Adventure sports: Scottish cyclist tours the ‘land of the hospitable’

Published: September 27, 2012

Denise Davies cycles in Chitral. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

SWAT: 

Pakistan has been in the international headlines for all the wrong reasons, said Denise Davies, a young Scottish cyclist who is touring the country. He said he sees reality to be different and wants to promote a positive image of Pakistan to the rest of the world.

“Usually media projects Pakistan as an extremist country but there are no signs of that on ground,” said Davies during an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

He and some of his cyclist friends set out to pedal through Istanbul in Turkey, from where they went to Central Asian states, Iran and China.

His friends disbanded when he entered Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) via Khunjerab Pass, which is the highest border crossing across the Karakoram Range.

“I really haven’t seen such hospitable and caring people in any other part of the world. Even though I’m carrying a tent and some food, I haven’t had to use them as the locals invite me over to their homes to spend the night and have food with them,” he said. “Pakistanis are peace-loving people and I have learnt many good values from them,” he added.

“Up till now, I haven’t come across any extremist elements at any point of my journey. The mountains ranges are tremendous and beautiful and seeing Kalash people in Chitral who have maintained their centuries-old culture and tradition was just perfect,” Davies remarked. He said the security forces and the police are “very kind and cooperative” and he was obliged to them for giving him security.

When asked how he liked the local cuisine, he said he likes all traditional food here but loves to eat pakoras and tanduri roti the most. He seemed to be completely at ease with Pakistanis and apart from enjoying the traditional food, he also danced on occasion to the beat of traditional drum.

“I wish that my friends would have also come with me so that they would not miss such a fantastic opportunity of seeing such gentle people in these beautiful valleys,” he said. “I want to convey to the international community that Pakistan is not only beautiful but the people of the land are hospitable, positive and peace loving. I invite my other cyclist friends to visit this country too,” he added.

Davies was heading towards Rawalpindi on Tuesday after completing his tour in G-B. Next up, he will go to Lahore and then enter India on his bicycle.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2012. 

Reader Comments (6)

  • Gul
    Sep 27, 2012 - 5:22PM

    The international Media can only highlight negative things about Pakistan. they no nothing positive

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  • Anne
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:45AM

    GB is indeed very different from the rest of Pakistan. Many people are Ismaeli muslims, most of them very much educated. As a matter of fact, people from GB don’t even have representatives in the national Parliament, so one could almost argue that it’s almost not part of Pakistan. Northern Pakistan is definitely a very hospitable country. Let’s hope the troubles never affect these regions.

    “Davies was heading towards Rawalpindi on Tuesday after completing his tour in G-B.”
    I doubt he’ll be able to cycle through Kohistan as the authorities will probably put him and his bike onboard a bus. But let us all wish him a good trip anyway.

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  • Abdul Rauf
    Sep 30, 2012 - 9:22AM

    It’s pleasant to hear a friendly western voice about Pakistan.
    I am from Lahore an amature cyclist, if u coming to Lahore, You are welcome to stay with us.
    Have a safe journey.

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  • Abdul Rauf
    Sep 30, 2012 - 2:08PM

    It’s pleasant to hear a friendly western voice when so much negative is bursting around.
    I am an amature cyclist in Lahore, if you are around, you are welcome to stay at home place.
    Have a safe journey.

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  • Oct 12, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Hi,
    My name is Iqbal from Skardu Baltistan Pakistan.I m’ working as adventure and tour guide since 11 years in the Karakorum, Himalia, and Hindukush.
    I always most well come you to visit in our area, and I will be ready for you to provide all kind of services.
    Regards
    Iqbal

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  • Ethan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:11PM

    Anne” GB is a Province of Pakistan and has representation in Government and the people there are very much Pakistani. Everything that people say good about pakistan, someone has a smart ignorant comment to try to make it seem like it’s out of the Norm. Todd Shea is an American who lives in Islamabad, now you’ll tell me that Islamabad isn’t actually a part of Pakistan? how about Ethan Casey who visits often and stays in various cities, are all those not Pakistan either?

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