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There are big mountains here, and fruit trees, and wheat fields, and a common hospitality unlike what a foreigner might find in the United States.  Today I visited three households to talk to parents about their daughters’ education, and each of my hosts served me tea, biscuits, and fresh-picked mulberries and cherries.  One also served a full-fledged lunch of rice and chicken curry and curd and lassi, and followed it up with butter tea– a flavor reminding me that this region shares much more with Tibet and Ladakh than national or religious differences might suggest.  But of course the hospitality I describe is more than a matter of food and drink; it is an entire attitude perhaps best captured by the oft-heard phrase, “You are our guest; it is our honor to serve you.”  Again and again, I’ve wondered how I can repay such generosity.  One recent attempt backfired pretty hard, but that’s a different story.

The photos above give a taste of this place, but of course only the smallest taste.  During several conversations today, I wished I could record what I was hearing and post it on this blog, because it was generally along the lines of “Islam is a religion of peace, and the people who do violent things are not true Muslims.”  Three people– a young female teacher, an older male headmaster, and a student’s father– specifically asked me to go home and share this point with Americans.  Yet when I asked if I could make a video of them so they could speak for themselves, they shied away– understandably– and thus, like so much else, what remains is just my own paltry retelling.

3 Responses to “Skardu”

  1. bill oppenheim Says:

    willy-great pictures-thx fo the update– be well xo dadl

  2. Jennifer Zaccara Says:

    Your re-tellings have never been “paltry.”

  3. George McFadden Says:

    difficult to beat primary sources! good travels

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