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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Back in the mountains

Despite generous offers of Ehsen bhai to house me in his relatives' hotel and similar offers from other friends, I am staying with Qayum whose policy is "pay as much as you wish". His guests regularly turn they stay into a Workaway, helping in the garden and numerous other projects around the villa. You can now find it on Google, courtesy of his son - look for Serene Guesthouse and make sure you don't mix it up with Serena as you'd end up in a different world entirely.

Rakaposhi masiv / morning mist in the valley

It's far less cold than it was in February and it's less cold still than it was two months ago in Leh. But the nights are cold nonetheless and lack of electricity and internet weighs on me hard. The first evening I spent talking with Milka about struggles and joys of travel and streaming. I wish we had that on camera; a dialogue between experienced people is far more interesting than presentation by a solo person just about every time.

Slept well into the sun the next morning, something I haven't done for months now. That's the good side effect of not having access to the web. The less positive one - well I tried to have a meeting online... tried. Maybe after I leave Pakistan in few weeks.

approach to the hike

Speaking of; I met few guys who studied in the US and Canada and we were talking about the forced expulsion of millions of Afghanis from Pakistan. The military government claims they contribute and enable Taliban's strikes against local religious targets. On how many levels this is wrong is beyond count.

Followed topics like western detachment or local hospitality; the smart people here work hard to steer their lives, but always retain time and concern for their poorer fellows or visitors to their place and, once again, I'm thinking of royal behaviour...

Rakaposhi / forehills of Nanga Parbat

still 3.000 feet to go ---

Got out of bed early today, for a change. Not early enough...

Tried climbing a mountain, to stretch my legs; found out most of the slopes are private owned by a Chinese gems mining company. Went around, but the combination of late start, banned entry and my mind dwelling on the money issue (I still don't have it) stopped me well below the peak. Which is a shame as I missed views of Nanga Parbat by few hundred altitude metres. Maybe next time.

Gilgit valley


The path led through a small village, far away from Gilgit. Meaning tourists are scarce, English unheard of, but enthusiasm is palpable. I gave in and accepted third offer of tea, which, inevitably, came with offer of spending the night. If Islam is taken seriously; guarding the girls etc., honouring guests seems to always be high up on the list too. The religion, for all its differences with Christianity, is a guidebook to living together, in peace. Religious leaders, in their hunt for power, are who stirs up trouble. Something they have in common with leaders around the world...

sunset breaking over the valley

I didn't stay as I'm still trying to get the money and since that requires communication across several countries, it takes time and patience. But at least I get to be in a beautiful mountainous environment which I much prefer to Islamabad or other big cities. And my SIM started to work now, so hopefully the rest of initial 'entering a new place' issues will get sorted out soon as well.

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