It has been long since I last blogged. Life has become so crazy that I seldom get a chance to do things that I once loved doing. May be I still crave for them but being a corporate slave that I have become over the years, whatever little time I get after work, I spent it mostly with family, taking care of household chores or occasionally visiting friends.
Last year i.e. 2011 turned out to be a good year for me Alhamdulilah. I traveled to some great places, met some amazing people and managed to brave through some pretty tough times, learning some important lessons of life all along the way.
I thought about blogging each one of these lessons several times but sometimes fell short of money they call “time” and sometimes I fell in the trap of thoughts that considered it all meaningless. However, today, I have decided to blog a little so as to re-live some of these experiences.
Like many Pakistanis, I used to wonder what good is in this country that is making super powers crazy about it. The many problems of my country acted like blinders and did not let me be aware of the incredible things that Pakistan is blessed with.I came to know of these blessings only after my trip to the North of Pakistan.
In May last year, a couple of friends and I decided to go to Gilgit to conduct a workshop on Digital Privacy - looking at its various forms from technical and legislation perspective. It was being conduced as part of the ongoing TakeBackTheTech campaign and since we had mostly been doing events and activities in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad earlier, this time we decided to go beyond these urban centers and to the Karakoram International University in Gilgit city.
The weather was not perfect for flights those days so, we had no option but to embark on a road journey from Islamabad to Gilgit. I had never traveled from one city to another by road earlier and there I was going on an average 20 hour one-way journey. However, it was one of the most fabulous experiences that I have had in my life up until now. It did not just make me witness the beauty of nature but also be thankful about the luxuries that we urbanites are blessed with and that we take for granted.
Rather than writing it all down, I will share some pictures and videos from my trip so, you get to digitally experience the awesomeness of it too. Here you go folks!
Look at the mountains and this is just the beginning…
The lovely Karakoram River.
View from my hotel room
In Gilgit you will find roses all around. It’s piece of heaven for a person like me who adores flowers
The beautiful Rakaposhi - It’s 27th highest mountain in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan. More on it here.
The Convergence Point - where Karakoram Range, Himalayas and Hindukush all converge. SubhanAllah!
Nanga Parbat - the Killer Mountain which’s 9th highest in the world. More on it here.
It was an amazing experience to have Nanga Parbati Nashta (breakfast at the hotel right opposite Nanga Parbat). It was yummilicious and the most delicious daal that I’ve had in my life was at a roadside hotel in Dasu - KPK.
Blast induced land-sliding that kept us waiting for almost 2 hours and gave me an opportunity to practice my Mandarin with Chinese Engineers working on-site to widen Karakoram Highway which is in real bad shape after 2005 earth-quake and 2010 floods.
Real land-sliding that happened moments before we had to cross that point. It took the hard-working labor a while to clear highway. Many of these young labor die every year as many a times land-sliding recurs while they are clearing the highway and falling rocks push even huge buldozers 1000s of feet down, into the valley. You thought corporate jobs are tough? Think again!
An earthquake hit home which got damaged in 2005 earthquake. Where billions of dollars aid that came for relief of earthquake victims went, is still a question. You would see many people still living in temporary shelters and tents.
Pine trees and the pine wood that is heavily being used in making houses and furniture in the urban centers - major cause of deforestation of Pine trees.
A computer center in Dasu - Just to click this picture, I took a 5 minute walk all alone in an area which is demanding implementation of Shria law and no woman can be seen on roads. Felt brave of course but don’t ask what my family’s reaction was
Here are pictures of another Computer research center in another area. It was closed at the time we crossed this area otherwise would have gathered more information about what exactly they do and teach.
Cold water springs that could be seen at every short distance while driving through Karakoram Highway.
Tatta Paani - the hot water springs which are known to have cure for many skin diseases because of high sulpher concentration.
This is all for today, shall try blog again and give your a virtual tour of some other great places that I visited last year. Pakistan Zindabad!