We just arrived safely in Besham, the last 27km under armed escort (two friendly guys on a 100cc motorbike carrying an AK), staying at the Pakistan Tourism Development Centre tonight, more guys with AK’s here too.
We’ve been lucky to spend the last few days with the president of MAP, a great guy called Marwat. Marwat took us to his summer home about 50km out of Islamabad in the hills, where we ate and drank, visited some hill stations and generally just talked about life in Pakistan. Really interesting guy. We really hope to see him again. I’d love to tell you what we got up to, but unfortunately it would get Marwat into trouble…
“So Marwat, what are the other haram things in Islam?” I asked
“alcohol, hashish, sex before marriage and bacon…”
“Yeah all the fun things!!” blurts out Sally
Marwat coughs and then bursts out laughing, lucky he has a good sense of humor!!
The police escort today was pretty low key and relaxed, but still I was a little edgy. So when we stopped in a blind corner for no apparent reason I had to try not to freak out.
The corner turned out to have a monument at it, commemorating the KKH, and they wanted us to climb it and take some pics. This took some time to communicate as we don’t understand Urdu, but we got it finally and even breathed a sigh of relief on realising that our ‘guards’ were actually playing tour guide as well.
So we took some pics and then did the last stint into Besham still under guard. It took some stiff negotiation to get a room for a reasonable price…
“ok so the room is $42 huh?”
“but it’s free if we camp in the garden?”
“And we’re the only people here… OK so I’ll give you $15 for a room”
“no I can not”
“ok well we’ll either pay $15 for a room, or we’ll camp for free…”
“ok we’ll camp then”
5 mins later… “ok room for $20 ok?”