Current Pakistan Time
13 June, 2003: Hello from balmy
Islamabad - 114 F in the shade & all is well and we feel safe and are ready to
go. Most team members have made it now but for one German violinist catching
up in a few days time.
I am enjoying reuniting with
Mike Hale, the new company of Canadian John McBirnie, Aussie Malte Hagge,
Belgium Fredrick Muylaert, and working hard on my Spanish to connect with the
three Basques sharing our permit. We are already feeling good about the group
and ready to go. We have a whiffle ball and bat, a cribbage set, a few heavy
books, a nerf ball, some pop-tarts and a few items needed for climbing!
Everything necessary for 6 weeks of fun in the Karakoram. Easy arrival in a
nice airplane, picked up by Field Touring's local staff and whisked liked
royalty to a 4 star hotel with AC and cable TV.
After a short sleep we were
up having breakfast filling out forms, packing the bulk of our gear that went
earlier today by 35 hour ride to Skardu (our plane ride will be 1 hour!!!!)
afternoon walks, rests and off for the evening shopping. We spent this evening
running around the bazaars searching out bargains and last minute purchases,
with Zahoor our lean taxi driver who laughed and haggled for us and drove us
anywhere we liked. Islamabad seems like most of the major Asian cities...a
Bright shops, narrow dusty
alleyways full of hawkers, military with AK-47s slung on their shoulders
keeping the peace, people interested in engaging us in conversation... There
is a smell here, not disdainful on ones nose, that evokes humanity living and
working and surviving on the edge, the thread of religion permeating the
entire scenery, as if being the one link that is strong and bold enough to
hold the whole thing together.
Most streets look the same as
the last and the modern block style of buildings and steets of Islamabad I
think reflect the fact that it is relatively modern (built to take over for
Karachi and consolidate punjabi power about 40 years ago) I enjoyed a frank
discussion of politics earlier today in the hotel with a computer programmer
looking for better work in Canada or USA who is worried that 9/11 and Iraq
will make it hard for him to come. We fly to Skardu tomorrow , thumping down
on a little mountain airstrip in a B737-200 with out the benefit of an
instrument landing. I've been told its one of the great mountain flights in
the world, flying past and underneath the summit of Nanga Parbat. The journey,
but, has already begun.
From an amazing little internet café, on an amazing street corner, in amazing
Rawalpindi, Pakistan, This is Stu, signing off.
Stuart Remensnyder near hotel, Islamabad
Thought for the day: life is short, there is no time to hate
Photo copyright Dave Hancock
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.