I wasn't discouraged by Mr. Bagh. I remembered that the Altit Fort was seeable from Karimabad (right). I took off before sunrise, followed the rough drawing in the Lonely Planet book, headed to Duikar. The full moon still hang above the beautiful Hunza Valley, and the cold air was the freshest of the day, before it was polluted by the diesel jeeps.
Duikar situated higher than Karimabad. But to reach there I had to first go down to a low valley and climb up again. The only access was a steep, rough jeep road exactly one vehicle wide. The sun started to rise. The orange tip of the snow mountains had made a high contrast to the remaining shadowy landscape(below). However, in the valley one can hardly see the classic sunrise from the horizon. In fact by the sun emerged from the mountain, it might well be highnoon already. I said hello to most people I met on the way, only found it difficult to do so when not making a eye contacts to some women.
In Duikar, I didn't realize that I had reached the end of the path until some curious heads emerged from the doors and windows in nearby house. I had seemed to intrude someone's backyard. Returning from Duikar, I took a left turn at the junction and hiked toward the Altit Fort. It was still early than 07h00. Some villagers kindly told me that the Fort wouldn't open until nine, by which time I had to catch the bus to Sost, the last frontier town before the Pakistani/Chinese border. The Fort was built on a small hill, at its foot there was a village, where the buildings and way of life were preserved more traditionally than those in Karimabad. I would have the time to explore the village, but doing so I would probably invade the villagers' privacy. On my way back, a convoy of jeep started to carry tens of western patrons in sunglasses, hats and scarves to Altit direction, leaving tons of dust behind.
I returned to the Mountain View before 08h00, and quietly told Mr. Bagh that I had visited both places he mentioned yesterday. His reaction was rather indifferent. Still, he offered me a jeep ride as he would go to Ganesh after breakfast, so that I could catch the passing-by bus to Sost.
Before I jumped out of the jeep, I once again shook Mr. Bagh's soft, warm and somehow reluctant hand. He pointed to a shop by which the bus would stop, then we said good-bye. Base on calculation, the first bus would pass by around 11h00. Anxiety rose when nothing arrived by that time. Sensing this, the shopkeeper told me that the road ahead was blocked. But his English wasn't good enough to communicate as to what went wrong, and I didn't know if I should trust the words from one man. I determined to wait. By noon a group of tourist came from the opposite direction. It was confirmed that the road was blocked due to the tribal dispute on work territories. It was the first time I whole trip was in jeopardy. It was only the four day I was in Pakistan. What if I was not able to continue, where should I go? Peshawa? I didn't have the guide book... Question like this suddenly came into my agenda. But I kept my hope, especially seeing some police cars driving toward the direction.
I waited until I realized that I wasn't able to reach Sost that day even the road was reopened. I walked back to Karimabad. Not wanting to see Mr. Bagh again, I checked in to the Refuge Hotel in the bazaar. I had plenty of time, I needed to regroup. I took a long, relaxing lunch, served by a boy who spoke impeccable English. He politely answered my questions that what subjects he learned in school. He learned English from a Canadian teacher who voluntarily stayed and taught in Karimabad. Children in Hunza only needed to pay a symbolic tuition (Rs15 per semester) to enjoy the education no worse and perhaps better than anywhere in Pakistan. Going back to my room, I turned on the ceiling fan and enjoyed a long siesta until later afternoon. On the street I saw the man who I met the day before and I promised to visit his home on my way back from Kashgar. He tried to persuade me buy the artifact made by his wife. I had no excuse but visited his home but I still said I would only buy the stuff on my way back. It was the first time I entered a Pakistani's home. The were only kitchen and bedrooms. The former was extremely dark, while the latter were quite bright, with numerous flies buzzing when we were talking. I also visited some bookshops, in hope of finding a used copy of guide book in case I had to visit other places if the road was permanently blocked. Before dusk, I had my dull but pricy supper at the Ultar restaurant, ironically recommended the Lonely Planet.
Early evening in Karimabad was still rather alive. On my way back to the hotel, I happened to stand beside a western man watching villagers making nans. I had been seeing him in the previously day. Very decent, polite, and discreet, he dressed in shawal quamiz, did not look like a ordinary tourist but a sociologist. He was from the US, he said. Since we both had plenty of time, we sat down on the hotel terrace, enjoying the breeze and the softdrinks with his companion, another American man, and two other Pakistani entrepreneurs. The Americans, was a deeply religious, self-appointed missionary. Before they came to Pakistan, they had tirelessly traveled to numerous countries. He even told the story of how he was nearly expelled by the Chinese government who didn't like the kind of activity. I admired him and his devotion. I listened quietly as he talked. But perhaps my subtle reaction convinced him that he couldn't convert me to a Christian before I left Karimabad. Before we said good-bye, the hotel manager told us that the tribal dispute had been resolved and the road reopened again. Needless to say hope was reborn. But I also had doubt.