Suspension Bridges (Wakhi Stuff) AM00000090000002030 7, 2008Posted by Mыsofer in gojal, Gojal Pakistan.
Our favourite walk is to cross the Hunza river by two steel cable suspension bridges. They stretch across the main valley, connecting villagers to their fields. There are strips of wood to step onto to cross the bridges, but these seem to be strategically placed so far apart as to induce a sense of fear and thrill in equal parts. Or inequal parts, in my case. In the fields folk are harvesting the grass for winter feed for their animals. Two young women wave us over and invite us for a cup of tea. In the corner of their field is a pot sat on three stones. They quickly get a fire going and produce all the ingredients for milky chai. We laugh when we see the salt. They unfold a cloth with their lunch of bread and apples and invite us to share it – we have only biscuits to offer. Jamila is married with two children and her younger sister is now at college in Gilgit. What will she do when she finishes college? Get married and have lots of children, she says, laughing. Gayle asks “Wouldn’t you like to study to be a teacher?” The harvesting is hard work done by hand with sickles in the hot sun. As we pass through other fields we are offered more tea. Everyone points us in the right direction – the second bridge that goes to their village, Husseini. It is another picturesque village full of inquisitive children, one of whom literally runs across the bridge that takes us ten minutes to navigate. We reach the main road and decide to wait for a ride back to Passu. Finally a minibus pulls up. It is full but there’s space on the back. I always thought it’d be fun to ride on the back, and we hop on. But then a gallant gentleman invites Gayle to take his seat, and he climbs on the back instead. It’s a 15 minute ride to Passu but it’s the most exhausting thing I’ve done in ages – literally hanging on with all my might to stop from sliding off as the bus rounds the bends. There are five us hanging on, but the others are just chatting away nonchalantly as if they were sat over cups of tea.