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April 2015
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Hunza valley in Karimabad

Pakistan © Eric Bonnem

“We pass through Abbottabad (Editor’s note: the place when Bin Laden lived until 2011) and spend the night in Chilas in a small shelter. We travel through villages where only men are visible, women are completely absent. Tinted windows of cars are closed in this region of Diamir. There is nothing particularly of interest to remark upon…we pass through regular check-points, several each day, where our papers are checked. Often a soldier carrying a Kalashnikov climbs onto the back of the building, so that he can be dropped off at the next check-point. Showing no hint of aggression, I find this rather folkloric and soldiers are rather sympathetic and curious. Our passports are legitimate, we have all the right permits. Then we move into Gilgit and finally arrive in the Hunza valley in Karimabad. This mountainous village has experienced international fame – with every keen climber in the world visiting this place – but this balcony/shelf overlooking the Hunza valley and the splendid Rakaposhi (peaking at 7,800m) is still deserted. We embark upon a short trek to 4,600m up to an aquamarine farm, where a number of large precious stones are found.”

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