dec 25 9.45am
got a good nights rest in this warm room and warmer bed - coal burning bukhari stays warm longer, burns more efficiently than the wood - ofcourse they use the coal abundantly for us - we are guests after all, and women and old(er) - imagine having us shiver even for a moment, in this all male world where i have not only invited myself but another female stranger, to use their quarters and accept their hospitality. no cold hearth for us ladies at Mr.Bashir's guest quarters.
Karim served us breakfast exactly at 8.30am as he had promised last night. thick flaky paratha and as many cups of tea as we wanted. i changed into my waterproof trekking pants, silk leg warmers and everything else that could keep me warm and comfortable. we both bought our tashkorgan tickets rs.1800 each. i changed rs.6000 to rmb, and now waiting for customs to open up so we can complete immigration and get going. its another clear sunny day. the town as scruffy a place as can be. i took a little walk thinking id come across something interesting, frost burned cabbage and carrots, men floating around the one street town, dust and exhaust smoke from the cars covering everything that isn't covered by snow, boarded up shops and dead end gallis, is all i found. impatient to leave town now -- though i know ill miss the Mr.Bashirs of the world. we take our own coutry'men' so much for granted - they are the most helpful gracious men I've met - this is true from Pindi to Sost! baggage checked, bodies searched, bus loaded and off we go!
click click click --- write write write, listen, talk, listen, talk, keep clicking - only gets better and better riding on the front seat of this bus to china with 25 Pakistani traders and one chain smoking bus driver - Ali.