Maureen's Adventures in Asia travel blog

Living the high life - our own jeep and driver. The trip started out easy - paved road until Teru. We spent the night outside Phandar near the lake. The hotel was a dump, but the area was nice. Outr next stop was Phandar, which was just plain cold. Went for a great hike up the mountain.

Early morning start as we cross the Shandur Pass into Chitral Valley. After Teru the road turned to gravel and rock. Many landslides which I'm told is normal. These mountains are still growing, and the plates underneath are still shifting. In some places, trucks were stuck and the road was just a pile of rocks left over from the last rockslide. Bridges aere small streams were just logs strewn across the road. As we drove, the altitude increase. At 3810 m, we arrived in Shandur Pass. It was cold, but there was very little snow on the ground. After registering with the police, we continued down into the valley. There was alot of snow in the first village, but the town of Mastuj (our home for the next two days) was the colour of autumn.

Faint reds, vibrant oranges, hints of green. A hint of frost in the air that disipated with the first rays of sunshine. Roses still bloom in the garden of my hotel. The hardiness like the opele of this valley.

Ramadan is ending tomorrow, so tonight the ladies of the village will paint their hands with henna and we are invited

The red henna leaves an indulable image on my hand just as Pakistan and its people have left an impression on my heart and soult. On the eve of El Fetra, the women of Mastuj adhorn themselves with henna designs. The daughter of the guesthouse owner has brought my boring white hands to life with the vibrant read-rust henna. Flowers vines, and leaves adorn my right hand while dot flowers and geometic pattersn are found on my left hand. As the daughter applies the henna its cool touch tickles my hand. Jaffir's family has opened not only his gueshouse to us, but also his family's home and traditions. We are the only people here sowe take dinner with the fasmily in the kitchen. Late into the evening, we sat with the women of the family. They mixed the nenna powder with warm water stiring until its consistency was perfect and then allowed it to set while designs and pattersn were revciewed and final decisions were made. The design on my hand was formed with a simplew twick.

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