¿Qué fue de la Hippie Trail?

EL Hippismo sufrió un doble golpe devastador en 1979. Por una lado, la invasión soviética de Afganistán y, por otro, la revolución islámica en Irán que cerraron grandes segmentos de la llamada Hippie Trail. Despojada de su principal ruta de peregrinación, la contracultura que una vez fue dominante en Occidente ha ido a menos y lo que queda de ella está siendo desplazado por una nueva oleada de rebeliones.

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Usando las rutas comerciales más antiguas como plantilla de itinerario, el Camino del Hippie fue el Grand Tourpara algunos desde los 1950 en adelante. El punto de partida siempre era Europa: a menudo Londres, Atenas o Estambul, y el paseo solía terminar en el subcontinente de la India (Goa, Delhi, Katmandú) o algo más allá (Bangkok). Desde Estambul, una ruta se diversificó pasando por el norte a través de Teherán, Kabul y Lahore en India, y por el sur a través de Siria, Jordania, Irak, Irán y el sur de Pakistán.  

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Por supuesto la filosofía hippie que abraza la paz, el amor y el consumo diversos tipos de alucinógenos, no ha pasado de moda por completo. Tampoco ha perdido su gusto por lo exótico. Pero para los aventureros de hoy, el atractivo principal es el destino, no el viaje. Lo sensual y espiritual de destinos como Goa, Tailandia o Bali se alcanza con un viaje en avión. En sí, que la ruta hippie conocida también como Overland, existiese, nos resulta bastante exótico a día de hoy. Es difícil imaginar un flujo constante de veinteañeros hedonistas haciendo autostop desde Londres a Katmandú, pillando droga en Teherán y Kabul , y generalmente exhibiendo un comportamiento lascivo desenfrenado que les metía en problemas constantes con los lugareños. Las actitudes se han endurecido, la permisividad y la tolerancia hacia estilos de vida alternativos cada vez más raros se van difuminando en Oriente y Occidente. Para citar a The Big Lebowski, una película sobre las frustraciones de un grupo de colgados en los Sixties flotando en los años noventa: ¡Su revolución ha terminado, el Sr. Lebowski! ¡Los vagabundos han perdido! 

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Aún más significativo es el hecho de que en ningún momento desde 1979 el sendero haya vuelto a ser seguro en todo su recorrido para viajar. Turquía, Siria, Irak, Irán, Afganistán, Pakistán y la India han estado sufriendo diversos grados de violencia, desde rebeliones a fuego lento a través de la lucha civil a la guerra abierta.

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Los efectos del cannabis en la memoria podrían explicar las palabras de Nick Danforth, Es sorprendentemente difícil encontrar buenos mapas de la ruta hippie, que estoy seguro que existian. En este post de su blog se puede leer más.

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El post de Danforth también cita la Head East!, una guía de viaje 1973 que cubre el tramo de Estambul a Katmandú  de la ruta Hippie. Para comprender este mundo perdido a continuación pego algunas citas del libro En el prólogo:

“People of the East, for the most part, have a much better perspective on life, time, people, drugs and living in general than do those of us who come from the West.”
“You might think that backsheeshing the policeman who finds your dope stash is not going to work. But if you’re cool, it does.”
“When you ‘split’ from this ‘civilized’ and constrained Western thought which has not taught you to seize the time, to live each moment, to let yourself feel the real world going on around you and despite you, you will surely draw your first real breath of life.”
 

Sobre gastos:

“You can live on $2 a day or less throughout the East […] If you have as much as $100 a month, you can afford la grande tour.”
“The cost of living [in Europe] is almost as high as it is in the States, so every day spent in Europe means about five lost in the East.”

 

Sobre drogas:

“You’ll be following in the footprints of Marco Polo on what is now known as the ‘pot trail’ and whether you like it or not you are going to see a lot of good, cheap dope around. And it’s going to get better and cheaper as you travel. Just one word of warning, be cool and careful, especially in Iran and turkey. Here the police are heavy and the jails are terrible. In very country of the East except Nepal and parts of India dope is illegal. But, east of Iran it is so widely used that there is little or no law enforcement by the authorities. So don’t be paranoid, just cool!”

 

Cómo cruzar a Turquía

“Beware of the head customs officer at the Greco/Turkish border. He loves to throw a black rubber snake into the laps of unsuspecting females.”

Cómo crear contactos:

“As soon as you get a room [in Istanbul], locate the Pudding Shop. The food is overpriced; it’s the bulletin board you want to see, not the menu. On [it] are notices for rides and riders wanted, overland buses, [etc.] Put up a notice if you are looking for a ride East.”

Sobre comida turca:

“Turkish food is good and cheap. Stuff yourself. The food is going to get progressively worse as you go East – or at least until you reach Kabul.”

 

Sobre Estambul:

“Istanbul is the Turkish version of San Francisco – a wild non-stop mind blowing show. Winding ancient streets, dancing bears, meandering fog, and honking ’57 Chevy taxis all conspire to entertain you.”

Hoteles en Tabriz:

“A good hotel is right on the main circle – the bus stops in front of it – but the name eludes us. (At least we are honest).”

Sobre el Islam:

“The people of Islam, or Moslems, believe that they are the ‘chosen people’ of Allah (God). In keeping with their tenets and customs, the women are considered the property of their men-folk. This chattel is subject to prearranged marriages and other such non-liberated customs.”

Sobre el servicio de autobuses:

“The highway [into Teheran] is fairly narrow and with the shoulder a four foot drop and you doing upwards of 90 kms/hr., if you go off for any reason you will surely be injured. V.W. buses beware! Your center of gravity is very high, so carry your load lower and don’t make any high-speed sharp turns or swerves.”

La modernidad de Teherán:

“Tehran is a gigantic new city with all the traffic congestion and high-rises of the West. The driving in the city is absolutely absurd. The people of the city are very much into becoming modernized, consequently they are rather standoffisch and at times can be very uptight.”

Sobre estar en casa, lejos de casa:

“The manager [of the Amir Kabir hotel in Teheran] is a very cantankerous guy, but he appreciates freaks.”

Cómo cruzar a Pakistán:

“In Tai-bad [the first Pakistani town past the border] there is a definite change. Things get even more wild-looking and pushed back in time. This border town is funky.”

Cómo cruzar a Afganistan:

“As you are leaving the border station area [at Islam Qala] the guard will probably try to sell you some hash. Don’t get paranoid; he is only trying to make a buck. (However, dope is illegal in Afghanistan). If you can’t wait until Herat where the hash will be better and cheaper, buy only enough for a couple of joints and don’t pay the guard more than 1/3 of what he asks.”

 

Sobre comprar camellos:

“Three German guys, thinking it would be a romantic way of travelling, bought four camels, three to ride and one pack camel. The first night they camped, they hobbled the camels, so they wouldn’t wander during the night. In the morning the camels were gone. They had dragged themselves 20 miles, through the desert with their legs tied, back to their former Afghani owner. It turned out that it wasn’t the first time that these loyal creatures had returned to their master; he must have sold them many times.”

Sobre el comportamiento de las mujeres en Afganistán:

“Ladies, take special notice. Afghanistan is a heavy duty male chauvinist trip, so try to remember what your dear old Grandmother said about acting like a lady. Don’t go wandering the back streets at night unescorted. If you are invited to an Afghan home, go only if you are escorted by one or two western males, preferably with one of them claiming he is your husband or brother. […] Above all NEVER call an Afghan a pig no matter how much he might piss you off.”

Por qué los hippies duros se ponen amarillos:

“DO NOT DRINK THE WATER in Afghanistan unless it has been chemically purified or boiled. You’ll meet some ‘tough’ hippies who will say that they drink the water everywhere. Six weeks later, in Kathmandu, you’ll meet the same hippies frantically swallowing iodide tablets rapidly turning a rich shade of yellow, wondering where and how they got infectious hepatitis.”

Consejos para comprar souvenirs:

“Small brass water pipes at 15-20 Afs. and bigger hubbly-bubblies are better and cheaper here than in Kabul. Don’t buy shirts in Herat. Wait until Kandahar […] the shirt capital of Afghanistan.”

Cómo pillar hachís en Herat:

“Herat features a pancake style hashish. It is hand pressed (often with a little water added), locally grown and unusually grey-green to grey-brown in color. […] A more romantic – but slightly less practical – method for collecting the pollen is to run in a loincloth through the fields and then scrape the pollen from your body and press it, preferably against the warm sweating body of a fellow field nymph or satyr.”

Comida exótica en Kabul:

“There are also several German restaurants in Kabul: Siggi’s is the cheapest at 30 Afgs. for a dinner.”

Jean Harlow en el bazaar:

“The Nixon Bazaar (Old Clothes market) with outrageous thirties to fifties Western clothes is in the main bazaar behind the Mosque. Such items as a 1930’s flesh-colored Jean Harlow dress are occasionally up for grabs.”

 

 

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