Pakistan is Asian Hockey Champion

Pakistan beat Malaysia 2-0 in the Asian Games Hockey finals to bag yet another gold medal for Pakistan. In fact this gold has been awaited for the last 20 years when Pakistan won the gold in 1994 Asiad in Beijing. This time too China brings good luck to Pakistan.
 
Today Pakistan also won gold in squash team event by beating Malaysia. So in a day Pakistan beat Malaysia twice and both times filled their bags with gold. Pakistani girls also won gold in the women cricket earlier in the ongoing Asian Games. Pakistan got lucky as McKenna did in the final scene of the epic movie McKenna’s Gold.
 
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Alexandria Mills – the Blue Eyed Miss World 2010

Miss Alexandria Mills – the 18 years old, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, blonde with blue eyes became the blue eyed of all selectors when she was finally declared the Miss World 2010 on 30th October in a beautiful closing ceremony held at Crown Convention Center in Sanya, China (above top). Hailing from Louisville, USA, she became the 60th Miss World.  Emma Wareus of Botswana became the first runner up while Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini was named the second runner-up.

In her final 30 seconds decisive speech, Miss Mills said that she wanted to make an impact on others life and would like to help every people that she possibly could. A beauty model herself, she aspires to become a teacher.

Also See: Miss America is the new Miss World 2010

Gilgit – the China Town of Pakistan

It was awhile ago that I along with my family decided to see Khunjrab Pass – it was a rather hasty decision and hence we did not cater for the hurdles en route and the total length of journey and the leave that I have. And we just left by road. Although, Gilgit is connected by air with Islamabad but due to uncertain weather, road travel is much preferred. Though some tourists choose to travel Gilgit by air since the road travel between Islamabad and Gilgit by Karakoram Highway takes nearly 18 hours, whereas the air travel takes a mere 45-50 minutes. 

We took the N-5 and stayed a night at Abottabad. Early next morning we reached Mansehra and from there we headed towards Pattan – where a Road Maintenance Battalion of the Frontier Works Organization is stationed (the unit is responsible for the repair/maintenance of the Karakoram Highway – the KKH).  Next morning our journey resumed and soon we were on the right bank of the roaring Indus river with its gushy muddy water ( far different from its rather bluish water at Attock). At Thakot, we crossed Indus and now we started moving on the left of the river. The small town en route were Chilas, Dasu, Besham.

Near Gilgit, the KKH branches off and continues to head towards Khunjrab Pass through Hunza (Karimabad) and Sost. We finally reached Gilgit in the evening – which is the hub of various valleys to the North Hunza and China. To the South, Diamar, Kohistan and Swat, to the East Skardu and Kashmir, and to the West Ghezir and Chitral.  Here we were told that the air service had been suspended for the last five days and while thanking our stars for choosing to travel by road, we had a pity on tourists stranded for days altogether in hotels and messes.

The Gilgit bazaars are infested with Chinese good, decoration pieces, cloth and what not – it looked like a mini China Town. While my wife got busy in looking for Chinese cloth, we window-shopped for Chinese decoration pieces and carpets. By the time we came back, we had loads of small decoration pieces and naturally ladies garments.

There is much to be seen other than Chinese stuff in and around Gilgit. There is a monument to commemorate the fact that the boy scouts of Gilgit were the spark that set the flame in the battle between Pakistan and India for supremacy over Kashmir.  Two miles out of town there are a pair of Buddha’s carved in to a high rock. They go back to the 5-th century. From where we parked our car, the path up to the rocks was a nice hike – and the carving looked really awesome. I admired those who did this.

One bright sunny day morning, we kicked off towards Khunjrab Top – but luck was not in our favour. Near Hunza, we were told that the road ahead was blocked and wont be open for days. So the trip ended in a mere flop and we could only visit Karimabad and the Baltit Fort – something one mustn’t miss when in Gilgit. This wooden fort is a class of its own. The fort is said to date back around 700 years. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time. The Fort is also listed as one of the UNO sponsored world heritage architecture. On our way back, we stopped to eat some of the most delicious apricots in the world – fresh from the apricot gardens. When we asked the garden owner to pack us a few kilos as souvenir for relatives back home, he told us that those apricots were so delicate that they would not withstand the heat even out of Gilgit – still we insisted and true to his words, those melt hardly a few hours out of Gilgit.

The best lunch that I ever had was at a  place from where the mighty Raka Poshi is seen rising from the ground and reaching its pinnacle. The Raka Poshi View Hotel was a small hutment but served us sizzling hot “parathas” with scrambled eggs and hot tea. A feast I would always cherish.

The beautiful valley of Naltar – some 35 kilometers to the south east of Gilgit has lush green pastures and green carpeted ground make it a jewel of the Gilgit. It is a forested (pine) village known for its wildlife and magnificent mountain scenery. It also houses the Skiing School operated by Pakistan Air Force. We were offered a helicopter ride to Naltar but having reached the helipad, we were told that due to extra load, we could not be accommodated – so a golden opportunity was missed out.

Well then we finally returned. En route we also encountered a road block due to falling rocks and had to wait for 4-5 hours till the road was cleared. Even when cleared, the road still had lot of stones and rubble. So I asked a pick up to carry may family across the bottle neck and slowly moved my car over the rubble and finally made it with lots of unhealthy noises coming from the down under. Luckily, there was no damage to the car.