Monday, 9 July 2007

State of emergency in the capital of Pakistan!

In the line of fire, Islamabad(2007)

Dear all,

Last week was kind a messing up of emotions in Pakistan. On the one hand i was finally happy to go back to Europe and see my family again. On the other hand heavy fightings started in the capital of Pakistan which gave me the first time, since i have been in this country, a feeling of insecurity. Our office is just appr. 300m bee-line far from the Lal Masjid mosque, better known as "Red Mosque" and we were able to pick up all the sounds of gun- and shellfire from this area. Incredible.
War in the center of Islamabad!
Although civilians were not allowed to enter that district at all, one employee of our customer was hit by a stray bullet and another misrouted bullet broke a window and landed in one of the offices of Telenor.

For one week now these fightings are holding on and just Allah knows when this crazy war game will end.
I wish my friendz in Pakistan all the best and will God be with you to get soon rid of any kind of terrorism in Islamabad and Pakistan.
I can just say that i came to Vienna and i was pretty much happy to be back. Now i will try to re-fill my batteries before my last journey to Pakistan will start by the beginning of August.
In this way i want to wish everybody a nice summer and relaxing vacations.

I will update you with interesting news when i am back in Paki in August!


Khuda Hafiz!


Monday, 25 June 2007

Mountain Expedition: Phase II - "KKH: Chilas/Nanga Parbat - Karimabad/Hunza Valley - Pasu"

Nanga Parbat (8.125m)

Hello friendz of the mountains!

Phase II: Successfully done! (Except of Khunjerab Pass due to landslides closed)
Expedition crew: 2 Austrians, 1 Pakistanian

Last weekend we finally got to see one of the biggest mountain ranges in the world!

We started last Thursday from Islamabad to the Northern Areas. Our first target was Chilas, one village in that province. On the way up we experienced the real Karakorum Highway.
Up and down all the time. Going along roads, (which were treated in the past by heavy landslides), always following the Indus river up to its root. At some passages the Indus river has depths of 10 meters and more! Although the road were in a pretty good condition it took us 13 hours to our goal. Due to our fault we had a stop for over half an hour at the police checkpost of the province border. When you are travelling up to the Northern Areas you have to register yourself before entering this region. Of course we were not thinking of taking our passports with us. So, we had to convince those officers that our driving licenses were also enough for going on.
Sooner or later we finally could travel on and arrived at our first destination, (Hotel Panorama), in the "oven" Chilas. It had about 35 degrees in the night! Next day we woke up at 04:30am and started later on to Raikot Bridge where we rent a jeep and went up to Tato, a village below our next target, the "Killer Mountain - Nanga Parbat".
The way up with the jeep was the most frightening moment i had since i am in Pakistan. 15 kilometers of one way off-roads, next to you slopes going straight down about 500 to 1000 meters. In the middle of the track we had to stop because another jeep stopped in front of us. The local guy was killing some poisonous snakes living there under the stones. Great! Not even walking up was safety! After some time and two killed snakes we could drive on to the village of Tato, (2.700m). There we rent horses because we were too lazy to walk still another three hours up to "Fairy Meadows" our final destination. But! After ten minutes of riding we decided to choose our own legs to carry us up because those poor horses were definitely not prepared to carry us heavy tourists up the mountain. So we walked about 2 1/2 hours to reach one of the most imperssive place i ever saw in my life. "Fairy Meadows", a big meadow surrounded by forest on 3.300 meters sealevel and in front of you a wall of snow rising up another nearly 4.700 meters. "Nanga Parbat", with its 8.125m one of the highest mountains in the world! And it is also the biggest mountain of the world, regarding its volume. And it is also one of the most dangerous mountains of the world. From 186 expeditions 61 failed deadly! I do not find any words for this appearance, just it is HUGE!!!!!

Well, on the way back it took us just one hour of running down back to Tato because we were suprised by a thunderstorm and i tell you such a storm above such mountains is sounding very powerful! When we got back to our jeep, fully wet, we quickly jumped into the car and drove down to the valley. After this adventure we had to hurry up because next destination was Karimabad in Hunza Valley. After another four hours of driving and passing a sandstorm we landed in Hunza Baltit Inn, a very nice hotel with an exclusive view on the "Baltit Fort" with a 7.388m high "Ultar Peak" behind. Karimabad is on 2.500m and has an extraordinary view over Hunza Valley with a direct view on "Rakaposhi", 7.788m. We enjoyed that evening sitting outside on the veranda with a cool wind brise and about 20 degrees plus. The third day we moved on to Pasu, the northest village on our route, since the Kunjerab Pass was closed due to landslides.
The mountains around Pasu are looking same extreme and beautiful like any other mountain range in that area but please convince yourself in watching the latest photos. After that we went back to Chilas to stay one more night in the "oven" of the Northern Area before going to Islamabad. On this journey I even experienced driving a car in Pakistan and i can tell you it is something completely different and not to compare with Europe!
Resumee: If you have once the possibility to come to Pakistan, the "Northern Area" is simply a MUST! And i think i liked most this area, at least people immediately know about Austria, country of mountaineers! ;-)

So since our expedition "Phase II" also ended successfully we are facing our last 1 1/2 weeks of Pakistan before flying back to Austria. And for that reason we are planning our last expedition phase for next weekend, the "Khyber Pass - Afghan Border". The mountains are not that high but the region probably one of the most dangerous and wildest in the whole world!

Hopefully seeing everybody back in Europe soon, in Shallah!

Link to the photo gallery...Click.

Khuda Hafiz,

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Mountain Expedition: Phase I - "Balakot/Thandiani"

Kashmir View
Asalam Aleykum!

In the last weeks of my stay in Pakistan I will try to explore finally the mountain area, so called "Northern Areas".
The plan:
+ Phase I: "Balakot/Khagan Valley - Hillstations:Thandiani/Nathiagali/Murree"
+ Phase II: "KKH: Chilas/Nanga Parbat - Karimabad/Hunza Valley - Khunjerab Pass/Chinese Border"
+ Phase III: "Peshawar - Khyber Pass - Afghan Border"

Phase I: Successfully done! (Except of Lake Saiful Maluk)
Expedition crew: 2 Austrians, 1 German, 1 Swedish, 4 Pakistanians

The first phase was a journey which could be described best like a "roller coaster".
Our primary target was Khagan Valley. It is about 4 hours drive from Islamabad and is situated at the border to Kashmir. It is famous for its fascinating landscape and also known because of the 2005´s earthquake in this region. Balakot is or better was the city were the epicenter was located. It was completely devastated and about 84.000 people died just in that region!
So with this knowledge in the mind and heavy rainfall starting we tried to fight with our 2WD vehicles to pass the extreme slidy roads. After it got worse and worse we decided to cancel that route and drove another 3 hours to Thandiani. It is the highest hillstation scratching 3.000 meters what all of us experienced in a very dizzy way, (Mountain Sickness). So we settled down and organized asap an accommodation for the night. It was a great evening and we were supported with spicy but delicious Pakistanian food. Having a nice view to Mansehra and Abbottabad it got darker and darker and the weather changed from blue sky to big fat clouds which were bringing heavy rain for the night.
Next day i stood up at 05:00am to get some nice shots of sunrising and the mountain chains around. You could even see
slightly the Nanga Parbat (8.125m), which will be a POI on Phase II.
So after everybody woke up we had breakfast and then quickly went on to Murree reaching there around lunch time. On the way to Murree we drove through big valleys going up and down all the time. We also passed through Nathiagali were you can find lots of monkeys hanging around and begging for food. Finally we reached Murree where we could once more relax before going back to Islamabad.
Resuming: It was an exciting weekend with breathless views over the mountain area of Pakistan. We enjoyed and are motivated to start into Phase II by Thursday.

All the best,


Time to say Goodbye...

Hello everybody,

The last two weeks we tried to slow down a little bit since Katja and Ameli were going to leave finally this extraordinary country. Although at the beginning Katja was quite sceptic coming at all to the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan i think finally they two liked a lot here!

What happened since last update?
Well, we were celebrating the birthday of Rimsha. She is one of the two daughters of Sikander and Aisha, checked? ;-) To explain you, this is the family who is taking care of our guest house in Islamabad. K&A used the last days to go for shopping...i think i will need a second suitcase going back home!
And the "Grand Final"...visiting the biggest covered mosque of the world...the "Faisal Mosque".
Up to 80.000 prayers can fit inside, the minarets are 90 meters high!
Interesting architecture, for my taste a little bit too modern nevertheless very impressive...but create your own opinion and check the photo gallery -> Photos.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Birthday, Salwar Kamiz and many more adventures in Punjab!

Asalam Aleykum!

Back again!
The last two weeks after our crazy weekend in Lahore have been full of relaxing, exciting, exhausting and interesting moments.

First important date was my birthday which i tried to celebrate like I was at can imagine ;-). I got great support from Argentina, Croatia, Germany and Poland...but anyway it was a new experience for me to party such a day in a more or less non-party city!

Second, we made an interesting trip to Rohtas Fort. The fort built in 1541 by Schah Sher Khan Suri is a complex of more than 4 kilometers exceeding massive city walls. It was never conquered!
One tip: If anybody of you has ever the possibility to visit this place, use the late afternoon time otherwise you are cooking away...or maybe come there in winter ;-).

Fruthermore we visited a really nice furniture store in Islamabad with authentique pieces of Pakistanian living culture...i just say: Exrteme! Very beautiful furniture and highest quality for low money and each piece is unique!

Since we liked last time Lahore so much we went last weekend again to the city which never sleeps. This time i had to go there for a business trip but it was worthy, less heat, due to rain the previous days, made the journey really pleasant. Although all of us got some problems with the throat because it was pretty much windy we really enjoyed that weekend much more than the last one. Besides we stayed this time in another room of the guest house and i think not even one five star hotel in Lahore can top this place, (but decide later in the gallery)! This time we also experienced a ride with a rickshaw! This is a real adventure, quite dangerous but very effective since you can pass any street you want. And although this vehicle is so small four adults and one child, plus driver, were fitting inside, without any problem...i think one more adult and three more kids would be the maximum ;-)!
So the weekend was more or less a success...

What else happened?

Short facts:
+ Well, i bought a Salwar Kamiz. I am not explaining what it is, check the photos!
+ The riots and turmoil settled down a little bit. Since two weeks it is quite peaceful again in Pakistan.
+ Maybe one more interesting thing. I told you about that "Red Mosque" in Islamabad, or at least showed you some photos...well, it is located quite in the middle of the city and two weeks ago four policemen patroling around this area were kidnapped by some of the 6.000 students which are going there to school, (you must know it is a mosque and a religious school). The goal was to get some inprisoned brothers free! As far as i heard two policemen were exchanged with two prisoners and the day after in the early morning hours special forces, including police, army and intelligence agency where covering the whole area...result? Nobody knows, you didn´t hear anything about success or no success...just one thing is clear, the Red Mosque is still active in its living way, what brings me to the conclusion that it was maybe solved in a diplomatic way and those people are still processing their daily!
+ Other news...since more than one week i think half of the population of children in Islamabad are ill. Some virus spread around...also Ameli is affected. So we also made now our first exprience with the "best" hospital in town. Well, they are competent but they are also pretty much expensive! So if you want to get cured in Pakistan you need a big fat wallet!
+ Our mountain journey was cancelled since we found out that it is suggested not to go with children under two years in areas over 2.500m, because of high risk of mountain sickness. Well, the northern area of Pakistan starts more or less at this we had to change our plans and i will have to explore the mountains by myself to find finally Yeti!
Short facts...end!

However the girls will soon leave Pakistan, (in two weeks), and myself will still enjoy this beautiful country till the 12th of July and then i am going to come back to good old Europe to get one month later again into the plane and make another trip to Paki...
Yes, once here involved in work they bound you somehow ;-).

So far, i wish you still a nice time and hope to see lots of you as soon as possible in good old Europe!

Allah Hafiz!

Check out the latest photos...Click here.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Nightmare in Lahore!

Hello friendz, families and all the other curious guys around the www!

As i wrote last time we were going to visit amazing Lahore. But!
Maybe it wasn´t the best decision to drive to a six million people city while at the same time cancelled chief justice was on the same way! The guy who was fired by President Musharraf because of whatever...came to a city full of frenetic fans who wanted to show that justice is still blind and should stay over everything. Well, at least on that weekend problably x thousands of people were on the streets fighting for the right of law and order. Besides it had around 45 degrees and our driver, (who told us he knows Lahore well), wasn´t really aware about that situation. However, it was an exciting weekend until Saturdays evening time when we tried to escape from the city centre and...normal way from centre to our guesthouse is about good one hour...that time it took us 4 hours!!! It was a state of emergency in the city. Half of the streets were closed because of demonstrators and we were right in the middle! We were pretty much happy to reach at ten in the evening our accomodation. Lahore the city which never sleeps, especially this night! Next day we hurried up to leave the city and went back to Islamabad. And since demonstrations are very popular, this weekend all the main cities were again full of crowd because the politcal parties decided to hold speeches and rally around. Consequence: 18 deaths in Karachi! Thanks God Islamabad was very peaceful but no wonder if every ten minutes some military, heavy armed helicopter was flying over our heads...well, where Musharraf is appearing it is mostly quite secure! So we used the time and visited Sunday market in Islamabad, well check it out, there are some really nice photos again online...
...for the next weekend is a longer trip planned to the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Since we decided not to go to India because of price explosions we will explore the big mountains...the really big ones! So right now there is not much more to say just...Yeti, we´re coming!

Latest Photolink here...

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Stay cool in Paki!

Buenos Dias!
Well, most of the people will now think i am slowly getting completely crazy because of that spanish introduction but since we learned to know some guys from the Argentinian Embassy we try to improve our Espanol. Furthermore now after nearly one month of vegetating in Pakistan it is getting really hot. Slowly they are preparing big ice cubes which will soon land in the swimming pools.
Our new favourite place is the UN Club...well quite clear, since it is one of the less islands in Islamabad where you can cool down with your family. And, i think it will get even more popular since it is JUST spring in Pakistan!!! They say that this is still nothing! When it´s scratching 50 degrees, then Pakis start to complain...?!? However, let´s wait how it´s going on.
Next exciting surprise is that i will have to prolong my stay in this beautiful country, due to delays, till end of July, yes one month longer! This means 50 degrees plus...Aaaaahhh!
Right at the moment we are looking forward to our preparations for the India trip! Yes, indeed we wanna try flying to Delhi and make a trip to Agra, (Taj Mahal), Jaipur, (also known as Pink City), and back to Delhi. If the Indian Embassy is giving us Visas...Hindustan...we´re coming!
But before, we will visit the most exiting city of Pakistan...Lahore! City of Lollywood, Pakistanian´s answer to Hollywood and Bollywood! We are excited and looking forward escaping from Islamabad.
So, see you next time on jkf76´s blog for impressions! Hasta la vista!!!!

Here is the photo link -> photos!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Dobar dan!

Our website of the apartment in Rovinj is now also
available in German language...check it out!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Power to the people!

Hi everybody,

Long time no see! Well, already more than two weeks in Pakistan and slowly everything is going its way. Good progress in business, (although i hardly believe to be back in Europe before end of June), weather is getting again a little bit cooler, (just 40 degrees), and the girls are even more busy than myself. We are now officially members of the UN Club. Well, there you can meet more or less just foreigners, you are able to go for swimming, (a great pool), fitness center is attached and a nice restaurant which reminds me a little bit on home in a commercial way. But you can go at least for a beer legally! Last weekend we met the Austrian community. Well, nearly everbody from Austria is working for OMV in this country, of course! But we met some new nice people also from other parts of the world. We either visited a "safari park". Hm, the funny thing is that this safari park consits of expensive real estates and not how we believed of animals. Yes there are animals, artificial cows, ... ! Another day we went to Taxila museum, a region next to Islamabad where Alexander the Great, the Greek Mythology, Hindus, Buddhists and Moslems where meeting...and this everything between 2 century b.c. - 3 century a.d.! Really exciting, for history freaks ;-). So this is my short descritpion about last week...ah, something i forgot. Yesterday i had my first experience with a real Pakistanian doctor. Since it was so hot the last days, all my stomach muscle got inflamed by ACs, quite uncomfortable. To be secure i went to a doctor suggested by the Austrian embassy. It was interesting...i told him what i think to have and he agreed! And at the end i had to pay 15,-€, incl. medicine. At least private docs in Paki are a real occasion.
Okay so far, more news coming up soon...nice greetingz to everybody! JKA.

Photo link ->

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Paki is calling...!

Asalam Aleykum!

Nice greetings from Islamabad...the city which sleeps at ten in the eve!!!
Well, we are now for one week in Pakistan and it´s getting hotter and hotter. Today it had 39 degrees, tomorrow they forecasted 44!!!!! Incredible. I am happy to be blown away by air conditions. Even our accomodation has in each room at least one AC plus a huge ventilator which starts to work when the AC blows too much, kind of new energy ressource ;-). Thanks God that ACs are installled everywhere. I think if you wanna make business in Pakistan you should open a power plant, $ !
Katja and Ameli are already getting used to the different culture and i think soon we will need some bodyguards for Ameli, because everybody wants to grep her, touch and take photos of her!
However, first weekend we visited Rawalpindi and Murree...Pindi is really something completely different to Islamabad. The peak of our visit was the lunch taken in a hotel, for all kind of local travellers, where Osama and his gang were probably just one of the tribal guests form the North West Frontier Province. Really exciting! Last Sunday we have been in Murree, the Lignano for Pakistanians, which is on 2.300m...and i think it had nearly 30 degrees in the sun! Well everything else looks quite nice. Tomorrow we are meeting the Austrian community...finally again a nice cooling beer!
Our next plans are going to see Lahore, Karachi, eventually New Delhi, and another possibility would be Katmandu, although i am already happy with Pakistan so...well, let´s see. Okay, hopefully everybody is fine in good old Europe. Please update me from time to time what´s going on since we are here til mid of June.
Here is a link to the photos of last week...enjoy: Photos

Best wishes,

Monday, 2 April 2007

Dear all,

New photo galleries have been uploaded...

...Paddy´s Day 2007...
A must for any Guinness friend!

...Freediving in the Adriatic sea 2006...
Check the amazing wildlife underwater!


Some news:

Anybody who is interested in making holidays in beautiful Croatia has now the unique possiblity to choose one of the most pretty and stylish apartments of Rovinj. Besides there are lots of suggestions for activities in the "Toscana of Croatia"!

Check out the link ...Apartment for renting...


Wednesday, 28 March 2007 i come!

On the 4th of April 2007 i am going back to Islamabad!

I will update you every once a while about "New Adventures in Paki".


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

My first posting...

Hi friendz,

This is my first posting on my very first weblog...amazing, isn´t it?

In future i will try to post as frequently as possible any kind of
information what seems to be interesting for me.

So far...let the power be with you!