They've never heard of Hunza Pie in Hunza...Instead, I settle for a mountain-style cappuccino created on a little equipment that an enterprising young Hunzakot has shipped up from Karachi, much to the south They've never been aware of Hunza Pie in Hunza. Nowhere on the list of bazaars and tea shops of high Karimabad can I find the succulent wedge of cheese, spinach and wholemeal pastry that epitomised 1970's "hippie vego" cuisine - and that got, one thought, with lashings of longevity and quasi-Himalayan wisdom. Instead of Hunza Pie, I settle for a mountain-style cappuccino created on a little machine that an enterprising young Hunzakot has delivered up from Karachi, far to the south.
The Karakoram mountains of upper Pakistan rise in a straight foundation above ancient Karimabad, the greatest settlement in Hunza. Found enamel wedges of air and planet interlock while, much under, the Hunza Lake, colored like wet concrete, churns their way south, returning the hills to the Indian Sea grain by grain. A small but continuous supply of tourists undertake the large road to Hunza. Finding there's over fifty percent the adventure. The Karakoram Freeway (jointly created by China and Pakistan between 1958 and 1978) is frequently affected by glaciers and washouts - after all, Karakoram is just a Turkic term for "crumbling rock" - and fearless Pakistan Army bulldozer drivers are completely deployed to help keep the "KKH" safe.
En route to Hunza, our mini-bus has used that snow-fed torrent near the Karakoram Road - which is reasonably lauded on one Pakistani tourism poster as "the most excellent achievement of mankind of the 20th century." We shall test the proposal, firstly by climbing to Hunza, then over the 4733 metre Khunjerab Move to Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Province. A lot more than guiding people is Asghar Khan, an avuncular Hunzakut, whose capacity to set up for small mountains to be transferred (if essential by bulldozer), arms to be greased and meal to arrive on time makes the KKH, for all of us at the very least, a pushover. The fabled Empire of Hunza, extended an oasis with this route, was not always therefore quickly reached, or therefore tranquil. Pilgrims, Cotton Way traders and imperial invaders when had to stability on thin base paths etched to the valley walls. "Noisy with kingdoms" was Marco Polo's undertake this location in 1273. Even then, Baltit Fort towered around the town of Karimabad (formerly referred to as Baltistan); seven ages later, that 62-room palace-cum-fortress, when entertained by the Mir (king) of Hunza, still stands, presented by pinnacles of rock and snow.
We consume dinner in exactly the same palace room - today superbly repaired - by which Captain Francis Younghusband confronted the Mir in 1889, challenging he cease raiding the caravans that handed down their way from Key Asia to English India. The Mir protested in words to the effectation of, "But it's our just revenue - but, if your King Victoria is sad, I will cut her in on the booty "."Preposterous recommendation!" Younghusband undoubtedly thought as he withdrew; then, as "Good Game" players were don't to do, he sent in the English Military to raised describe the imperial level of view. Hunza was integrated into Pakistan just in 1974. The final King continues to be living, outdated 78, even though the current Mir, today a local politician, no more bears the status of King. Certainly Karachi Call Girls, as one of his true political opponents disapprovingly sniffed, "He's the mere remnant of a Mir."
The 10,000 people of Karimabad occupy one of the very benign vales of the Himalaya-Karakoram chain. Lavish areas of maize are shaded by orchards weighted with good fresh fruit; tourism gives a small money flow; as readers of the liberal Ismaili sect of Islam, Hunza women (unlike numerous others in Pakistan) receive identical knowledge with guys, and women are not obliged to veil their faces. In sunny Karimabad you can look out of numerous reasonably relaxed resorts and see areas, corduroyed with plant lines, shining in the day light. Moved terraces are threaded by clever irrigation channels that, on the generations, have transformed that mountain desert terrain in to a breadbasket. Once we follow the level foot-trails that weave through the hamlets of the valley, Asghar Khan points out a 200-year previous mulberry tree and, near another ancient fort, a gnarled, 500-year previous walnut tree.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the individuals of Hunza quickly became popular in the West for supposedly living to over 100 years of age, maintained by real, 2,400 metre air and (it was said) a similarly real veggie diet - presenting, possibly, endless servings of Hunza Pie. New research shows no particular endurance (in truth, there is proof inbreeding), or of the fabled pie. It appears that the myth of spinach-powered centenarians was concocted, since it were, by the writer of a Swiss vegetarian cookbook.Nevertheless, the Hunza diet might still set a vegetarian's tasty, being abundant with almonds, apples, cherries and apricots and pretty short on meat. Dinner (at least for tourists) tends to be a rice-and-chicken rinsed down by tea but no beer, for Pakistan is "dry ".My delight then is fantastic at obtaining, on the list of rug boutiques of Karimabad's climbing, turning principal street, a bookshop with a cappuccino machine. Each evening I reunite for my coffee tweak, there to flick through Peter Hopkirk's various yarns about The Great Game, or to jot a postcard, all to the sublime background tracks of Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan. If the "Immortality through Hunza Pie" sect fixated upon that pit, so also did the "Shangri-La-ists", saying this to function as prototype happy kingdom of John Hilton's 1933 novel, "Far Capabilities ".That numerous really far pavilions, from Bhutan to Mustang to Zhongdian, China, all state the mythic mantle of "the true Shangri-La" makes small big difference to any of their boosters.
"Wherever else might you only push in - rather than having to trek for a fortnight - and find yourself surrounded by 7000 metre snow peaks?" marvels among my friends. On our way of Hunza, we've seen the massive peaks of Nanga Parbat (8125 metres) and Rakaposhi (7790 metres) shining in crystal serration from the sky. Waking at beginning for a truck excursion to an area called Eagle's Nest, at 3200 metres, we check a band of snow-capped hills - Ultar, Rakaposhi, Lady Hand and Golden Peak - sliding their significant shadows down the contrary wall of the Hunza Pit, then across its fertile floor.