Here I am,
the second day in Pakistan - having had a long journey time from Wales to
Peshawar and then by minibus to Rawalpindi, where we are staying at the Hotel
Shalimar. Sara and Giampolo (Expedition Leader) are at the moment Ministry
Office in Islamabad sorting out our permits for Broad Peak, our trekking
permits, permits for satellite phone, permits for this that and the other!
It is very humid here with
temperatures over 30 degrees. The flight from Milan to Doha (Qatar) was very
exciting as we were accompanied by the legendary Kurt Diemberger who is also
trekking to K2 Base Camp with another Italian 50th Anniversary K2 expedition.
Road travel in Pakistan is
very 'exciting' - there are no road rules (seemingly to the Western visitor
anyway) and the Darwinian Law applies - those who beep their load, vibrato
horns the loudest are usually the more successful in getting to their
destination - however in some cases their arrival in 'heaven' may be quicker
Every square meter of the
highway is busy with something going on, from council workers cutting grass
(well, using a manual 'mower' to cut the various clumps of greenness amongst
the mounds of dirty soil) to workers putting up billboard posters (not in the
usual way of wallpaper paste and ladders, but using 10 men and a hoist made of
ropes slung over from the other side), to bicycles overloaded with piles of
material to sell waiting to be overbalanced.
We are apparently unable to
get a flight from Islamabad to Skardu as there have only been two flights this
week and it is heavily overbooked - so we are gritting our teeth, crossing our
fingers, and will be traveling on road via the notorious Karakorum Highway
The group had the first
briefing last night from Giampolo to ensure that everyone was familiar with
the ins and outs of the three high altitude alpinists with diabetes - myself,
Marco Peruffo and Daniele Mirolo. We have 3 small sub cutaneous gadgets from
Minimed that will be used by us throughout the trekking and at altitude to
continuously measure blood glucose levels which will then be downloaded to a
PC which will give us a daily profile of our blood sugar levels.
There are a total of about 30
of us, 11 high altitude alpinists and the rest trekkers who will be trekking
to Base Camp at an altitude of 4800m and who will then, weather and conditions
dependant, will be trekking over the beautiful high pass of Gondogoro La down
We visited Raj Bazaar
yesterday afternoon. We emerged from our protective air conditioned vehicles
to be greeted with humid air mixed with a mixture of sweat, spices, fruits,
diesel fumes, open drains and coffee - and as we seemed to be the only Western
faces in the locality at the time - were something of a spectacle for the
locals. The bazaar lead us down narrow squeeze alleys filled with narrow shops
containing everything from recycled aluminum cans to mounds of colored herbs
and spices, tinsel and ornate headwear for weddings to cloths of silks and
cottons of a myriad of colors. We were followed by numerous beggars who had a
variety of different English words asking for money from "plis, syr" to moans
and whimpers from those who were unable to speak. This was quite difficult to
deal with especially as we obviously had lots of money and objects e.g.
cameras that were worth more than they would ever possess.
We must now go back, end of
report one - speak to you all soon.
Nikki Wallis Italian ADIQ
Expedition to Broad Peak
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.