirt from one spot to another. I think they think if they rouse a cloud of dust they are accomplishing something. I could see ever so many places where the good old American know-how would have been a great help. We had a notice under our door when we got up at 3 a.m. that no more meals would be served in hotel until strike is settled. It didn’t bother us because we were leaving. Will tell you more when we come home.

Love Mother

Had a letter from Janssen and he said the car business was over the insurance. I am still not too happy about it. I thought your driving was covered. Do you still plan to meet us?

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/17/flying-to-tehran/

2 thoughts on “Flying to Tehran

  1. davidmadison1942

    ” I thought we were prepared for Indiana but not quite. All my reading on Indiana..” Should read India instead of Indiana. 🙂

    “they would rather beg than work” Hmmmm….a judgement based on….what?

    “We think they would be better off if they used some other kind of fuel…” Easy say.

    “I could see ever so many places where the good old American know-how would have been a great help.” Oh that the problems were that simple to solve.

    Despite her northern Indiana perspective, it is a fascinating letter. She was worried about a first-world problem (getting more film), while surrounded by third-world agonies.

    Reply

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