Hannah, if I were to say that I enjoyed them all, I know you wouldn’t believe me but, in part, it is true.
Bangladesh and Pakistan were both wonderful places to work – Bangladesh for the warmth of the people, the smells, the sounds and the tastes of the food. I have to admit that I wept when I said a final farewell to our Bengali gardener-cum-helper-cum-cook who was a real scallywag and a gem; he’d made so many happy memories for us. Pakistan seems not to produce many warm and lovable people but it produces some of the grandest scenery in the world. Their food is also delicious. I remember the nomads who camped beside our house; the goat bells; the camel trains when the nomads move from winter to summer areas and, most particularly, the carpets they make. Trouble is, the Taleban now make Pakistan an unsafe place to visit.
Against this was the fascination of Viet Nam which was still in the grip of communism; Bhutan which seemed still to be living in a time-warp with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world; Mozambique where I worked with people trying to come to grips with living alongside each other after years of a bloody civil war; Namibia with its wildlife and spectacular sand dunes; Albania, Iraq, Iran and more.
I think that with the exceptions of Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Afghanistan, I would jump at a chance to revisit almost all of the others. How can I choose which is best when they all conjure such wonderful memories ?