Driving to Gokina

I’ve been living in Islamabad for over three years and must have gone to Gokina (the spot at the top of the hills, on the way to Pir Sohawa), or to Pir Sohawa itself, dozens of times, but I never (successfully at least) drove there on my own.

My last attempt was a long time ago, only a few weeks after I had gotten the car. At that time, I wasn’t aware of the engine’s capabilities, had next to zero knowledge in car maintenance, plus had never driven in a hilly area. I didn’t even know how far we had to go.

It was pretty close to the top (so I now know) that the engine gave up and I realized that the car had overheated. Let’s forget the fact that in those days, I hardly ever checked the radiator (it’s done almost daily now), or that I shouldn’t have switched the engine off. Yes, I switched it off, right there on the slope, opened the bonnet and slowly started to unscrew the cap. You can imagine what happened next.

An eruption of steam and boiling water flung the cap high into the air and threw me a few feet away, though thankfully, without the slightest injury. Upon the advice of a passerby, I kept the engine running for a while and waited for it to cool down a little. Then turned around as soon as the car was able to and back down I went, thinking I’ll never take this risk again.

That was 2004 (not a good year for my driving). Forward to 10th September 2006, a Sunday where me, my sister and Ali were contemplating on going to F-9 park to pass time when on an impulse, I turned the car towards the Pir Sohawa road and up we went. That’s the beauty of Islamabad. A 10-20 minute drive (depending on how much you value your life) brings you to the top of the world.

We got up to the top without any issues and the car handled it pretty well. It was one of the most fun drives of my life and that, plus the excellent view and atmosphere at the newly opened restaurant at the top, made it well worth the effort.