It all began — as good stories often do — in a preposterous way. It was late 1971. Hong Kong-born Victor Chan, who now resides on Bowen Island, was chatting with two young Western women in a teahouse just off Kabul’s famous Chicken Street. It was the place every trans-Asian traveller stopped on the so-called Hippie Highway.
Two men sitting nearby invited the three foreigners to an Afghani banquet the following night and they naively accepted. The next evening, somewhere in the foothills of the Hindu Kush, a rifle was produced, rape discussed, and murder threatened, as the three captives rode with their kidnappers into the mountains. Days passed.
Under these circumstances, Chan, then 26, began a clandestine love affair with one of the women. Cheryl Crosby, a student of Buddhism in New York City, confided to him that she was on her way to India to visit the Dalai Lama. She had a letter of introduction.
Chan agreed that if they escaped their captors, he’d join her on her pilgrimage.