Dalbandin – Taftan

3.4.2013

Km counter: 38674 today: 287 sum: 3558

N28°53’13” E064°24’20” – N28°58’34” E061°33’14”

Again an amazing landscape and again security guys keep me too much up to speed. From Dalbandin to Nok Kundi the road goes slightly down and is in the best condition I have seen since…… being on this road. Its less than 300km now until we will see a real road again! Petrol is tight but under this circumstances I keep going. I take 10l after one hour rolling down through the desert and go on. We approach the area where the girls were kidnapped so I start asking my security guy about it. As far as I find out the Taliban and the BLF (Balochistan Liberation Front) had been attacking a police checkpoint two weeks ago. They were about to fight against the police when two more police guys turned up with the girls…. It was not about kidnapping at all and if the girls wouldn’t have had an escort they would still be on the road. What I always say seems to be true – its not the area and its people that is dangerous. Its dangerous to be with the police because they are no democratic force here, they are more like Pakistani occupants who try to rule Balochistan. Of course the Balotchis are pissed!

At Nok KundiI see the entry of the girls in one of the books all foreigners have to register… 16 entries before mine at march 18.. I need to get some PetroI in Nok Kundi too which unfortunately became more expensive after Quetta while I am running out of Rupees.I am lucky too find a nice Petrol smuggler who gives me the cheapest petrol I got this time in Iran! “Mehman hai” – you are a guest! I love Pakistan! I arrive at Taftan by afternoon. The battery is charging again so a better mood comes back with the music. The escort brings me directly to the customs building even though I tell them I want to spend the night here. No problem customs is done today so I can leave early morning and don’t need to wait here. And while the customs is done I set up my place for the night at the police station. Pakistan is great! In the evening I am invited at the police station and in this place it seems to be really nice guys. When I ask for Aspirin in the evening they bring me straight to the doctor who gives me Aspirin then…. By the way today I really needed the sun to charge my battery and 20km after Nok Kundi it was, believe it or not, RAINING!

Quetta – Dalbandin

2.4.2013

Km counter: 38387 today: 331 sum: 3271

N30°12’02” E067°01’25” – N28°53’13” E064°24’20”

My escort comes early and so we leave Quetta well before 8 o clock. I take some Petrol to easily reach Dalbandin but not much further because I expect it to become cheaper on the way. Escort is following me and by chance I find the right way out of town. Around 50km out of town the gas wire breaks. The police guys suggest to tow the car back to Quetta. I suggest to call a mechanic to come with a piece of wire. I end up fixing a rope at the carburetor pulling the rope instead of stepping on the gas. The more I pull, the faster we go and the rope comes in at the side window. Somehow it feels more like riding a horse than driving a car but I make the 15km to the next village where I get a warm welcome, free chai and a new wire. Of course I make some music for the people too and we all enjoy.

The day goes by with the escort keeping me in a hurry and trying to avoid me making any contact with local people. Rather more than less successful this time unfortunately. Some of the guys are nice some are real idiots sitting next to me and annoying me for many kilometers. The solar panels still don’t charge even though I find the fuse that is finished so I don’t even have music all day. In the evening I find out the charger is done and connect the solar panels directly to the battery. Seems to work! A day full of challenges for the mechanic inside of me. I arrive in Dalbandin at afternoon being locked in a police station again. People here really seem to panic because of the two Czech girls that were being kidnapped two weeks ago here. The landscape is mindblowingly amazing all day. Driving this land is like meditation only interrupted by the checkpoints.

Quetta

30.3.-1.4.2013

Km counter: 38056 today: 0 sum: 2940

N30°12’02” E067°01’25”

As I already expected I cannot get the NOC before Monday. What I did not expect I am not able to move free in Quetta. As I find out until the evening I cannot even move free inside the parking area of the police which is surrounded by a big wall and full of cars. I am more or less prisoner inside the car. Internet does not work anymore and I am not even allowed to go to the opposite side of the street to get a chai. Not funny. And even worse all day people coming and knocking at suryanandas windows making me feel like an animal in a zoo. And in fact that’s what I am! All the police is coming to take a look at me until I start taking pictures of the people looking inside and fix a note outside. At sunset of the first day I climb on suryanandas roof top to enjoy but seconds later a stupid idiot calls me down – this is not allowed because I see the officers house! But its no fuckin problem you pressing your noses at my sleeping room window? Fuck off I think, climb down and lock inside the car. The second day I make an attempt to get a chai in the morning but no way. The surrounding area is extremely beautiful, the people outside extremely hospitable in the few moments I have the chance to get a contact to them.

I have a flat tire again too but luckily its only the valve that is damaged so no problem. The “jack” the cops use for my car is very clever. Nice idea! Second day in the evening I get internet for a few minutes just to find out my homepage is still offline. I decide to get some phone balance and call my webmaster tomorrow. In the evening I can put suryananda on a more peaceful place at the parking area. I still hope to leave next day morning. Everyone keeps saying NOC takes only “five minutes”…. Why am I still believing this bullshit?

Next day morning we (I always have my heavily armed guard next to me – even though I promised many times not to harm anybody…) go to the ministry that issues the NOC. In the first office I apply for the NOC and as soon as I hand over the papers all people leave the office. I wait for 20 minutes and then I ask my guard what we are waiting for. “They are on strike”, he replies, “they will be back after 45 minutes”. Needless to say that they come back more than two hours later. All in all it takes more than 5 hours waiting (instead of “five minutes”) to get a stupid paper that provides “foolproof security on the way” for an Australian citizen with my name. Not that I didn’t give them my passport or didn’t explain 100 times where I am from. However, tomorrow morning at 7 o clock I will leave Quetta after three days on the police carpark.

Mach – Quetta

29.3.2013

Km counter: 38056 today: 87 sum: 2940

N29°41’58” E067°23’08” – N30°12’02” E067°01’25”

When I wake up the sun is out. I slept very well and I get chai as soon as I open the door. Seems like police officers want me to stay a little as they offer food. I take the camera and start to explore the close surroundings of the police station. At night I had to park inside the station as outside it was “Too dangerous!” As soon as I am crossing the street one guard calls me back to have chai. I go back in at the front door and back out at the side door to take a look at the fantastic rock wall behind the police station. Yesterday fishing, today rock climbing in Balochistan? Why not? This wall is incredibly amazing beautiful and has easy and hard spot very close!

I go back inside to get my climbing shoes but the officer stops me. He tells me about snipers in the mountains who would have fun shooting me down. I don’t know if to believe him but it really seems like Pakistan is on the road only. One step off the road I am in Balochistan for which I have no Visa (NOC). At around 10 breakfast is ready, I am not allowed to go outside the walls but the guys want me to stay for one or two days….. doing what?! The officers disappears to get bread for the breakfast promising to be back in 10 minutes leaving me with a boy a little older than 20 who was preparing the breakfast.

2 hours later I tell this boy I will leave now and open the gate. He smiles at me and tells me he would not allow me to go while he closes the gate again saying I have to wait for the officer who would come back in “five minutes”. I smile back at him and tell him he has three options: Opening the gate again to let me wait outside, get some firearm and keep me hostage, or get a punch in his face and I will be on the road in a minute. Even though I am smiling and very friendly he recognizes I am not joking and chooses option one. So I park outside under the palm tree and wait for the officer. During this time the friendly man from the village passes by and stops to talk to the boy. I hear him saying something about incense of which I have plenty so I step back in the car to get some. When I come back to the cockpit the officer is back. I give the incense to the village guy who is very pleased and hit the road.

Landscape is incredibly beautiful again so I enjoy the road a lot until I stop at a chai shop I remember from the last time passing by. I order chai and notice the beautiful guys around me. Unfortunately it is very hard to see Balochistani girls but judging by the men they must be amazingly beautiful. I drink two chai and find out they have diet coke at the shop. I buy two of them and go back to the car suddenly being surrounded by the people who had been sitting around before seeming not to be much interested in me… Asking the usual questions (Where are you from, whats your name, are you married, why not, are you travelling alone, what really, only one person…)I answer by taking out my guitar and sit for another chai and some music with them. A police officer arrives too and from the moment I start singing he does not stop offering joints to me… Pakistan. I stay little more than an hour before I leave to take the last 50km to Quetta where I will need to get the NOC to cross Balochistan to Iran.

The closer I get to Quetta the more the police is armed. Around 10km before Quetta I take a side street to take a few pictures without power lines. Within two minutes police is there and brings me back to the road. Two km later I get a heavily armed, permanent escort to Quetta. “Where u want to go?” they ask. “I want to sleep at the police station” I reply. “No possible, Hotel”, the guy replies, “Bloom Star Hotel!”. “No way!” I say but off he goes. He goes directly to this Hotel I ve been already last year and orders me to drive in. I refuse. I tell him I was here before and I will not go there again for what happened then. He raises his shoulders for a second and then we go to the police station. I go to a place where I can park, meet the stupid officer in charge who has a disgusting yankee accent and an even more disgusting behavior. He asks me for Viagra five minutes later! Cops! By the time I recognize it is Friday evening and I will not get my NOC before Monday! Stuck again! Damn! At night I hear a lot of gun shots and low flying military airplanes. And temperatures drop to nearly freezing at 1500m. Welcome to Balochistan!

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.

Islamabad – Sukkur

25. & 26.3.

Km counter: 37674 today: 993 sum: 2558

N33°42’17” E073°05’18” – N27°41’52.6” E068°51’25”

Monday morning I go to get passport pictures and my payment for Iran visa done. I am ready by 11 so I take a taxi to take me to the entrance of the embassy district. I get searched several times, have to leave my cellphone and everything but money and papers there and then take a shuttle bus to the embassy. There I hand my papers to a guy who tells me to come back in 3 hours so I take a shuttle back to the entrance, a taxi back to the camping ground and relax for half an hour before I have to take a taxi to the entrance…… Fortunately all is well so I am back at the camping area starting suryananada at around 4 o clock. I will try to catch up with Abu and two Austrian guys who are one day ahead so I have a lot of motivation for driving.

A lot of traffic brakes me when leaving the city but then there is an amazing highway that I use for about nearly 100km. Then I leave the highway short before sunset to take a shortcut south. I am not quite sure about this as the police checkpoints of the highway are annoying and take time even though I started ignoring their attempts to stop me. At night they will be probably worse and I plan to drive thru the night. Surprisingly police goes to sleep short after the sun and is not to be seen until late morning. I pass a few hills at dusk.

The electricity problem still exists so I connect the batteries to have music when driving. A little after midnight the light switch is finished. For a moment I am afraid I have to stop but when playing around at the fuses the light turns on again. I take some wire, switch on the light and arrive at Multan at around 8.30 in the morning. I need cash so I wait for the money changer (only available in big cities) and then hit the road again to reach Sukkur in Sindh. I slept there at the police station the year before and the guys there where little annoying but under the score pretty helpful. On the way there I enjoy the hospitality at many toll stations in Punjab again. “Ciao” the guys say, – go. And many times I do so without paying the toll. When I arrive in Sukkur it is Tuesday evening. I have been driving for more than 26 hours and done nearly 1000km by now. And I am done too. As soon as I find the police station with a little help of some locals I get some food and go to sleep.

Sukkur

27.3.

Km today: 0

I wake up because of the heat in the car. Soon the “tourist officer in charge” comes to help me with everything I need – he even offers me hashish (!) telling me that is his duty being responsible for the tourist. Nothing of what he offers is of any need but half an hour later we are at a mechanic who repairs the light switch and refills the second battery – water was low! I hope the problem is solved now and as someone offered me to repair the damage from the accident with the bus in india I take the offer. All is repaired for less than 10 euro! During waiting for the electricity I unpack my guitar and start making some music. Within seconds I am surrounded by people and within minutes I am stopped by the police. Working area – no possible here.

I beg a little and in the evening we go to an amusement park with a nice little restaurant where I can make a little concert. Its really hot here and I need a shower which I get at the barber shop. Cold shower is just fine at beyond 35° in a very humid surrounding. I enter the recommended barber shop and find out the showers need a shower first. No problem they clean one for me so I can enjoy! In the evening we go out to make music in the park – not without heavily armed escort of course. When I start playing I see lightning in the background and when I starts raining two hours later people are not leaving before I finish the last song in the pouring rain. After rain is too much I hand out many business cards to people who want to see my homepage.

When we take a rickshaw to a restaurant from the amusement park it rains heavily. “Nice weather” the officer says, “fuck off”, I think and agree. Having told me all day it is his duty to stay with me and protect me (yeah u did I had the feeling I cannot even piss without protection) he tells me now he is looking forward to some “refreshments” and opens his hand. I don’t understand, look at him and ask myself what he wants… And then he honestly asks me for Alcohol, porn, drugs or money! I am really shocked as I had the feeling he is a good guy all day being just a little too nice (annoyingly nice). Now I find out he did this to get “refreshments” after. I bargain a few minutes and give him 500 rupees not without telling him how disappointed I am. A police officer in Pakistan begging for Alcohol, porn, drugs and money whereas the first three things are completely illegal in Pakistan! I tell him I will leave at five am and I don’t want to see any escort before Quetta. He looks at the floor, agrees and wishes me a good night.

Peshawar – Islamabad

24.3.

Km counter: 36681 today: 213 sum: 1565

N34°00’56” E071°34’56.6” – N33°42’17” E073°05’18”

Shahid wanted to say goodbye in the morning and lead me the way out of town. Today he is still sleeping so I wake him up by calling him and soon he comes. It is still raining a lot and by now the water level is not only rising in the rivers but on the land also. Pretty big and sometimes pretty deep lakes start to build up everywhere and its risky driving through one if you don’t know the depth. Anyway as soon as I am on the Highway the road is great and I am in Islamabad soon. On the way I recognize a problem with the car electricity as the music player doesn’t work. I have been parking in the shadow in Peshawar and it was rainy most of the time. Still, even though I had a room I was careless about the battery. However it should be charged by the car generator which was obviously not the case. In Islamabad I go to the camping ground and after some problems in getting electricity I charge the battery over night. At dusk I check the solarpanels and find one oxidized connection which I repaired. I feel there is electricity coming from the panels so the solar system seems to work. I relax and go to bed.

Peshawar

22.-25.3.

I recognize one difference between Indian and Pakistani people being that Pakistani talk less and do more… Next day morning Shahid picks me up at 10 o clock and we go to the mechanic. I get new mirrors and the valves adjusted within nearly no time. While the car is being repaired Shahid points at another building just opposite the street telling me the number of killed and injured people by the bomb blast there. My question when it happened he answered with “Two hours before we come”! Whenever I speak about THE market Shahid seems to be uncomfortable and tries to change the topic. On the second day I am successful and we got there for half an hour. It is truly incredible! Kalaschnikow 70 Euro, rocket launcher 200 euro…. I think about how a rocket launcher would look on the roof of suryananda but then dismiss the thought because it is too hard to install the electronic tor targeting in the cockpit…

People here are very friendly and I enjoy one or another chat with the so called Taliban. Peshawar is a really crazy town as there is a permanent traffic jam. The one road you have to use to go anywhere is the Great Trunk road which connects Kabul to Delhi. A few kilometer out of town the tribal area starts – in this area is the market and there is no police allowed (It would not be healthy for them). According to this the 4 lane street in Peshawar is controlled by roadblocks and military/police every 500m. They randomly search cars and are pretty tensioned. Shahid is very pleased that we plan to go to swat river for fishing tomorrow.

Unfortunately the next day is rainy and cold. Not the best conditions to go fishing but still we want to try. As we approach a beautiful river which offers some amazing spots I first recognize the loads of sediments the river is carrying because of the quickly rising water level. Seeks like it is raining in the mountains too so the water is cold and I don’t see any sign of fish activity. I’d pack my things and go home without even trying at an unknown river at home. Here I make a few casts but give up soon having the expected success. Not a sign of a fish. I remember the huge fish I have seen on the market which come from this river but alive I don’t see any. As rain is starting to become heavier we leave the place soon and go back to Peshawar. Tomorrow I will go back to Islamabad.


Islamabad – Peshawar

20.3.

Km counter: 36468 today: 149 sum: 1352

N33°42’17” E073°05’18” – N34°00’56” E071°34’56.6”

Again I wake up to late but still I take a quick chat with Abdullah, my neighbor from germany in his UNIMOG Mercedes, who provides me some tasty coffee before I take a taxi to the embassy district. Inside nothing allowed but the documents. I have to leave my bag at the entrance and take a shuttle service to the Iranian Embassy where the guy tells me “Holiday in Iran, you come back Monday”. Damn, I think but in the same moment I decide not to spend the 4 days I have to wait in Islamabad. I want to go to Peshawar, that fabulous city at the foot of the Khyber Pass, less than 50km from Afghanistan. Taliban area! Its cloudy nd rainy when I go back from the embassy so I have only a little talk with Abdullah and I chalo quickly. Before we exchange phone numbers as we might share an escort through balochistan if I can get my Iran visa quickly on Monday.

With mixed feelings I hit the road. The area I am going to is definitely not recommended for foreigners and there will be a lot of police, army and Taliban in town. As I expected police controls get denser on the way to Peshawar but the guys remain smiling and there is no problem at all. 20km after having my first chai I leave Punjab and enter NWFP (North Western Frontier Province). Now I am in tribal area and police power stops (if they have any at all) one step of the road. When I make a stop to have chai a few kilometers before Quetta I sit in the middle of a Hemp field next to the highway with fivr people around staring at me but not saying one word. I smile at them and they smile back – the ice is broken!

I drink my chai and a few kilometers later I arrive in Peshawar. The entry of the city reminds me more at Quetta than at, Lahore, Islamabad or Rawalpindi. I am back within the wild but very hospitable tribes man. Abdullah recommended a hotel which I have no idea how to find but before I can even think about the problem a guy appears in a car next to me speaking little English and together with my urdu I ask him for the way. “No problem, just follow me”, he answers and we go through a narrow maze of Peshawar. The hotel is unfortunately full and no place to park too. No problem, Shahid, my new Afghani friend knows another place. He brings me to a hotel where I decide to stay for one night. They have nice hot water but are pretty expensive. When Shahid found out that I have all I need to live in my van he offered me a place to park at his home. He had been driving a Ford Transit for30 years and knows the best mechanics he says. Still I need mirrors, handbreak, valves adjusted, and cockpit light repaired. A stronger horn would be nice too

After I checked in I talk to Shahid and tell him That I am hungry and that I want to go to the Khyber district which is more or less off limits for police. Firearms and drugs are sold openly on the street there. It is already dark so we stay away from those places but Shahid, who actually is Taxi driver, takes me to a nice place where we have barbecue chicken together including salad, nice bread and a very tasty garlic sauce. I really enjoy food and chai in this white brick building with many people around but a very calm and clean atmosphere compared to india. I will take my camera with me tomorrow and Shahid will hopefully tell me where I can take pictures so you can see some of my impressions. People start asking me if I am from Pakistan what I deny smilingly. Clothes can make such a difference!

I definitely want to see that market in the three days I have here – and I definitely will try to go up to Khyber pass as far as possible. I have a feeling this, and if I am lucky enough the Durand line, will be the next border I stand at with desire to cross it. But like the border to Pakistan when I saw it first time I will have to wait a few more years here too. Kabul is only 274km away but in the area in between it is too dangerous with a car like suryananda.

On the way back I ask Shahid about the bomb attacks in Kabul and from that second he keeps pointing out his finger at buildings every two minutes telling me about a bomb blast within the last year and the number of killed and injured people. Its rather fancy places. No place I would go but the amount of attacks is impressive to me. Again I remember that I am in an areas now where drones flying above the peoples heads and villages randomly blowing up a building or a group of men, children,…. Again I believe the city is peaceful and anyway Shahid will guide me here so I will have fun for sure!


Islamabad

19.3.

Km counter: 36319 today: 26 sum: 1203

N31°06’21” E074°00’56”

A little exhausted by the day on the road I wake up late. Too late to go to the embassy but ok in time to go to the mechanic. I need a new tire in the right size, the valves adjusted, new backmirrors, a new handbreak and a new light for the cockpit. The first workshop cannot help even though I ve seen so many Ford Transits. At least they can call a shop where they seem to have the tire. I find the shop in the western city of Islamabad very easy and within a little more than an hour and only some confudion about what to do they fix a new tire for 72 euros. Perfect! For the other things I need they tell me to go to the city of Rawalpindi which is in fact the exotic part of Islamabad…. In fact its one city. Traffic in Rawalpindi is hell and after only a few shops I decide to go back to the camping area. At least I got the tire I kept searching in india for a year within less than 2 hours in Pakistan. Evening time I am lazy. I have seen the rose garden on the way back but no blossoms…. I quickly go to the market eat some streetfood and after fix my bed inside suryananda.