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Published: October 31st 2009
Hameed, our driver in waiting, took us in his pride and joy the jeep along bumpy road towards beautiful Babusar pass to Naran passing Lulusar lake. Our hotel for the night was Afaq, comfortable.
The next day we had a morning sojourn to the scenic lake Saiful Muluk and then a long drive along the Naran and Karakoram Highway (KKH) towards Islamabad, past gaudily decorated trucks and vans grossly overloaded with goods and passengers. Vehicles jostled for position along the way, spewing out diesel fumes in all directions. Some of the smaller pick-up trucks held up to 10 passengers in the rear with as many again on a rickety roof rack; I lost count of the passengers in the similarly overloaded trucks and buses. Another thing they all seemed to have in common is that the horns seemed to be wired directly to the ignition on a regular, intermittent setting as there was the continual sound of horns tooting for no apparent reason other than to prove they work. The drivers operate their vehicles to within very fine tolerances, coming within inches of a rock face on one side and a sometimes vertical drop of 1000ft to a river gorge below,
certainly not recommended for those of a nervous disposition. Virtually all the route followed the same windy, narrow, rough roads dotted with traditional Tea houses, the equivalent of road side cafes which were grubby little buildings resembling wooden boxes where locals of varying ages gathered to socialize and look on in curiosity at passing travelers. Back to Islamabad and had a farewell dinner.
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