Sunday, September 17, 2006


The road continued up the narrow river valley as with the day before. Small villages were strung along it from time to time. Rocks on the side of the road were painted with slogans exhorting various improvements in behaviour, amongst them "help the tourist", "cooperate with govt." & "educate your children".

The cycling was very pleasant with very little traffic in either direction & quite a good road. My legs felt the effects of the previous day being a bit too long.

We were invited to lunch in a small town by a student back for summer break from university in Karachi. We accepted the invitation though unfortunately not much conversation was possible with our host due to his limited English. Accepting the invitation turned out to be a very good idea as the road passed through what seemed to be a restaurant free zone.

Along the way I heard the echoing sound of a substantial rock fall up a side valley. Though for all I knew it could have been an American raid on a nearby Taliban hideout. (Note for those nervous about such things - this is a joke, there are no Taliban hideouts in this area).

The area is solidly Ismaeli, an offshoot of Shia Islam which holds the Aga Khan as the Imam or spiritual leader. They are relatively liberal compared to orthodox Sunni with women not being hidden away, not always veiled & even responsive to waves & 'hellos'. The Taliban don't have any friends in this neighbourhood. As with everywhere else I've been in Pakistan people are very friendly. Though the young kids can be a bit of a pain, demanding pens or sometimes money. Nick had a couple of stones thrown at him when he failed to respond to their demands.

Yet again we pushed on too long & found accommodation as darkness fell. We arrived at the only guesthouse in Teru with no choice but to stay there. The place was totally minimalistic. It was the size of a one-car garage. By the door the proprietor cooked dinner for his guests, at the other end of the room was a raised platform covered with thin mattresses. All those dining in (there was no other place to eat in the village) got the same dish; rice, potatoes & chapati followed by tea. The place was a bit of a local hangout on accounts of the DVD player on which odd, slightly voyeuristic videos of women dancing were played. None of it was inappropriate or (there was no hit of it being even vaguely pornographic) or well produced however for mountain men in segregated Pakistan it was riveting stuff. Eventually we went to bed on rather pungent mattresses in an adjacent storeroom.

I cycled 67 km in 6 hours & 1 minute
Total so far 11192 km in 173 days

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