19 Feb 2020

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Skardu Travelog

 

By: Hikmatullah Khan BSS 1A

01-155192-029

Slept OK, it was strange having more noise around again- the sounds that villages produce, roosters, calls to prayer, continued coughing noises and more artificial light (the camp area light was shining bright all night). We have our final breakfast together- the food has been replenished- granola is back, honey is back, NUTELLA is back! Say goodbye to Juma, Danny and Lynton before finding our jeeps. I feel for them having to go straight back onto the trail again without a single day off. Their new buddies will be fresh and dying to get going. It has been decided that we will be going back with the Irish group so we get divide up accordingly- I’m travelling with Ali the horseman, the Irish group’s guide (can’t remember his name), Anthony and Mary. Bouncy trip back along the same road , interrupted once an hour and a half in to the drive to clear a rock fall. Bit exciting. This kind of scenery never gets old. An hour and a bit later we stop at the same little rest with the beautiful garden and have a cup of chai and loo break before continuing on. It’s still early so the decision is made to aim for Shigar for lunch. But first….. there is the most wonderful unexpected stop…. an apricot orchard. The trees are heaving, we all pile out and start picking- apparently it is on free land so everyone can help themselves. It’s a treat to be eating warm apricots straight off the tree, soooo beats tinned cherries! We got to Shigar at about 13:00 and are led to a restaurant with tables out the back. Shigar looks interesting- lots of really old buildings, fascinating doors, etc. – it’s on our agenda for the next part of the trip so will get to have a good look around. Feel decidedly scruffy as we are served a feast of chicken curry, curried veges, really excellent chappatis, SALAD!!!! (I figure my gut can handle pretty much anything now so get stuck into the salad without a care in the world!) And soft drinks. Have a good chat then we load back into the jeeps, absolutely stuffed to the gills with lunch and apricots. Luckily there are no more bumpy bits- could be messy.

We have planned to meet as a group at the K2 restaurant near to Gen’s hotel. I debate as to whether I should go but Mary assures me I should   I do go (hoping it has been the right decision) and we have a great catch up with Fernando and Chisato – watch the video of their helicopter evacuation- 2 helicopters at USD $15 000 each and a medical checkup with full X ray series for about $12! Great meal at the K2- French fries, chicken, etc. Final goodbyes as everyone is catching the dawn flight back to Islamabad. When I get back to the hotel Mary is still sleeping but unwell. I wake up frequently because she’s not coughing and I’ve gotten so used to the coughing that its absence is alarming. Ah, what to do… decide we have to go to the hospital tomorrow.

This is a picture taken in a traditional Chitrali hat taken by the locals. It was a great experience of my Chitral tour with foreigners.

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