8th July 2000
We had a relaxing morning in the luxury suites of the Hunza PTDC. The water here has a peculiar color to it. It looks grey and velvety as it flows like fine silk it gives the impression that millions of tiny specks of silver are mixed with the water. Breakfast was with an Iranian couple they are based in Islamabad at the consulate and are proceeding to China by road in their Honda Accord. The front tire of the Honda had burst on them while negotiating a turn when the driver hit a rock, he wanted advice on where to get a replacement.
Later in the day we drove up to Karimabad and took the right fork just before the main shopping center to Altit fort. The road is a Kutcha track, which winds from one side of the mountain to the other crossing over a wooden bridge over a waterfall, which is quite spectaqular. The fort is set on top of a hill with a vertical drop on the riverside so that access is limited to only one side. The drop of the hill towards the river, which flows in torrents down below, is more than a thousand feet. The fort is very old and in desperate need of repairs.
Our next stop was the Baltit fort which is located on the other side of the valley. It belonged to the other brother and has been recently renovated by the Aga Khan Trust. It looks quite majestic as it stands in the midst of the picturesque Hunza valley. On the way up to the fort I saw a VW beetle parked at a precarious angle on the slope of the road. After inquiring about its owner I was lead to this house where an army officer greeted me with a beaming smile, He was obviously very proud of his possession as are all VW owners, including myself. We were offered fresh cherries and drinks for refreshments.
The tour around the fort is highly recommended. We had a two-hour tour with our guide giving us information on the history of the area and its people, he spoke seven languages including Japanese. I took plenty of photographs and bought feathers of chakoors which I later stitched onto my felt hat. We walked down to the shops and to our surprise we discovered Caf� de Hunza a small caf� with a corner for books and cards. I also met Sher Ali who owns the traditional shawl-making house of Hunza. I have been looking for Murgh- e-Zareen feathers, which, one of the shopkeeper has promised to cure for me, I will collect it on our way back. Susan bought a rug of Iranian origin, hand made in wool, which she plans to use as a wall hanging. We drove back to the PTDC and had dinner. Later in the night we went out for a stroll down the road with Taimur and Patricia for an hour before bed.