Blogs from Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, Asia

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Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral December 30th 2010

Korean Skills Come in Handy Riding in a shared car along the Himalaya Mountains of northern Pakistan I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined I would have the opportunity to put my Korean language skills to the test. Think again! After traveling for about eight hours that day our vehicle was haulted by security officers due to tunnel construction along the new roadway. We were then told that the tunnel was closed for the day as it was now past 4:30PM and they had to follow orders from the engineers working for Daewoo- a Korean construction company. As a result, we would have to go back to where we started from as we were in the middle of nowhere with no place to go. However, after much debate in Pashto one of the men ... read more
Local Clothing
AK-47 Armed Friend
Relaxation Time

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral August 12th 2008

Simon still shows no sign of improvement. His complaints of the pain, fatigue, and discomfort are peppered with explosions of profanity as he rolls out of bed and practically hits the floor. During the night he made several visits to the toilet. His pants barely cling to his waist and he is pale in spite of the sun his skin has absorbed while trekking in the mountains. Ameen rolls up Simon’s red sleeping pad and began packing. Simon is not interested in breakfast but for some green tea and none of us is confident he’ll keep that down. He goes into the toilet, locks the door and before he moans and his insides detonate once again, I take Ameen into the garden. “We need to go right after breakfast.” “Yes, sir. But sir, if you don’t ... read more
Urinals at HDQ Hospital
I Gotta Go!
IV Drip Stand

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral August 10th 2008

This place cannot be for real. It is not just another world, rather another galaxy. My initial fifteen minutes in Balanguru are of paralysis and disbelief. Balanguru is what it must be like to be knocked unconscious by an alien tractor beam and then relocated to their home solar system. Distance, introversion, and geographical inaccessibility have shielded the Kalash people from mainstream Pakistan for centuries. An agrarian and independent civilization, they have rejected Islam and maintain their long-standing practice of ancient paganism. Their customs are on display without the slightest hint of showmanship. Ameen and Simon unload the jeep at the guesthouse while I aimlessly roam downhill in the direction of the small bazaar. Simon is unaffected by the transition into this alternative world. I do not know if it is indifference or an inner trait ... read more
Corn Crops
Mortarless Conctruction
Swamped

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral December 19th 2007

It's been a while since I last posted on this blog - this was due to being in the freezing Hindu Kush mountains, where internet access is sparse, if existent at all. We left for Chitral on 11th December, via propeller plane. Chitral is pretty cut off from the rest of Pakistan, as you can only get there by plane (which is frequently cancelled due to bad weather conditions) or over the Lowari Pass, which isn't really an option at this time of the year, due to snow. It's a lovely little town, and the people there are again completely different. After spending a couple of days in the Chitral Gol National Park, watching markhors (mountain goats) and looking for the elusive snow leopard, we left for the Kalash valleys, in the mountains by the Afghan ... read more
Kalasha girl
Dancing during the Chamos festival
Pensive Kalasha girl

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral December 11th 2007

I'm sitting in front of a fire blazing in a fireplace. Timber rafters, concrete floor, windows and a door that don't quite close, two beds covered with my junk. This is "my" room: the family's guest room. There were 15 people sleeping here before I got here. Now it seems like there's hardly room for another person without crowding. Sitting on a plastic chair next to me is Wali Khan, my landlord, wearing light blue shalwar kameez and a beige "chitrali" wool hat; he won't shave his week-old stubble until the first day of /chowmas/ when the neighbors will come with flowers and tell him to put aside his mourning for his dead relative and celebrate the festival. "I think I'm even older than you" he had said when I first met him. He's trying to ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral September 19th 2007

Il piccolo minivan supera agilmente il Lowari Pass a piu' di 3000 metri d'altezza e si entra cosi' nel distretto di Chitral, all'angolo a Nord-Ovest del Pakistan, un territorio decisamente remoto circondato dalle possenti cime dell'Hindukush. L'aria e' frizzante e cristallina, una vera e propria boccata d'ossigeno dopo quella ammorbata delle grandi citta' di pianura; il cielo ritorna ad essere azzurro e con un po di fortuna le grosse nubi bianche si terranno lontane dalle alte cime che spiccano gia' innevate all'orizzonte. Chitral e' il centro principale della regione ma si rivela comunque una tranquillo paesotto di montagna con un vecchio forte, antica sede della famiglia reale, ed una caratteristica moschea che ravviva il piatto paesaggio urbano. La valle e' dominata all'orizzonte dalla maestosa vetta del Tirich Mir, che con i... read more
Giu' dal Lowari Pass
Chitral: Il Tirich Mir domina la valle
Chitral: Shahi Masjid, la grande moschea

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral September 22nd 2006

Wednesday September 20th Today I was leaving Gilgit and the Northern Area for Chitral in the North-West Frontier province, right next to Afghanistan. Chitral is a big valley blocked from the rest of Pakistan 6 months a year. It is in the extreme north-west of Pakistan, just south of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan (the little handle that sticks out of Afghanistan, a little colonial fantasy) and east of Nuristan (the Land of Light, named so after the muslims killed every single one of the infidel local inhabitants in a jihad slightly more than a hundred years ago). The ride to Chitral was no piece of cake: 11 hours to Mastuj in a normal bus and then 5 hours to Chitral itself in a jeep (the bridges after Mastuf are too small to accomodate the bus). ... read more
Checkpoint
Shandaur Pass
Chitral town 2




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