Thursday, September 5, 2013

Karakoram Highway: Gilgit

The motivation for our rest day was largely driven by a desire to see a few of the sights around the town. In the end we got lazy and just spent the day riding around town and relaxing at the hotel. Being at the hotel so much has offered us the opportunity to get to know the manager well.

We have nicknamed him Eugene because, aside from the signature eyebrows and mannerisms, every encounter with him could be a sketch from SCTV. Possibly the most anxious and awkward hotel employee that I've ever seen.

In town, we were approached by a stranger, Quyam, who invited us in to his place for some tea. It sounds like the start of a story with a bad ending, but its not. We drank milk tea as he walked us through his photo album. There were a few shots from his childhood, but most were from the 60s and 70s, when he had spent some years in Spain selling jewelry on the Ramblas in Barcelona and on the beaches in Ibiza. It looked like he'd been a bit of a player. He told us stories about the people he'd met and the adventures he had. It was 40 years ago, but he still remembered it with detail.

Quyam also shared photos of people who had stayed at his guest house. It seems there is an odd variety of people who come through this part of the world. He had a photo of a man from california with a white beard that must have reached past his belly button. The man had come to Pakistan in search of cure AIDS.

We parted ways and went searching for dinner. I saw a kid with a tracy of food that I'd never seen before, but which looked delicious. I chased him down the street to see what it was...he said "chat", or something like that and showed us where to get it. Chat is a delightful mix of chickpeas, onions, cheese, some kind of crunchy stuff...and I don't know...but it is delicious.


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