11. Where is the English man? Islamabad-Mansehra

We were told it shouldn’t take more than 3 days. Considering that for Pakistani 1 day means usually 1 week we knew it would take a while to get visa to India. Our couchsurfing host, with whom we spent a great couple of days in Islamabad introduced us to his elite journalist friends which we joined for their celebration dinner. He gave us a photography crash course and showed us his mini documentaries that show the beauty of Pakistan. We decided not to wait for our visas but collect them after Hunza. Ready to explore Gilgit-Baltistan we came back to the road looking for a ride. After few taxi drivers asking for money one man stopped asking where we were going. “Taxila, paise naheen!” which means no money. He insisted no problem and even though his yellow taxi looking car was a little suspicious we entered.

Pakistan Monument. With our best host Fahim

At the gas station he guessed we are going to Naran. He couldn’t speak much English so we drove and drove and we stupidly thought that he was taking us out of generosity or he’s going the same way. Callum sensed something was wrong so we decided to stop early in Mansehra. We thanked him and there it was, the magical word: “money”. I stormed off as I hate liers and we walked away to the nearest hotel but the guy followed us and started to talk to the receptionist. After explaining him the situation we left while the driver was still arguing in urdu. The decision was quick: run. We turned right hiding behind some houses. There was a piece of grass so we thought we could camp there but one of the locals said no. We couldn’t come back to the road.

studying English with girls 😉

One old lady let us camp behind her house but after 5 min she actually invited us to her place. The family was unique: her, uncle and 4 kids who lost their parents during the earthquake in 2005. The oldest sister about 24 years old lost her leg as well. Sad but beautiful picture as the kids were full of love and respect for each other. They offered us dinner and a room so we were saved from the driver. The neighbours said he was looking for us shouting: “where is the English man??” but fortunately nobody blabbed on us. We went back in time playing some games on the old PC and watching some weird Japanese films. After writing a story about a foolish dog which was a part of their English homework we went to sleep. The next day after warm farewell we came back to the road deciding we would never take a yellow car again.

lovely kids in Mansehra

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