into Pakistan

into Pakistan

China-Tashkurgan-morning light-mountain-street
in the morning in Tashkurgan

[ Sept.1996 ] In the morning in Tashkurgan, a village near the border in China after staying one night, our bus disappeared with our luggage at 9 am which was supposed to be the departure time.

While we were waiting for the bus for quite a long time, there were more back packers came along who were not in the bus the day before.

It seemed that there had been another bus from Kashgar.

At last our bus came back, probably after some work of maintenance at a garage.

Around Tashkurgan, they say that many Tajik people lived and I saw some beautiful women wearing the beautiful hats.

China-Tashkurgan-Tajik woman-hat-cycling
a cycling Tajik woman

The hats were black in cylindrical shape with intricate embroideries and they were wearing a scarf on top of them.

I wanted one, but Tashkurgan was not the sort of village with souvenir shops.

Now we departed and soon after that there was the Chinese passport control office.

Here I saw the Japanese tourists group of 23 people whom I had seen in Kashgar.

Apparently normally the group tourists would not get a stamp on their passports at this checkpoint, but because the customers wanted one, the tour conductor was asking the officers to stamp them by giving them some stickers and other small things.

I imagine being a tour conductor is a very hard job.

And because of this, we had to wait for a long time.

Pakistan-near Sust-fence-stones
a sign of people’s life after entering Pakistan

Eventually we got the stamp and got back into the bus and I found that much fewer people were on board.

That was because quite a few Uighur people could not pass the checkpoint.

Instead of people, now there were more luggage in the bus.

Those were the goods Pakistani people were carrying, for example, one man had 58 blankets.

Also many boxes which contained Thermos flasks were brought in and one of them broke a glass of the bus window.

I wondered if they would pay for that or this bus would go on without the glass for ages from now on…

By the way, I had to use a couple toilets at the checkpoints, which was outrageous.

Pakistan-near Sust-valley-grey
greyish valley

There was a hole diagonally dug and it was full of excrement.

You need to be prepared if you need to use one.

Now we approached the 4700 metres Khunjerab Pass.

I expected that the bus would stop at least here, but no, it went on as it was not the tourist bus, but a local regular bus.

Until here, the Chinese side was pasture and I saw some animals which could be yaks, but after we passed the sign which said China on one side and Pakistan on the other and another sign saying “Keep Left”, the scenery changed to dark lagged rocky mountains without many grass.

In China, the cars went on the right hand side of the road, but in Pakistan it was opposite as Pakistan was a British colony.

The downhill from the Pass was quite steep.

The colour of the river water was now grey.

Pakistan-around Sust-mountain-summit
clear top of a mountain

The bus stopped for a while at the Pakistani checkpoint, so I had a chance to take some photos.

Then finally we arrived at our destination, Sust.

I could not tell how long we were sitting on the battered bus as we had to change our time, turning three hours back.

From the bus stop we took a taxi to Khunjerab View Hotel.

The room was like a log cabin and it cost 400 rupee ($1=37.53 rupee in those days) per night, which was much cheaper than in China.