PAKISTAN Oct 2 - Oct 11 2004
Arr ISB 0630 met by cheery Mark Lyall Grant ushered though
immigration and customs.
1st Minibus trip to Serena Hotel - luxury 3 hrs kip
Lunch at British club by the pool then off to Jinnah Stadium.
Biggest crowd capacity we've played but with smallest crowd.
Well worth the £100 rental for the 2 - 0 victory alone.
Pete Knight gets some stitches put in his forehead - attention
seeker. Presented with splendid walnut carved coffee cup
holders in exchange for clean shirts and small glass commemoration
plaque. Good swap.
Team bonding falls apart with OE only dinner - smart shirts
with collar presented - useful for planned Khyber visit.
TAXILA - CHICKEN SHACK
1000 Sheila picks up tourist section for trip to Taxila
(from c.7000 BC) Buddhist foundations and monastery - lots
of Buddha heads missing like Afghan statues. Kind curator
opened on his day off (laundry day?) for the High Commissioner
who sadly had a meeting at the last minute.
Lunch/swim at British Club - squash/golf/shop for the athletic.
Evening meal at one of Pakistan's top 10 restaurants -
Chicken Shack up in the hills. Not best advert for the rest.
But pleasant - Mark and Sheila remembered plenty of beers.
ISB - PESHAWAR - DIR
Early rush to bus to wait for Pete and James then hurry
to catch plane in Peshawar. Picked up cheery Alberto informed
us on arrival that the planes were not flying. Popped into
no firearm hotel for breakfast and saw pilots popping upstairs
with girlfriends - definitely no flights today.
Clear, mostly windless 2 hr drive to Dir - arrived after
dark dreadful road but quite an adventure. 16 for the night
no problem in only hotel. Duty free mineral water a Godsend.
DIR - AYUN - KALASH
0445 called to prayer, 0515 birds start the hymns. Chili
omelette then on the road again - spectacular to Lowari
pass (3200 m). Saw Fokker pass overhead to abuse from ground.
Footie and frisbee at the top ooops bye border patrol.
Spectacular valley Trich Mir (7700 m) at the end Ayun Farm
beautiful place. Inspected Schools to chorus of "Wel
- come! Wel - come!"
Up to Kalash living zoo. Alberto zeros in on female CIA
agent. Ciao bella. Jolly dancing evening of Chitrali music
AYUN - CHITRAL
Morning visit to hospital (non patients) and school in
Ayun then lunch in lovely garden and long walk down cannabis
lined paths to the river and finally the enormous football
Smelly game with great cheers and amplified commentator.
"Beautiful shot Graham sahib" "High Commissioners
team annoying the donkeys" Half time crowd went wild
with annoyed donkey polo (reason for most being there) .
Night drive to Hindukush Heights (not licensed!!!) found
old geezer offering plum wine and worried about the wind.
CHITRAL - ISB
0730 there are clouds but at Chitral airport the plane
is on its way to rescue us. The pilot returns to his girlfriend
though and we are once more into that bus.
The bridge is just getting interesting when the torrential
rain causes torrents across the road and the bus looks like
being stranded - no probs "2 no trumps". Saif
does amazing job and we are back in comfortable Islamabad
Saif is at the door by 1000 to take us all shopping for
pirate DVDs at £1.50. Intellectual copyright conscience
is cleared on learning senior UK politicians love the place.
A few pairs of uncomfortable looking shoes, great alarm
clocks and passing Andrew in the jeweller's and we are lunch
at the club bound. Quick swim then last game.
Pro ref and team of Brits (Scots) swearing and pushing
around. Pete K scored a cracking header goal disallowed
(no way offside blindy), Ed sounded like Ghengis Khan so
conceded a few more free kicks than he earned. One Ronaldhinioed
in past Seamen Parry 1 - 2 to them.
Hit the wine/beers at the BarBQ until 0030 informed BA
flight canx due to weather (pilot's girlfriend trouble again)
posse sent to airport to get onto PIA flight. Simon sent
back for incoherence 0345 still partying in the hotel.
ISB - LHR
Well done team we made it onto Economy plus - upstairs
with leg room and view out of the front. Home but where's
Kids wanted to know the scores wife wanted to know why
Andrew was the only one in the jewellery store.
||ISB-LHR Graham Richards is sole survivor