Ridiculously early wake-up to go to Passu, a town further North on the KKH and one of the last stops before the Chinese border.
Passu was closed when we arrived because of a wedding. Not surprisingly, the entire town was at the wedding – so why leave things open? We figured we might as well follow the sounds of beating drums and gunshots to find someone with a bed, food, water.
We hung out long enough at the wedding to take a few pictures and for someone to notice that our backpacks needed a better resting place than a manure-covered field.
I don't have words to express their dancing.
This super-high quality picture is of the bride and the groom. The bride is in the blue head-dress and looks very unhappy, but very well-fed. The man to her left is the groom, he also looks very happy, but suspiciously like a maharajah. The man to her right is a queerface and hiding his head in fashion shame.
Later, after enquiring about places to eat – we proceeded in the direction of our hike-starting-point, which was also in the direction of supposedly the best restaurant in Northern Pakistan.
But since local advice is akin to LP-advice (seriously, the locals don’t even know what’s going on), the restaurant wasn’t open. NOTHING was open. How were we to hike 6 hours with no provisions?
Then suddenly, some wealthy Paki showed up in a jeep. He was sightseeing his own country. He asked the same fucking questions everyone else asks, but all he got in response was ‘Food. Do you have food? We want food.’ He got the hint and pulled out a box of half-eaten biscuits. Of which we devoured.
We started our “2 bridges walk”. The bridges were very Indiana Jones-ish. At the 2nd bridge, we had lost our way a bit, forcing Koos and I to stand on each other to get up onto the bridge. Jan, on the other hand, decided to ‘wade’ through the river. (It should be noted that the river water was water that was coming off of the snow-capped mountains). Before we knew it, he was up to his neck in the river and swimming across with his bag over his head.
One of the "2 Bridges". That's not a harnass around my waist; it's my fanny pack, ya'll!
Of course, the sun was just setting by the time Jan made it across making his health situation a precarious one considering we were miles from home and were planning on hitchhiking back. Who knew how long it would take for a car to come along?
Jan was a novice traveler. He was hiking with his passport, all of his currency, camera, visa letter from his school, pretty much everything of value. I realize that you probably shouldn’t leave things of value behind in your room, but…..
Instead of waiting for transport, Jan ran the 6km back to the hotel to keep warm, while Koos & I decided to buy cookies for what would turn out to be a very, very long walk back.
On the way to the market, we met two old biddies. I’d say they were 50 and 60 years old, but looked 65 and 85. They literally ran up to us and shook our hands, which simultaneously asking us if we were Japanese. Yes, Japanese.
1) Refreshing to see women take a human role and acknowledge the fact that THEY are indeed humans and initiate contact in the form of PHYSICAL contact. It’s so refreshing to see this in a predominately Muslim country (after especially after having live in such environments for so long).
2) When the Egyptians used to ask ‘which country?’, I’d respond with ‘Japan’ because I was just so annoyed by that question. I mean, really, does it matter where I’m from? But they never fell for it even though I tried to reason with them that I have white skin, but it was possible that I could have been born in Japan, therefore making me Japanese. But the difference between nationality and heritage wasn’t something many of them were able to differentiate. But then we have the Northerners in Pakistan – have they not noticed the ONE thing that differentiates non-East Asians from East Asians???? (As a footnote, I was asked about 5 times during my stay in Pakistan if I was Japanese – are these people suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome?)
While Koos and I tried to maneuver our tired bodies around the stream running directly in front of the shop, the old women mumbled something. I joked that they probably said, “Look at these sissy mother-fuckers trying to hop-scotch their faggoty-asses over this trickle of water – let’s show these bitches how its really done.”
And they LEAPT like fucking ballet dancers over the stream!
They were fierce. Love them.
This is a view of the Passu Peak. There was a picture of it in the Lonely Planet that Koos and I talked about non-stop. It was the most amazing picture ever and really, we only came to Passu to figure out if LP had edited the picture to make it look so hot. Of course LP edited it (they are LP afterall), but I think it still looks TFO.