Sukkur – Mach

28.3.2013

Km counter: 37969 today: 295 sum: 2853

N27°41’52.6” E068°51’25” – N29°41’58” E067°23’08”

I get no sleep all night as the mosquitoes in Sukkur drive me crazy again. 15 minutes before 5 my escort arrives. I am pretty pissed at the guy who wants to protect me with his ridiculous looking shotgun. Guys out there have kalaschnikows and rocket launchers. Even if they would send two heavily armed cars with me it would be 3 shots instead of one at the worst case. But nobody wants to harm me! The rebels are only fighting the police not me. The risk is more caused by the police around me which is a target more worth attacking than I am. Aazad mare Balochistan! (Free Balochistan in balotchi language) I already made some little Balochistani rebel songs so it will be no problem there. I ask the guy what he would do if 18 heavily armed Taliban would turn up on the road. If he would run away like his colleague in Nokkundi 10 days ago leaving two Czech girls at the age of 20 and 22 years alone…. His look at the floor I take as a yes.

I tell him I will not care for the escort, jump in the car and go with him following me. Way out of town is saved on my navigation system so I just go on when my escort changes several times…. Road is good at the first kilometers and I don’t see any escort any more. Suryananda is faster than ever… Unfortunately the roads in Sindh are generally donkey tracks so soon my average speed drops to below 20 and the escort has no problem keeping up with me. Still I ignore them stopping in a nice village at a chai shop. When I stop the cop jumps out of the car shouting “Go!, go!” – I shout back “No!, No!, I have chai! Chai!” He jumps in the car again and leaves. I go the chai shop, have chai and a chat with the people around.

Getting closer to Balochistan the people become more and more beautiful. I take out the camera and start making portraits. The problem here, and probably that’s why all people are afraid of this people, they smile and laugh all the time. But whenever they see a camera facing them their faces turn like they are just on the way to a fight about life and death. Still they are beautiful but still I prefer them smiling and joking! When I am just about to order the second chai the police guy comes back and tells me to go now. I don’t really want to fight with him here on the street knowing I have all the people behind me which is proven by what happens now.

I get in the car and reverse to get on the road again. One guy looking at my backside and telling my to go shouting and waving his hand. 1m later I crash into something and people hit on suryananda so I stop at the second. Obviously I had kicked down a motorbike. People that already had left the chai shop come back and a little crowd forms around us. Now the police officer is getting really really nervous. Still most of the people support me telling me smilingly “no problem, accidents happen, just go…!”. The owner of the bike appears at my window too demanding 2000 rupees (15 euro) but not being very confident as the people around us are rather shouting at him than at me. The officer is totally stressed out shouting at me “Go!, Go!” as he obviously does not really understand what is going on close around me. However I hit the road and go. What to do – I love these people here!

For many kilometers I see no escort again, seems like the guy is stuck in the crowd probably explaining why he hunts a guest away. Road is horrendous until I leave Sindh. After entering Balochistan it becomes pretty good soon so I have another shop at a chai shop. I am escorted again but the escort is just going on when I stop. They seem not to enjoy chai a lot. The chai shop is pretty full of beautiful Balochistan “Taliban”. When I come in they look at me like they look when I take the camera. “Salaam aleikom!”, I say and smile at them – they smile back immediately and the ice is broken. I have two or three chai and enjoy the hospitality of the people. Its Balochistan – no way to pay! ” I am the guest! I love Balochistan I think and sing Aazad mare Balochistan for them – Free Balochistan! They love me.

Soon I pass Sibbi and one of the most beautiful parts of my journey is starting. The Mountain road up to the Bolan Pass and to Quetta. Only 140km road and here I really don’t like to be escorted because I want to go fishing today! The first police checkpoint at the beginning of the valley I just pass leaving the guys looking at my back side. The canyon I am passing is amazing and soon the battery of the camera is finished. The second battery was damaged in Hampi so I put the one I have in the charger and continue very slowly. I arrive at a place I already wanted to enjoy the year before but then I had a levies guy sitting next to me.

At a beautiful stretch of the river, right next to the road a few guys were standing, some with kalaschnikows, waving their hands at me from the river bank. I take the next possibility down to the river and stop suryananda. I take some cookies with me and go to where they wait for me. Unfortunately I cant remember one of their names as it was just too many! They invite me for chai and I recognize they are fishing. I get my fishing gear and my guitar from the car and we have an amazing time there – unfortunately my camera charging during that time. After more than an hour police turns up and is very unrelaxed about what I am doing. I just had my first takes and the guys showed me one barbel like fish they caught – but no way, I have to go on.

As the battery of the camera is still empty I go very very slowly and enjoy the landscape. At the next restaurant I make a stop and get food. After eating I ask the people there for a shop as I need batteries for my torch too. They point out to the desert so I go the direction for about two hundred meters and find nothing. I go back to the restaurant to find out the “shop” is a tiny container in front of the restaurant – in a complete different direction! However the cameras battery is charged again. It is little past 5 p.m. so sun will set in around an hour. I remember a beautiful police station in Mach, just a few kilometers ahead where I had chai last year. I stop there and ask for to stay that night. No problem they say and I park in front of the police station and jump out of the car with my camera.

The landscape is crazy, the light perfect! I take a few pictures and ask the police officer for a shop as I still need batteries for my head light. He takes me down to the river shows me a waterhole where the water is filtered by the gravel and points out to the desert when I ask for a shop. This time I see something like a roof out there and go. After a few hundred meters he starts shouting at me so I change the direction but keep going. Its already getting dark when I arrive at the house I have seen. There is nobody living in there still its in a good shape. I hear voices so I follow them and arrive at a tiny little village with house made by palm leaves and amazingly beautiful people living there.

They don’t have a shop of course but they offer chai. I like the people a lot as they ask me for my language and we start teaching each other immediately. They don’t like me to take pictures of their houses even though I think they are beautiful nomadic buildings. As its getting dark soon they give me company on the way back. We nearly run back through the gravel bed of the river to met the police officer when they just leave they police station to search for me. Last years history is kind of repeating – I am sorry again. Apologizing I take out the guitar and make music for them. They enjoy a lot and some chais later we go out to have food. Still I don’t get batteries and I am not really confident about the electricity in the car. However I got up very early so I fall asleep as soon as we come back from the restaurant.