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Back to Karakul on Karakoram Highway

In a cold windy Pamir and a growling stomach.

View A Thread of Silk on automidori's travel map.

Karakoram Highway, August 21st 2012

I'm hitting Karakoram Highway again, heading back to Karakul for the night. My guide had left me again. This time for good.

The Pamir Mountains along Karakoram Highway seemed to have her own charm for every time of the day. As my driver drove, I was speechless watching the sun going down behind, my driver said "Kunggul Mountain". I hope my ears got him right. Or did he mean "Kongur Mountain"? Whatsoever, it's for sure the member of Pamir Mountains. I'm not trying to defend myself nor make a self appraisal, but I want to tell you that the larger this photo is viewed, the more details you can get. You can see tiny circles around the sun, larger, larger, until the top of the sky. You can see ray of lights from the sun shooting down. You can see the vague layers of mountain. You can see the poles and wires stretching deep into the desert below. If you were here, you can be speechless, too.

In this case, the horizontal wires might be bothering instead. Nevertheless, I would like to show you the different direction of the sun ray. It's not pointing down, but up. It reminds me of the Rising Sun Flag of Japan.

On the other side of the highway was this.

My driver pulled over. I opened the door and whoooo...! The wind howled into my ears. My driver gestured to pull up the cap that's attached to my shirt. However, it was useless, because the wind blew it off right away. Actually, before this picture, I captured a close up of the lady milking the yak. But due to the low light plus my whole shaking body, the shot resulted blur. This one looks bright because I increased the ISO to 4000. It was actually half dark already. On the other hand, the lady seemed to be avoiding my camera. So I didn't push my way to get closer to her.

Awww... so cute, are they not? I felt like brushing my finger into their thick fur and cuddle one of them. I returned to the car to put on my jacket which cap could be tied around my neck.

But my bare face still couldn't stand the wind. I returned to the car, thinking that I could take pictures from inside the car. I couldn't. My car was filled with stereo wind music. I had to roll the window up to stop this cold music. Whooo... Meanwhile, the milk-woman walked away, heading into the yurt. Maybe she too couldn't stand the wind?

The wind was fiercer than this morning at Bulungkol, because there was no more sunlight by now. To make matters worse, my stomach started to join the chorus of wind, making noises within itself. It was pass 10:00 PM and my last meal was 10 hours ago. I had thought my driver pulled over here to take me for dinner. I was totally wrong. He then gestured that he was going to pray. He went into the yurt and came out with a kettle which looked exactly like the ones in my Ali Baba story book when I was a kid. I never thought such kettles still existed in real life. Yeah, I had seen those kettles in Tashkorgan Market just now. My driver brought that kettle with him across the highway. He went down and disappeared. This was the second time he went down there. Okay, maybe the first time was to do business in quotation marks. When he emerged for that second time with Ali Baba's kettle, I thought everything was done. I was wrong for the second time. He went into the yurt and didn't come out.

How was the view across the highway? Like this.

I didn't check how long my driver was inside the yurt. But it seemed ages. My stomach complained harder. I couldn't blame it. It's not just that you tend to burn more calories in cold weather, it's even pass dinner time!

At last I decided to get off the car, push myself through the windstorm, and get into the yurt. I'm going to ask for food. Anything will go. But as I made my first step, my driver suddenly emerged from the yurt. "Sorry," he said in English. And then he made the praying gesture again. What?? Was he praying inside the yurt or under the highway just now? If he had gone under the highway to wash himself (a Moslem ritual before praying), that would have been too long. But if he was there to wash and then pray, what was he doing inside the yurt then? Eating? Argh.

I really didn't mind waiting for him to pray. You can say I'm actually accustomed to that. But I really mind if he makes that praying time an excuse of neglecting me. I have been surrounded by Moslems more than half of my life. I know very well how long it takes to wash oneself and to make a prayer. On the other hand, doesn't he realize what time he brought me for lunch and what time it is now? Talk about giving alms to the poor. How about a terribly hungry customer? Wouldn't it have been wiser if he had arranged a place for me to have my dinner while he made his prayer? That if he had truly spent the whole for praying.

Posted by automidori 08:10 Archived in China Tagged snow desert china xinjiang pamir karakoram_highway

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