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Day 17: The Shandur Pass

The Shandur Pass, Pakistan 
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Winning combination. Truc, Bulbul Jan and a handful of the magic diet that they hope will give them a hat-trick of victories
Michael Palin - HimalayaGilgit's team is drawn entirely from the ranks of police and army. They're well-drilled, organized, efficient but institutional. Their captain, Bulbul Jan, is a tall middle-aged man with neat, short hair and the modest, kindly manner of an avuncular schoolmaster. Hard to believe as he talks softly to us that he is one half of the most successful combination in free-style polo. The other is his tall, black Punjabi stallion, Truc.

Bulbul is 55 and his horse is 21. Together they have played in 15 of these matches and have led Gilgit to victory for the last two years, proving that despite the Herculean efforts required of them up here on the plateau, guile and experience still count as much as youth and strength. Bulbul claims that Truc can tell him, within 24 hours of a game, just how things will work out.

'So what about your chances tomorrow?'

Truc bares his teeth and rears his head away, clearly impatient to end the interview.

'Truc is in a very good mood,' pronounces Bulbul Jan.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 17: The Shandur Pass
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: The Shandur Pass
  • Book page no: 39

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