In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.
JANET MACLEOD TROTTER
Christmas in Kathmandu
The most extraordinary Christmas I ever experienced was in Kathmandu in 1976! As an eighteen-year-old, I had gone overland from London on an antiquated bus that ended up in Nepal after three months on the road. The trip was over but I stayed together with fellow travelers to celebrate. My diary of the time captures my teenage excitement:
When woke, Di gave me and Heidi a little Xmas stocking filled with nuts, sweets, bics and tangerines! Got up leisurely and had breakfast with Sally and Anders, Heidi and Di at about 11.30! Sally and Fran gave me a little bead choker and card. Had porridge at KC’s [a famous back-packers’ café] – all a bit chaotic from the night before – some suffering!
Nipped down to corner shop and bought vodka, spicy nuts and sweets for Di and Heidi and peanut butter for Sally and Fran. Back to hotel for cocktails in Chris and Nikki’s room again! Went on till about 3.30! Great atmosphere – chatted with guy off Contikee – trip where bus rolled … [the eating and drinking went on all day]
Went for evening stroll with Di round streets – lovely dusk with moon and evening star and mist settling on hills around. Passed a little band playing drums and pipes and bells – lovely rhythmic beating in the half dark. Streets busy still (passed shop stacked with coloured glass bangles) …
[then there was a fully blown turkey meal cooked by two of our bus mates and cake at KC’s]
Eventually all lights in other part [of the overlanders’ hotel] went off and waiters went to sleep on floor – so we finally broke up and crept upstairs to bed with pieces of cake!”
Over thirty years later the experiences of that overland journey and Christmas in Kathmandu inspired a crime novel. Just launched on Kindle, MISSING IN BAMIYAN by Janet MacLeod Trotter, is about two people who disappear on the route to India in 1976 – a suicide pact is suspected. But a generation later, the missing woman’s niece sets out to try to discover what really happened.