Thursday, December 11, 2008

to the wedding
in the summer we got invited to Nadia's (guls sister) and Farman's wedding in dec-- Nafeesah had planned on attending since she was going to be in islamabad for the winter -- my plans to be in pakistan in dec were completely unplanned and unexpected, but since i was going to be here and going to Kashgar i decided to join her - its on the way after all --Tahir the dad, and Mohi the little brother had decided to join us as well.
dec 11 08 5pm
waiting at the pir wadhai bus station in Pindi for the Andrabi clan -Tahir, Mohi and Nafeesah to show up. bus leaves at 6pm. Gul's escorting all of us. needless to say the Gilgit flight they had planned on taking didn't make it this morning. instead Nafeesah and i shopped for the gold and silver covered tokras, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, rice, sugar,salt, tea...well pack it all up in shimshal---for the bride and grooms families. add the karachi khawaja and habshi halwa methai id had shahla buy for me and voila! shes excited, so am i - imagine on a public bus on the kkh in middle of winter! Gul says its been snowing in Gilgit and Hunza so who knows what the road conditions will be. imagine Shimshal in winter.
45 minutes into our ride and were back at Pir Wadhai bus stop, engine problems driver has to fix. some folks are pissed - we're chilling -- wasn't exactly expecting bus to break down in 45 minutes, but glitches? normal!

our 18 hour bus ride from Pindi to Gilgit turned out to be a 24 hour journey on the kkh , --- Nafeesah aptly threw up all over the already filthy bus floor as soon as we got off in Gilgit. that's it, ive had enough of this bus ride! puke puke-- wed been in that darned bus a whole long day and night - 6 hours of which were spent in a stationary bus in the middle of nowhere on a gorgeous full moon dec night. does that deserve a little puking or what?
noor ali greeted us and took us for a quick snack to his home, greedy souls we all ate while Gul organised the next bus ride and loaded up our bags. must have been 0 deg outside. we drove on to hunza all huddled in the smaller jeep, spending the night at the embassy hotel -- basic, clean, empty, no hot water. but at rs 1000 a night, decent food, and magnificent scenery -- light snow in the beautiful evening light --- we were simply glad to just be some place closer to our destination. the weather and simple arrangements weren't important.
slept a good nights sleep under heavy covers and woke up to light snow fall and a beautiful winter morning -- the hunza river blue, the only color in this all brown and white landscape. Mohi excited beyond words. us three as well, except excitement gets diluted with age. no jumping on ice puddles, no pointing to every bird, screaming out to dad for every new thing in sight. o well there were other ways ----the constant smiling faces , the always feeling happy, inspite of runny noses, cold feet, cold hands, not to mention cold water, the joy of sipping tea around a small gas stove, the relief of kicking off boots and warming those frozen toes on the same stove that hands were being toasted and tea cups warmed.

dec 13 08 2pm
arrived at Passu, waiting for Gul to arrange our jeeps to Shimshal. we're impatient waiting in the cold afternoon, meanwhile the whole village seems asleep - no ones around. turns out its the Imams birthday so everyones at the jamaat khana celebrating. what a contrast from the summer, barely anyone on the streets, snow covering everything, the scenery even more spectacular and grander than the summer. Mohis getting antsy as hell, hes been talking non stop, asking a gazillion questions, making observations (aloud) writing in his journal all the way so far. you want to give him a huge hug and strangle him all at the same time - shut up already you adorable boy. Nafeesahs still a little under the weather - stomachs acting up. Tahirs blown away with the scenery -wasn't expecting it to be this spectacular. this is even before getting to the Shimshal gorge. me - I've lost my voice almost completely. a little frustrating cause cant talk or sing, but gives me quiet time to absorb, observe and ponder over my own thoughts and feelings without constant interruption of conversation. so while i hug and cuddle Mohi in silence, Tahir answers his every question and nafeesah patiently humors her brother nursing her cramps all the while.

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