It’s finally time to say see you later to the beautiful land of Pakistan. Our tuk tuk is sailing towards Turkey, and we are once again forced to take on wings and fly. Our two week speed marathon through Pakistan turned out to be a month and a half of slowly immersing deeper into a world stigmatized by western media.
Day after day we were amazed by the hospitality and kindness of the Pakistani people, and spending that extra time allowed us to learn more about the true meanings behind the Islamic religion. Unlike what we both thought, true Muslims are peaceful, helpful, open, truthful and truly wonderful people. Of course there are bad seeds in every tree, but we did not run into a single one.
On the contrary we made connections to people of all ages that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We bonded with grandmothers, fathers, brothers and sisters as well as a few of the beggar children. Noticing we were to spend some time here, we extemporarily decided to take time for a holiday after nearly 1.5 years of working every single day towards this project.
Juho will soon be leaving for two weeks to spend a holiday with his family and relatives in Portugal, so he stayed in Karachi to do work. He is getting psyched because he has not had a chance to see his son for 7 months save the digital image through the magic of internet. I on the other hand took the chance last week to experience the awesomeness of the north of Pakistan.
I risked wasting my personal savings on a whim, and bought a ticket through the Independence day blockade of Islamabad (Izzy), though everyone advised me not to. I didn’t even know whether I was getting a visa extension or whether I was facing deportation, but I bought the ticket anyway because I trust my intuition and the power of my will. Everyone was sure I would get stuck in Izzy and spend my holiday there trying to get back out so I would reach Karachi before our flight to Turkey, but with luck everything went perfectly.
I flew into Izzy on the eve of Independence day (13th of August) and managed to book a ride from Rawalpindi (Pindi) to Gilgit with a car driven by Sheraz, a friend of a friend. Sheraz was to be in Pindi by the time I got there, but he could not get in due to the blockade, so plan B was in the making. Luckily in the dark of the night the road blocks opened up only to be shut again soon after. Sheraz managed to get in, but now we were in the car trying to get out of the twin cities at 2 am.
After being turned away from 2 roadblocks we met 3 other cars that were trying to get out. Luckily one of them knew a secret way through the small sandy roads of an ancient town that I do not remember the name of. As the sun started to rise, so did the mountains and our spirits. It was magic.
Not having slept a wink I wanted to doze off into dreamland, but the scenery was just too beautiful to allow my eyes any rest. Winding up the mountains for hours on end and swimming in a mountain lake, we made our way to the junction of the three big ones. This is where Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalya, three of the worlds largest mountain ranges start from spreading all the way to Afganistan, China and Nepal. We ventured past all the way to a dreamy place called Phandar valley.
We spent 2 days in Phandar swimming in the fresh mountain lake, eating apricots from the trees, fresh fish from the streams, and drinking local lassi made by the villagers. Never have I had such a beautiful view from the window of a toilet.
Despite peoples trepidation’s about our safety, we decided to head to a place called Fairy Meadows. Once again intuition and willpower paid off, because just the ride up was worth it let alone the view and atmosphere of the meadows. Fairy Meadows is situated at 3,300m looking up at the worlds ninth largest 8,126m giant called Nanga Parbat, the naked mountain. I was touching heaven.
Nothing I say will do justice to the place so I advise all of you to take the chance, take the perfect company, and go there to see it for yourself because it is simply amazing. After 2 days there it was a nice 22 hour bus ride back to Pindi for a quick flight to Karachi.
This was the perfect holiday with perfect people, and coming back to Karachi to meet up with all the other beautiful people made it even better.
Our time in Pakistan has been a gift to us as well as our project. To some of these uniquely awesome individuals we made truly deep connections that I am certain will last for a lifetime. You guys took us into your homes, helped us out in times of need, and we will do our best to help you guys visit us in Finland.
We know it is hard for you to get any sort of visas due to the stigmas nailed onto your country’s reputation, but we will do all we can because it would be a shame to let politics come in the way of such beautiful human connections.
It really makes us sad to say see you later Pakistan, even though we still have a huge smile on our faces waiting for our next destination. We are now on our stop over at U.A.E waiting for our flight to Turkey.
I’m glad to see Juho again, and while Juho is psyched about seeing his son, I am psyched to see my baby at the port of Mersin to continue our awesome journey home.
Thank you to all, you guys are the best!