The next morning, we were up and ready after Fajr. We prayed, then we had breakfast at Royalton, then we got into the car. We drove from Islamabad to Haripur, passed through to Abbotabad, then Mansehra, Batgram and then Besham. We stopped at Mansehra because the driver wanted to pay his brother a short visit. We prayed, got some snacks and then set out again. Next we stopped at Besham and by this time the weather change was really getting to me, I was exhausted and desperately needed to wash up with cold water. We had refreshments and lunch at Besham, prayed Dhuhr. 7 am to 2 pm we drove from Islamabad to Besham. We thought it was almost over, but we had another 10 hours to go until our next stop!
We got on the Karakoram Highway from Besham and stopped just once to pray ‘Asr. Then we stopped at a really creepy bus stop to pray Maghreb. It was 7 pm by now and all of us were lolling our heads, falling asleep, rubbing our spines, stretching our legs and generally feeling very, very road sick. Little did we know that the next stop would just make it worse! We stopped at Chilas finally. It was around 12 am now.
Maybe its the mountains that make these people so humble and down-to-earth
Getting to shower in freezing cold water
The sound of the water flowing continuously, probably the only definite thing in their lives
The best part is watching these shepherds with their flocks of sheep or herds of cows, swaying their tails lazily and feeding on the sparse grass
The food made my stomach lurch and I had to skip breakfast. Royalton served us parathas with omelettes which were greasy, but nothing compared to the oily stink we found at Shangrila’s Halwa Poori buffet. I don’t even remember what we did about lunch and dinner, but we really didn’t want to stay in this super gloomy spookhouse any longer.
Next up: Gilgit, Diran, Karimabad, crossing AttahAbad lake.
– Umm Saifullah