like a leaking faucet
andy and i peeing on the karakoram highway!
apologies for the mutedness the last few wks. for the uninformed, ive long left china; hmm abt a mth ago or smth. since then ive traversed pakistani sovereign territory and now am in india. in pakistan theres a nationwide power shortage and internet there is dial-up so thats that when it comes to getting wired. pakistan....is truly beautiful. nothing like how the media would hardsell and pitch ardently. no semblence of ethnic and religious unrest, terror networks , no shit like that. now that im in india i really really miss it.
first, the china debacle.
the last wk has been nth short of tumultuous. it all started with our chimerical claim that a transit visa was available at Sust (pak border town) on arrival. of cos, such conjectures were founded on very thorough and exacting research back home; (read: lonely planet forum and some dodgy visitpakistan.com travel website). so essentially, nth legit or cast in stone. haha bummer right? so at tashkurgan (chi border town; yes it doesnt even sound remotely chinese, the pple much less resemble them), we were denied exit at immigrations cos we didnt have a onward visa to pakistan. for FIVE FREAKING DAYS. in the
origins of symmetry
SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS. IN PAKISTAN. bet you nvr knew. hahaha
10deg cold armed and decked with at best a pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt. everyday waging a losing battle with the customs to let us thru'; lugging our backpacks each morning like groundhog day to the office only to be denied. with each traipse hope diminished...to cut the long story short...at the tashkurgan border when we got stuck we happened to meet this pakistani man who came to learn abt our wretched plight. he couldnt do much then cos he was doing business in china and didnt wanna jeopardize his visa. but he did articulate those magic words 'dont worry my dad has links with the pakistan national assembly'. THE REST...AS THEY SAY, IS HISTORY. we were conferred diplomat visas on arrival after the Islamabad high comm issued orders to china to release us. madness. we were treated like heavyweight luminaries. prolly the only ever time we'd acquire royalty status or inch anywhere near it. haha i'd savour it for as long as i can...
ive since left pakistan and arrived in india yesterday. i cant quite adeptly translate into words how much i adore pakistan. they're warm, everywhere you meander choruses of assailam alaikum greet
slip slidin away
groundhog day. stuck in reverse. everyday the same story unfolds. turned away from customs; make way back to guesthouse
you; to which you return the favour with a walaikum salaam. i love it. there are no touts, the people give you your own space; which is always a breath of fresh air. they genuinely want to talk to you; offer you a cup of chai in their shop, extend a warm and firm handshake and the loveliest of smiles that is somewhere between partially hidden and neatly snugged away in their bushy beards. sunnis, shiaates, ismaelis, they are all charming pakistani people. they're an enchanting lot in a enthralling place. from the northern areas where i was at in gilgit, sost, hunza, to the NWFP where its supposed to be more hardcore islamic law, down to the cities in islamabad, pindi and lahore, i cannot overstate how enamored i am with pakistan. my short stint this time around will nvr do it justice. i will come back again. with a visa of cos.
i'd blog abt india when i get to delhi. haha right now we're residing in a sikh temple FOR FREE. how celestial. go wiki the golden temple in amritsar if you want. they put pple up for free. feed them. dress them. all the works. yesterday
smile like you mean it
but we still had our fun in tashkurgan. playing with kids everyday from the sch opposite. but it was no mean feat! at the crazy altitude with the air so thin and oxygen massively bereft, hei-ku like siao after soccer everyday!
we witnessed the border closing ceremony at the wagah(pak)-amritsar(ind) border. it was freaking war! raw is war! damn fierce. at their own territorial space their work their magic with their arms and do the most kilat of drills. they see who can march in step with more exactitude, do weapons drills with more precision, shout louder, etc. i was at the indian side though after crossing the border. was waxing nostalgia to myself abt how i'd love to be on the other side. india and pakistan. severed in half. once one. its crazy how life unfolds.
oh ya. this is andy's travelblog. mytb.org/artaris enjoyyyyyyyyyyyy.
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