Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IRAN!!

Have had enough of Pakistan.. Iran I am coming!!! =D

Saturday, September 26, 2009

若无其事

朋友,今晚你告诉我你父亲逝世的消息,我努力地在想你心里会是什么样的感受,于是我想起那一夜在夜色已深的巴士上你告诉我你父亲仍像小孩一样让人操心,想起你说想让两老过好日子的话,我于是知道你的痛,尽管屏幕上传来的是过去了的若无其事。

我不知道自己读到的若无其事是不是和事实相符,但却想起自己。以前我在小岛时你总是问我关于我失去父亲的事,问得比任何人都多,问得比任何人都详细,那毕竟是十年前的事了。我有没有告诉过你父亲走过后的那一天我打电话给班上和我最要好的同学,让他告诉班主任我会缺课,因为父亲走了。他于是悄悄地告诉了班主任,像传达一个不可告人得秘密。守灵的日子只有寒冷的夜晚和做也做不完的功课,日夜不停播送的佛曲,还有单薄的自己。父亲火化后我向往常一样上课,全世界都以为我无端逃课,没有人知道我失去了父亲。那三天残忍得让人发抖,我深刻知道自己孤独得连一个朋友都没有。那时的伤害,至今想起我都还会哭,原来十九岁的自己如此介怀,三十岁亦然。因为这样,失去父亲成了一个不可告人的秘密,从一开始就不知道怎么面对;在小岛的那一段日子,我甚至变态到在朋友问起父亲时,佯装他就在家里。

我觉得心里有一个结,缠得死死的。这么多年了它都还在。我常常觉得除非有一天自己能将当晚看见父亲的最后一幕巨细靡遗的口述,否则失去终究是一件放不下的事。那个凌晨我将父亲看得那么仔细,我从来不敢看父亲看得那么仔细,只有在他合上眼后。是不是意味着我们没有正面交流过?《我的父亲,六月》的评审说过,写这篇稿的年轻人只在失去后才懂得惋惜。那时候我觉得他不认识我,根本没有资格批判我的感受。时间不停筛洗,这些年后我承认他当时说得一点都没错。但在当时来说,他的话像刀一样划开我的肉。

我常常想有一天让我口述,我一定泣不成声;但更大的可能性是泣不成声的情景已经在我脑海中上演过千万遍,那一天真的到来,敢情只是若无其事。

后记:
打这篇时我看了遍以前写给你的文字,这是人生必经之路,即使我在你身边,也只是想听着你的呼吸,知道你又好好过了这一刻。其实我什么都不想说,除了叫你少抽一根烟。

Friday, September 25, 2009

关于梦想

朋友,我喜欢和你聊天,因为里头总有很多很多梦想。昨天在互联网上我告诉你我回去后想骑自行车游大马,想一寸一寸地走自己的国家,倾听活在这片土地上的人说话;我说我想设个大马背包客网站,教年轻的一代游走;我告诉你那个关于客栈和咖啡馆的事;我告诉你关于书吧。很多事情我都没有和别人说过,因为它们大半不会实现,只是想想说说而已,但同你我就可以天花乱坠胡乱涂鸦,是我们都爱做的事。我还记得在人行道转绿前你告诉我你要在你的书吧前卖水果,让客人一边看书一边吃水果。我说那你的客人会把书弄脏了。你说walau,泼我冷水。我喜欢那样随便拉来扯去,知道一天即使自己什么也没干成在你面前也不会不好意思。其实我根本不知道几时回家。

我还告诉你我向往简单的生活。你说那要看我愿不愿意。其实路上的生活还不简单?吃饭睡觉,晃晃悠悠。隔日能够再睁开眼睛,已经是人间最美好的事。不过向往还是要有的,没有像往日子不免单调;只是李白的故乡(注)。

你说我回去后你会来找我,于是我知道原来归期有期。因为你会来找我,所以我有一天会回家,然后你会来找我。

Yeah!真好。


注:不是有人这么说吗,李百成天喝酒吟诗没事干,口里不停在说故乡,那么闲的人为什么不回故乡看看。于是那人断定李白是在强说愁,说说罢了。(后来路上遇到一个中国人聊起,才知道李白原来是塔吉克斯坦人,是少数民族,所以故乡在他心里那么远,还李白一个清白)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

那个和往常无异的早上,巴国的迷思

那个和往常无异的早上,她记不得天上的云有没有比平时多一点,风有没有尝试预告什么,空气里只有像无数个昨天一样,参透着轻微煎饼的味道。那个和往常无异的早上女孩的母亲告诉她,从今天开始,她不可以再和男孩像往常一样走在街上,他们不再可以肩搭着肩,不再可以手挽着手,不再可以像往常一样在街上嬉笑怒骂,肆无忌惮地欢唱奔跑。那个记忆中和往常无异的早晨,母亲告诉女孩,男孩和她是不同的,从今天开始除了上学她必须呆在家里,客人来访时她必须躲到门帘后头,外面的世界与她毫不相关,她必须学习埋葬自己的好奇心,她的一生,要以不被‘其他不相干’的男人看到为荣。

那个和往常无异的早上过去后,女孩开始活在面纱后面,看见男孩时立即噤声低下头,拉起面纱收起笑颜。那个和往常无异的早上过去后,他们的世界翻覆颠倒,不再从前。

------------

每回在街上看见男孩女孩肩搭着肩玩在一起,心里就觉得很奇怪,一直无法想象那一个和往常无异的一天是怎么到来的,朋友怎么能够在某一天过后就突然不是朋友,连吵一场架都省了。

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

找不到出路

这几天不停地在想路线,想来想去找不到出路,最后往往睡着。

1.Iran - Afghanitan - Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan - Azerbaijan - Armenia - Georgia - Turkey

2. Iran - Afghanistan - Iran - Armenia - Georgia - Turkey

3. Iran - Turkey

第一条路线只是签证就会花上上百块美金;第二条路线需要从阿富汗飞回伊朗,才会拿到落地签;第三条路线没什么好说的,大家都这么走。

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Survived Ramadan

20/09/09

Today is the last day of Ramadan, never felt so closed to the festival when I was back home, but this is Pakistan. Yes, survived a month of Ramadan in a country with >96% Muslim. It was not too bad though, I had 8 days in Hunza and 3 days in Chitral; while the Kalasha in Chitral don't fast, Ismaili in Chitral can choose not to fast.

So I am in Gilgit now. There are gun shots since 5 minutes ago, celebrating the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid. Yes, they are not using firecrackers like us, they use pistols and guns. And just two minutes ago there were sirens from police cars.. it is forbidden to shot but no one really cares.

It is a different experience to travel in a Muslim country during Ramadan, unlike Malaysia where you can still get food everywhere, it is impossible here before 730pm except simple snacks like samosa. The fasting days or days insisting not to eat in the public is simply self-discipline and basic respect to the local, and yet the locals appreciate you so much for it. One month is not a long time, but a good experience, which I don't really bother to do it back home, a Muslim country.

Traveling in Pakistan do make me want to know Malaysia more. This is an extra gain along the trip, realizing that I know nothing about my own country. How sad.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Look Update

Update of my look.
At Rumbur, the Kalash Valley with a breastfeeding Kalash lady.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

May be I will die soon

17/09/09

I should leave Hunza yesterday morning, but it was my favorite weather since yesterday early morning, rainy and cloudy. No choice, stay for one more night. And it turned out to be an omen to stay for one more day, Hui broken down so badly after her quarrel with Kou the night before, and she needs an ear. I have a pair of ears, more than enough!

And I got severe stomach problem after the Korean dinner the night before yesterday. The problem persists until today.. toilet, vomit. I am not sure why, but I think may be I will die soon. Strange thought but I do think so.

Anyway if tomorrow I still alive, it is time to move to Gilgit for my visa extension. Again. Can't afford anymore delay as next week is the start of Eid (Hari Raya), which they will have long holiday.. and yup, finally got the Iran visa, so heading back to Islamabad to collect the visa..

Too lazy recently. Too too lazy.. no post.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Doing Good

14/09/09

Yesterday as usual we were sitting in Haider Inn attached restaurant doing nothing. Kousuke asked me: what will you do today? I have no answer.

Later in the day I suddenly thought of writing some tips on the hotel guestbook. This is what Japanese and Korean travelers usually do, the guest book is fulled of traveling tips in their language, I was a bit mad on this because I cant read. So I told Hui:

a Hui ar, I think today is a good time for me to do some good thing.
What?
I think I shall write some tips on traveling in the Pakistan after my 2 months here.
Hmm, good.
So do you think I shall write in Malay or Chinese? I dont want to share with other chinese other than Malaysian.
Har? So far how many Malaysian Malay you met on the road?
I met one in southern Laos.
I met three in Cambodia.
Haha. May be one day there will be more?
Don't be sampat la, write in Chinese.
Hmm.. so you think how many page shall I write?
Wa you so geng meh can write many pages meh?
Of course la if I want to write I can write 10 pages I think.
Dont be sampat la..

After I have writen half a page..Hui said:
See chan, I think your writing too messy no one can read leh..
Har?... I thought my writing very beautiful..
......

This is an usual day in Hunza.. sit and squeeze your brain on what shall be done today... or what you want to eat for dinner.. or what time is the dinner time.. or how many cup of chai had you drank.. or how has Iran visa going on... or repeating where you came from and where/ when you started your trip to a new comer.. or sending off a visitor who we knew for few days and had some chats... or just doing nothing. But yesterday I did something good, I hope.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Story Teller

Background: I met Tomami, a Japanese girl in Chinar Inn, Chitral. We don’t talk much other than say 'hi'

Scene 1: 1st night at Engineer Khan GH, Grom village, Rumbur Kalash valley. Having dinner with Engineer Khan.

I saw Tomami registration entry in the guesthouse ad noticed that she stayed for a night and moved to Balanguru village.
Me: Tomami? I met her at Chinar Inn.
EK: You know what, I guessed she must have told you that. Tomani came for the previous years and she always stay with us. This year she stayed with us for a day and she moved to Balanguru, saying that she would like to check out other GH. You know, it is always your choice if you want to change and see the others. So she went to Balanguru, but she came back after the next day! She came back and stayed with us for 6 days. She thinks we are better and she said, no more other GH, haha!

Scene 2: 2nd day evening, small path at Rumbur. Met 1 Japanese with Saifullah (the owner of the Balanguru GH) on their way to Kalash cemetery. They invited me to go together.

Jap: I saw a Japanese lady that day, happened that she is my old friend!
Me: Tomani? I met her at Chitral!
Saifullah: Yea Tomami stayed at my place for 6 days before she left to Chitral.

On the way, Engineer Khan saw us.

Scene 3: 2nd night at Engineer Khan GH, Grom village, Rumbur Kalash valley. After dinner with Engineer Khan, sipping local wine.

EK: You know what, Tomami is so good in using people.
Me: Har?
EK: Yes. You know what, she stayed with us for 1 night, the next morning she came to me and cry. She said she is poor and can only afford 350Rp for the upstairs room (I was charged 400Rp for the upstairs room).
Me: Oh?
EK: Yea, she is so good in using people. So what can I do? I said it is okie if you have no money to pay, if you don’t have you can don’t pay.
Me: So did she pay?
EK: Yes 350Rp. She is so good in using people.

----
So I left this place after 2 nights, which I can stay for a week or more. It is too obvious to see his character and what kind of person he is, making up stories and talk bad about your guest? no way..

note: EK = Engineer Khan

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Under Surveillance

03/09/09

Today I got my registration done in the police station before Amin came. It was a hassle free one. Then I went to photocopy my passport, but when I turned around, tiny Saga is already standing next to me.

SHIT! (hokkien: kua1 diok3 gui1 arr!!)

He followed me to the DCO (may be he thought he brought me there), DCO needs a paper from the police station and told me there is no electricity now, and extension is not possible today. I guessed really loss my patience, I raised my voice and talked straight, not sure if it is still polite but hopefully, and the electricity ‘pop’, came back.

The tiny Saga tried to impress me by telling oh you are lucky bla bla bla but I am really frustrated with him around. The tiny Saga followed me to the police station, I got the paper and he followed me back to the DCO, visa extended, but only for 15 days. I was again mad on this, why the hell everyone is getting 30 days from other places but I am getting 15 days in both Karachi and Chitral?

The tiny Saga arranged my meet up with Imran, a tour guide that contributed a lot on the forum in thorntree and virtualtoursit, I always wanted to meet him.

After the meetup, I was escort by the tiny Saga to the Internet cafe, where I asked him to leave because I will be online for long time, but he sat on the computer beside me until Amin appeared. Amin slapped on his face and he gave the seat to Amin.

Now Amin is sitting beside me, 'you get 15 days extension? Why don’t you wait for me?'
And 'pop', the power again went off!

I paid and walked down the street, Amin asked 'you must be hungry by now it is lunch time.' I got irritated and walked away.

So now I am an ego and unfriendly tourist who do not appreciate the hospitality that the local tried to provide, I guessed.

Fifteen seconds later when I had my 'phew' that Amin is not following, I AGAIN found the tiny Saga walk (AGAIN) beside me, and he asked 'are you hungry? It is lunch time.'

GOSH!!!

---

The rest of the day is the same, whenever I am outside my room, I found tiny Saga nearby, like ghost, never be haunted like this before. Later in the evening somebody from Intelligence Bureau came and advise me not to go close to Afghanistan border when I am in the Kalash valley, and make sure the tour guides are with license. After he left, tiny Saga and Amin came again, I told them I am having dinner with myself today and will appreciate if they stay away from me. After my dinner someone knocked on my door, it is of course, tiny Saga again. I asked him to leave and threaten to complain to the hotel. He left and I had good sleep that night.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I hate Chitral (Part II)

Finally I got back to my room, the door is opened. I stepped in and put my hand on the daypack. I felt my camera. It seems to be a great relief for Amin, he said Alhamdulilah and grabbed my hands, put them on his mouth and kissed it.

Outside, the rain splashed heavily into Chitral town.

Amin insisted that we should get back to his house for the green tea, his sister had prepared it for us. It was around 8:30pm and I wasn’t sure if I shall react greatly for his action. Anyway we need to wait for the rain to stop. Amin seems to be still at his relieve and excited mode, he pretended to cekek my neck and, he pull me so close, put his nose on my cheek. So I am greatly offended now, I had enough.

I forgot to mention that my visa is going to expire soon and I need an extension in Chitral. Amin is the one who assured me for a 30 days extension, his brother is working in the DCO office, that’s what I am told. If the extension in Chitral is not possible, I will need to rush 12 hours to Peshawar or 20 hours to Gilgit to get an extension.

There is dilemma when there is conflict of interest.

We sat in front of my room when Amin talked about what we shall do tomorrow, breakfast, register in the police station, visa extension, lunch, go to the summer palace and national park, dinner at his house, and the day after he will drop me to Bumburet for Kalash valley.

‘My commitment to you.’ he said.
And who needs your commitment? I whispered to myself. I never asked for this and don’t appreciate it at all. I hate someone arranging things for me and I hate it so much.

‘See, this is my plan.’ I told him, ‘I will get breakfast myself, not in your house. Then we go to the police station and the DCO for registration, then lunch by myself, then will see how.’

‘What do you think? You are my guest, I was just too tension if anything happened, if you have lost your things…’ by now he already noticed that I wasn’t happy with what he had done and trying to explain

The rain stopped. I still haven’t reacted extensively for what had happen except refused to some part of the plan tomorrow, and he said ‘Lets go back for green tea’. Too much reluctant, I moved my step.

On the way, the rain gets heavy again, and Kausar called.

I was glad that Kausar called. Talking to someone you trust makes you feel better, although he is part of the reason I am into this now. I wasn’t able to tell him what had happened, so I shouted at him said why he arranged all these for me, I am on my own and can do everything by myself. When I was on the phone, Amin was besides whispering, ‘tell Kausar I am a bad and dangerous guy who kissed you, a very dangerous one.’ I wished he shut his mouth up. I am not sure what he is up for but definitely not a good one, Pakistani man have strong brotherhood relationship between each other, it is stupid to tell the truth, worse if they think you are exaggerating.

The rain still falling but I told Amin I am on my way back. He knew I am already not happy. He sent me back and asked if I would like to have some apples. I guessed I have too much for today.

***

Finally I am with myself back in the room, unpacking and preparing for shower when someone knocked on my door, it was just a minute after Amin had left. I opened the door and it is the tiny Saga. You can’t believe what this stupid guy does, he asked ‘Amin is not with you?’ and tucked his head into my room to see if Amin is inside. I felt greatly insulted and know it is no way for me to stay in his guesthouse in Bumburet.

‘Can we talk?’ he asked.
I assumed there is some information I need to know, so I said ‘Ok sure’

‘Inside your room? or outside?’ He must be stupid enough to have asked this question.

We sat outside my room and he started to bad mouth about each others. I soon realized that it is my fault to assume that Kausar will have nice friends and get myself into these troubles. And after all Chitral is another Belaga (a very political place up Sg. Rejang, Sarawak) for me, where too many touts and people talking bad about each other, hoping to push themselves up. No matter how gorgeous the landscape is or how great the locals are, the existence of these few ruins your whole travel experience.

Later on a tourist from Lahore joined us for the talk. He is a PHD student in fine art, doing some research on Bahawalpur architecture, and he managed to fond some grave of the Bahawalpur ruler in Chitral. That is the only present from GOD for the day, meeting someone knowledgeable.

And the tiny Saga suggested a cup of tea in the teahouse.

In the teahouse, one insane starred at me and asked the rest, ‘where do you get this girl from?’ (may be the word used is much unrespect in Urdu). Oh, I hate Chitral, I hate Chitral SO DAMN MUCH!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I hate Chitral (Part I)

After some traveling, you start to aware that you are collecting memories rather than places; you enjoy people more than scenery.

So I traveled from Peshawar to Chitral, the gateway to the Kalash valleys.

Before the night leaving for Chitral, I thank GOD for letting me meeting up with some awesome people, in this old city of Peshawar, on the Silk Road. Making friends during the journey is not easy, very much depends on the will of GOD, or how much fate you have. These people showed me around the town with nothing request in returned, I enjoyed the aftarian (buka puasa) dinner very much with them although most of the time I am not fasting. I enjoy and treasure friendships developed between two strangers.

I thank GOD for I have the chance to see the caravanserai, in person, at the time HE wishes, too lucky to be in this life. This is so far the only place I had ever thought of to stop for good since this long journey started, that makes me feel that I must have been here long long time ago, in my past life.

I thank GOD for having opportunity to sip a cup of kahva (green tea) in one of the old teahouse on the Storry Teller Street. The name of the street itself gives me too much imaginations, I wondered how many interesting stories had been exchanged in the good old days.

I thank GOD for getting myself lost in the labyrinth of the old city, where I met a lot of kind people, who do not mind that I visited their residency area, offer me a glass of water even they themselves are fasting, or just asked to have their picture taken.

I thank GOD for making the hard decision, go or no go to Peshawar a worthwhile one, and so I leave for Chitral early yesterday morning, it is then when things turned awful.

The road from Peshawar to Chitral is opened for foreigners again. The road condition is far better than KKH, and I enjoyed the first part of the landscape very much. There was one landslide on the way where we need to carry our stuff and walked across the obstacle to catch a bus at the opposite side, but it was fine for me. The journey took slightly more than twelve hours, and I reached Chitral safely.


Surprisingly, some one is waiting for me at the bus station.

‘Are you Tham from Malaysia? I am from Happy GH in Bumburet (one of the Kalash valley), my name is Saga.’

?

‘Kausar told me you would be here today so I am here expecting you.’ By the way Kausar is the CS guy in the previous posting, together with Prince and a British guy running a tour company here, we had some great time together when I was in Peshawar, they are one of those who make my Pakistan trip memorable.

Okie.. this is the first time I have someone fetching me from the bus station. Saga helped me carried backpack, he is so tiny I wonder if my backpack will crushed his spine, and we headed up the street to the guesthouse.

I wasn’t too happy that he was there with me because I intend to checkout other guesthouse despite Kausar’s suggestion. I knew he suggested a good one for me but it could be too expensive. So with this guy, now I have no choice.

‘Are you Tham from Malaysia? I am Amin.’ the moment arrived at Chinar Inn, another guy approached me. Both of them I have chat before through the phone when I was in Peshawar, Kausar gave me their number and I know who to call when I get stuck, but I never expect people to come to me, this is not the way I wanted it to be.

They showed me the room, which is a real nice room with a garden in front.

‘How much?’ I asked.
‘150rupees, special price for you.’

That moment I thank Kausar for having good friend and helping me such far. I assumed he arranged these.

The night, I was invited to Amin sister’s house for dinner. I am not sure if it is the culture, you don’t get to eat with the whole family but only with the one who invited you. So I was the only one eating with Amin. It was great during the dinner, we chat about this and that, Amin even showed me Kausar's girlfriend picture (I was wondering why he keeps other's girlfriend picture) and later Amin told me that he is bringing someone to Kashmir, where I really wanted to go but special permit is needed. He said he knew someone out there and can easily get me the permit. I start to believe that everything is possible if you know the right person. And he was telling me he was a cricket player in the national team and now doing coaching, waiting to go to Austria/Australia (cant hear it clearly) for some coaching job.

I cant remember what was the topic when he suddenly asked if I locked my door. Soon I recalled that he passed me a bottle of Sprite before breaking fast and say I can sit in the garden, I closed my door without locking it, and after the Sprite I went directly to his house.

Not too much nervous on my side knowing that what will happen will happen or what shall happen shall happen, so I took my time finish my chapatti and tea. Amin was too pressure thinking of what happened if my things get stolen.

It was dark outside his house when we are on our way back, no street light and the rain seems to be pouring very soon. He directed me by holding my hand across the running river, I didn’t suspect anything because giving hand is common, the street is dark and we are rushing back to check if my belongings are still there.

(the story is too long, I gotto make it into 2 parts)