Page 5 of sapere18 Travel Blog Posts

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

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Gilgit-Baltistan August 4th 2008

Folks...This is a lost chapter. It is my final entry. For those of you who have followed along with me this summer, thank you. Thanks for the comments and feedback. It meant a lot to me. All the text has been cleaned up. I may post an epilogue before this goes out for professional review. I will be writing again in December. I'll keep all subscribers posted. Please check in periodically. Again, it has been quite a ride. Hope you have enjoyed. Rich. The minivan retraces the route back to Gilgit I was on three days ago. Locked in the middle seat again, I choose not to fight my unwashed neighbors for a side-glance out the window. Instead I rest my chin on my folded hands on the bench in front of me and try to ... read more
Loading Up
For Our Safety?
Mountain Lake

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 1st 2008

A wildness about Pakistan is evident in the name of the regions over which the government has teetering control. Provinces such as Sindh and Balochistan may be one thing. But when added to the likes of the more lawless sounding Northwest Frontier Province, you’d expect scenes out of the Wild West. In many cases, that’s exactly what takes place! My favorite region of Pakistan by title alone is the Northern Areas, leaving the foreigner with the impression that its inhabitants are a part of the nation when it suits them, but do not wholly buy into Pakistani integration. I met the connections needed to make it into the Northern Areas without a night’s layover in Islamabad. Daewoo runs a splendid coach service out of their own station in Lahore to the capital on the half hour. ... read more
Fuel Stop
Abdul At Work
Sunset in Gilgit

Asia » Pakistan » Punjab » Lahore July 31st 2008

From the border until mid afternoon in downtown Lahore, I had not grabbed much to eat. By two o’clock I sought anywhere in the downtown area with a functioning generator and preferably with a chilled dining area to offset temperatures over one hundred degrees. Within the first three minutes of scanning for an eatery on Regal Chowk I confirmed (by my own standards) that Lahore was truly the cultural capital of Pakistan. I saw the sign behind a row of trees across the median-divided boulevard. The letters were on the standard yellow background inside a brown oval. I followed each one left to right to make sure there could be no trickery at work: S-U-B-W-A-Y. I made a bee line for the front door, disregarding the deadly vehicles that simply drove around me like any other ... read more
Bring Your Visa Card
The Mark of a Pro
At Bat

Asia » Pakistan » Punjab » Lahore July 30th 2008

The halfway point of my time on the Subcontinent is the first reminder of my journey’s mortality. No longer is it acceptable to extend stays a night or two in a given village or hill town without earnestly pondering how my limited remaining time will be spent. The days now dwindle downward to a finishing point. As I sit on the apex of my travels, I am at once rejuvenated under the realization that time is not limitless and that there is much left to do and to accomplish. From this day forward when each day passes, I will look back and think that my arrival in Delhi and first nights in rough and rowdy Karol Bagh were such a long time ago. Only weeks have passed. Given what I have collected in my mind about ... read more
From When I Have Come

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar July 29th 2008

31 July Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan Here are some more random thoughts on traveling through India, again in no particular order: 1. A hotel room advertising air conditioning is only as good as the electrical grid that supports it. 2. Upon being subjected to a handful of Bollywood action films, I long for the thespian acumen of Brian Bosworth. 3. Whoever the CEO is of Lay’s potato chips for India, is a very influential person. 4. In order to make a public phone call in India, it is necessary to find the ubiquitous booths labeled STD. With that kind of title, I fear contracting syphilis every time I touch the receiver. 5. Men are very touchy-feely with each other. They hold hands in public. Do not ever challenge their sexual orientation. 6. From the moment I arrived, ... read more

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar July 28th 2008

For a woman who has never set foot in the Estes Park of India, Kiran made a huge pitch for me to spend time in Manali. We had sat down to discuss what would be my next move. The great thing about running my ideas past her is that she does not ever try to change my plans. Rather, she picks areas of interest along the way that might work for me. Even as I bade her good night after a late dinner in Naggar’s Lincoln Log castle, she was still pushing for Manali. It is more scenic than here, she insisted, a better part of the Beas River. She might have been right, but my mind was already made up. It was time to get out of the mountains and make a move to Punjab ... read more
Gotta Do The Dishes
Accommodation, Sikh Style
Take My Picture!

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Naggar July 25th 2008

The taxi deposited me in front of the art gallery. My day’s travels ended in a thunderous and rumbling “Sir!” from Prashant when we made eye contact followed by a rib-crushing bear hug. Upon realizing how genuinely excited the gregarious Rajasthani Commando was to see me in Naggar, I knew I had arrived in the right place. The miles of over-the-road pounding had come to an end and I was in good hands. I doubled back through Shimla because there were no connections across the mountain passes to the road leading to Manali. I would either stay a night in Rampur or Shimla. As much as I could do without Shimla, I could still go out, re-energize myself with a good meal, and socialize beyond the wee hours of nine in the evening. Strangely enough, I ... read more
Up Front!
Way To Go!
Art Exhibition

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kinnaur July 23rd 2008

There are certain moments a traveler never forgets. Many of them have to do with first laying eyes on something so wondrous that the image of that one magic moment is forever etched in a special place in the mind. The Grand Canyon is such a spot. So are geographic superlatives such as cycling along the Loire and seeing the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash into the Central American coast. Others are more elementary: I saw my first palm tree when I went to Spain and could not believe they existed except on postcards. It was about as far from New England sugar maples as I could conceive. Until my late teens, I thought oranges came in three-packs at the supermarket. When visiting a monastery in Toledo, Spain, I saw a tree bearing the bright ... read more
Solidly Built
Need A New Roof?
Front Porch

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