Bob Gambol backpacked the world over a period of six years. He started when he was 55 years old. My "chance encounter" with Bob proved to be interesting indeed. Not only do I now regard him and his partner Hilda as friends, but I get to share his story in bits and pieces with my readers. This excerpt is from China in 1991 after leaving Kazakstan by train.
"They moved us from the train to a bus which must have had a special engine to make those grades in winter. I got put on top of the bus. I had bought a better coat while I was in Peru, and some ear muffs, so I was okay at that cold elevation.
“I got down at Gilgit. There I bought needed supplies. In a couple of villages along the way I had to sleep with the goats. I carried my own sleep sack, but it’s a fact of life traveling like I did that you get scabies, bed bugs, lice. I got it all. There I had to wash my clothes in a glacial river and dry them over a smoky fire. I hiked up over a 14,000 foot pass. The local kids in this one village wanted to carry my pack, I’d be huffing and puffing. It weighed 50 pounds, and I would have liked to let them carry it for me, but I was worried they’d take off running with it and I’d never get it back. I finally let them carry my knapsack. I took pictures of the kids and mailed them to them when I got home. Probably the only snapshots they ever saw. The view there was breathtaking; the air clean and crisp. The people friendly and beautifully costumed.
"At this elevation they had an animal similar to the llama they used for packing, clothing and meat."
to be continued