The manmade earthquake is causing the world to tremble and yet I sit here on this deck, overlooking a beautiful valley w/ huge snowcapped peaks all around & green, terraced gardens & fields below pondering the weirdness of it all. Here amidst a most earthquake prone area of the world, is peace and tranquility even as news reports war and terror all about us! Likewise, the economy seeming to crumble everywhere and here is quiet, serene. After 9/11 the tourist economy which had been booming(for very good reasons!) in this part of Pakistan fell 98%! Yet these people carry on with their lives, growing fruits(we see sundried apricots, mulberries, almonds, walnuts, apricot pits, etc. everywhere) and potatoes, pumpkins, goats, cows, sheep...living in peace these people do not want terrorists here and yet they cannot condone the bombings in Pakistan by US.
Up before dawn to catch jeep back to Sost - came at 7 & in just a few stops was fully packed(16 + one on top...and it was cold out!). I am amazed by the scenery, but also reminded of it's precarious nature. Very loose rock, we came upon at least 3 rock slides...must have happened overnite since jeeps make this trip twice a day to & from Sost...required some clearing or at least careful maneauvering by the driver. Later we heard there had been a quake in Kyrg which might have been the cause.
The difference in peoples who inhabit this valley & others is very apparent in transport vehicles - from Zood Khun to Sost everyone was talking the whole way, from Sost to Karimabad, silence. Another thing...did not notice anyone other than Sarfraz smoking the 4 days we were in Zood Khun. In four days I think I've consumed the equivalent of a months tea consumption during other parts of our journey...we sat and had tea 4-6 times/day and I had at least 1-2 refills each time! I think I've become a teaholic!
After arriving in Sost(we had to pry ourselves out of jeep at police ck pt to sign back in first) at 9:30 it took ony half hour for the onward bus to fill...we discovered that they actually don't fill, only the first 3-4 seats are packed before leaving, the back 2 only had 1-2 passengers...room to pick up more along the way, I guess.
Again, more rock slides in the road...our first flat tire...driver had no spare so we expected a long sit in the cold. Not so, driver disappeared over a hill and minutes later was rolling a new wheel/tire down to the bus/van. One of the quickest changes of our journey and he had driven 10-15 meters on the rim! Arrived in Aminabad by 1 pm and short shuttle bus ride to Haider Inn by 1:30...the old fellow who runs/owns the place welcomed us profusely, we had lunch, ckd the internet...found out it had been down for 24 hrs - Michael & Susanne from Germany found us there and reported this. It was crowded, but got some stuff done before power went out. Walked about town til dinner(yum!).
Another try at getting in touch w/ Laxmi Optical in Dehli where we hope to have Tiff send Malarone for malaria - Bon has attempted to connect w/ 4 different phone #s w/ no success. Maybe its the cell service here?! We hired a taxi to take us to Eagle's Nest Hotel 6.5 km and 900 m. higher than Haider Inn. It is a great view and hiring a taxi was a good decision since I doubt I would have made the climb all the way w/ the late start and the distance/uphill climb. Even if I had made it(Bon & Mari definately would not have) we would have had to call a taxi to go down and the cost would have been the same! Rakaposhi, Diran & Golden Peaks, Ulan I, Lady Finger, Hunza Peak and 5-6 paragliders made the trip wholey worthwhile.
T internet and update while power is on. Noon to lunch, then up the hill to 800 yr. old Baltit fort restored by 80% Aga Khan Foundation & 20% local $$. Excellent guide and well done w/ old being restored using old techniques, it looks perhaps the way it was when first built. Up until just 150 yrs ago when Hunza mir married Nagar princess to bring peace the kingdoms across the river from each other were constantly battling each other(thus the fort). Great view of the old polo field & surrounding valley, mir had a birds-eye view of the whole area. By the time we returned to Haider Inn power had gone off, plus there was no more petrol to run the generator...we ate by candle lite & head lamps, very romantic.
Books to read: Song Lines & Anatomy of Restlessness by Bruce Chapman
Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken
Discussion w/ Ralph(Maine)...we all agreed there is a basic, fundamental shift happening thruout the world - environmental, political, economic, social/demographic, etc. And leaders are not taking note of it, there is no attention being paid to forces of a mego nature(even global warming is treated as a problem to be solved, not something which will require major adaptation and shifts of population if disaster is to be avoided).