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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Revisiting old friends

Ehsen's relatives run one of the nice hotels in downtown Gilgit. The original agreement was to transfer them money and come pick up the cash. But with that dragging on I... went to pay them a visit and see what's up.

In short, the transfer... would be expensive. So I paid by card and left with a stash of cash. Sorted in 5 minutes and just like that I was free again to move on.

If I'd stayed with them as Ehsen offered me in the first place, this would've been done days ago. But my friends up in Hunza were out to ski so it all worked out fine.

each to their own interests

Park Hotel Gilgit foayer

Went to visit Hadul and his lawyer friends in the afternoon. They just had a party in sealing a car sale; with dozen men inside and tension running high I initially guessed a marriage and I'm not sure if that'd have been better or worse. Maybe same. I didn't tell them I'm coming, but they all remembered me. And, being lawyers, the inquisitive questions went right off. Source of income? Family? What are you doing???

"So your strategy ... is to enjoy life, alone ... like that. Then you'll be gone. That's not right."

I mean, they're not wrong. That's why I stopped travelling like that years ago.

"Happy moments. Sad moments. We share with parents, grandparents. That's our way."

Hit me hard, right where it hurts. I explained back that travel I can stop whenever I want. Family... not so much. Still, people in Hunza are next level, even those who didn't go to Europe or elsewhere to study. In most places I hear many plans of doing stuff.. here people go sit exams for Fulbright scholarship, and routinely get selected.

Gilgit's central square

XXX and a thumbprint to seal the deal

Anyway - most of Sunday went into finishing HPMOR, few hundred pages. Been a while since I got lost in a book this way. I can't recommend it enough - so this is your final chance! Don't waste it. Monday morning, leaving for Hunza. Waiting for enough people to fill a minivan, when another familiar face approaches me... a guy from back in January, when we visited the squad. The north is such a small place.

w Mehdi. in retrospect, best guide of the year.

views not unlike in Ladakh

Paid only once for the trip this time and reached Karimabad in Hunza in three hours. Felt like a dream compared to my February trip when I had to pay thrice and needed over six hours... it's nice to see things can be smooth on a good day.

Karimabad, Baltit Fort, Ultar Sar peak

Sahlan's guesthouse

Muhammad is the local tour guide I met in Feb. He returned from leading a group today, after over a month of being away. Another lucky coincidence. I nearly didn't recognize him, with coloured hair and fewer alcohol-strewn bloody veins in the face; he was apparently benched for two months with a knee injury, having fallen into a crevasse at the beginning of the season. Not the way you'd want your summer to go. But maybe it helped him to refocus and start seeing other priorities too. Might ask that one another time.

Destruction at Play

no cats or kittens were maimed (to date)

Sahlan didn't change at all - but his place did a whole lot. With the owner in earnest, Usman, they've sure been putting in work to prop it up. And he's been calling around to get me out into the mountains. It's a race with snow which is pulling in stronger and stronger day by day. Hunza, being some 3.000 feet higher than Gilgit, feels cold. Like 3 layers cold in the evening, get me out of here, but only after 10 AM, at night. Going to climb anything is gonna be a frickin challenge.

Ludo, traditional pastime game

Obviously, after a setup like this followed a night adventure, which turned out to be one of the most genuine nights and fuzziest diary posts of the year - available now for Business Class :)

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