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Himalaya

Day 9: To Chitral

Hindu Kush, Pakistan 
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Threading our way through the Hindu Kush. The rugged route out of the Kalash Valleys.
Michael Palin - HimalayaClean-shaven and soft-spoken, and wearing a Western shirt and trousers, Siraj is pale enough to pass for a suntanned Suffolk farmer, except for the flat, felt Pashtun cap, the pakol, which perches on top of the head in summer and rolls down for extra protection in the winter.

Though the Mehtar surrendered all his political powers to the Pakistani state in 1972, Siraj is still technically a prince and his wife Ghazala, with the piercing, dark eyes and intense good looks of the Pathan, a princess.

Three pet dogs help complete a sense of sharing a family house, rather than an impersonal hotel, and their guest book shows that they are by no means cut off up here in the valley. A framed photo shows the staff posing next to General Musharraf and on the wall by the door hangs a signed photo of thanks from Robert de Niro.

Ghazala is much amused that when De Niro came to stay, Siraj asked him what line of work he was in.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 9: To Chitral
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Chitral
  • Book page no: 29

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