Linda and I skipped breakfast and headed off out on our own to do some exploring. We followed a backstreet into the Saddar Bazaar area of Gilgit and wandered through the narrow alleys of the market where merchants squatted amid bags of coloured spices, piles of vegetables, and sides of freshly-killed meat. We spent half an hour watching and photographing a baker and his staff baking fresh naan bread in a traditional oven consisting of a stone bench with a flask-shaped oven set into it. The dough is rolled out flat then spread over a piece of wood covered with cloth, then slapped onto the inner walls of the oven which has a hot fire burning at its base. After 5 minutes or so the naans, which have blistered and bubbled as they cooked, are flicked out with a metal hook and stacked ready to be whisked away to the nearby restaurants.
When we left the bazaar, we walked out of town through the acres of neatly terraced fields, bare of anything at this time of the year except the leafless stands of trees. We followed the dirt road up a long valley for about 7 km from Gilgit where a carved figure of the Buddha decorates a sheer cliff above a steep stream.
The figure is about 2 metres high and framed with a pentangle, and it is at least 9 m above the ground. It was a strange edifice to see so far from civilization, out here in the mountains. However, we didn’t linger too long as it was very cold there were a bunch of quite menacing dogs prowling around and children throwing stones at us. We caught a Suzuki back into town and made our way through the bazaar and back to the Hunza Inn. About 4PM, the five of us headed back up to the Serena Lodge to watch the nightly video followed by a slap-up meal of roast beef and mashed spuds.