Tuesday. It was cold and raining in Besham, the clouds hugging the tops of the mountains towering above the village. We stayed in our rooms during the morning because Linda was suffering from a bad headache.

About 1 p.m. Magnus and I went out for a short walk. It was still threatening rain, but only a few spots blew in on the cold wind coming down the valley. We walked down to the Indus River and stood at the edge of the swiftly-flowing green water, then we climbed up to the village again. 

On the terrace behind the village, a small water race ran through the wheatfields and fell down a wooden sluice to a mill where two boys were milling grain. They got quite a fright to see us, but once they were over their initial shock they let us take some photographs of the interior of the mill. Two giant circular millstones, side-by-side and driven from below by the water, were turning the grain, which trickled from hoppers down through holes in the centre of the millstones, into flour. The flour coated everything inside the mill house, and it turned the mill boy’s hair white.

Back down in Besham, we had chai and one of the restaurants then retired back to the International Hotel.¹

¹The International Hotel was run by an affable Pakistani we nicknamed Mr No Problem. Whenever we needed something – hot water, chai, a tasty meat curry (we still talk about Mr No Problem’s curries 30 years later) – he would waggle his head in that typically Indian/Pakistani way, and say “no problem.”

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