Category Archives: Pakistan

@ 7 August 2015- Pakistan to India

Amritsar which is a typical Indian township scene
Amritsar which is a typical Indian township scene
Amritsar and the also typical piles of rubbish which needs to change.
Amritsar and the also typical piles of rubbish which needs to change.

The ride today should be straight forward as we have a 30km ride to the Wagah boarder crossing into India and then another 30km’s to reach our destination of Amritsar.

We managed to get ourselves sorted and out of town reasonably early (around 08:00am) which makes life easier as the traffic tends to be lighter.

We arrived at the boarder and the exit from Pakistan went pretty straight forward, however the customs guys did have a good “poke around” with our luggage.  So it was then onto the Indian side of the crossing but things did not progress as quickly as we quickly realised that Indian’s love bureaucracy and a boarder crossing is the best place to demonstrate how bureaucratic you can get. Ha Ha

It took 3.5hrs to clear the Indian side boarder. We finally started to get angry and informed the customs officers that we will be posting on Facebook how badly visitors are treated at the boarder and we would note their specific names! This certainly got things moving with several officers searching for stamps (we need to get the bikes cleared at each crossing) and we were promptly allowed to leave. Threatening to post on Facebook is a great trick should you have issues like this we find.

In the process of us being held up by customs the German’s overtook us and made it to Amritsar by public transport before we arrived.

Amritsar was a breath of fresh air compared to our journey through Pakistan and I for one was Very relieved to be clear of such a high risk environment. A BIG shout out of thanks to our dear friend Kate MacCallion who provided detailed information in the lead up to our journey through Pakistan and the risks we faced.

The hotel we stayed at had a lovely garden courtyard which was great to just sit back and relax. The humidity was very high, however the temps had backed off to the low 30’s.

Now to relax and enjoy athe next couple of days in Amritsar

@ 6 August- Pakistan

After a lovely breakfast and a slow start following yesterday’s hell ride we were heading to Lahore. We still had approx 450km’s to get to Lahore and we were to be escorted from the hotel.

The  pollution was horrific, however the scenery did start to change with more greenery with trees. We had to force the escorts to stop on a couple of occasions today as they are very reluctant to stop at the road side, however we insisted on at least a couple of snack breaks and to give our legs a stretch.

The roadside shops were very basic, however one shop owner refused to take money from us as he considered us guests in his country. A very nice gesture.

We were finally set free by our escorts 100km short of Lahore which then allow us to crack on at a higher pace . Stopping 15km’s short of Lahore we were checking our maps and we received a note from Ralf and Yin (aka, The Germans) that they were at a hotel and have arranged parking for our bikes and a room  great news, so we were off and all we had to do was find the place!

Having ridden to within a few hundred metres of the hotel we then spent the next 1/2hr getting to the front door as it was dark when we finally arrived and the streets in the centre of the city were manic. We arrived and were greeted by our friends and settled in for the evening.

The hotel staff were great and very accomodating making room in the back yard for our bikes. Lahore itself was a very average so tomorrow we planned to head straight to the boarder.

A typical truck and its load in Pakistan defying physics
A typical truck and its load in Pakistan defying physics
A view from behind of a slightly overloaded truck
A view from behind of a slightly overloaded truck

@ 4 August- Pakistan

Today we have to stay in Quetta as we had been told that we needed to obtain a travel permit from the local government office before we could move on.

This was to be a lesson in patience as we were about to find out. our German friends, Steve and i climbed into a Tuk Tuk and were off to the government office flanked by armed guards on motorbikes which certainly was a fun site.

Having a fun ride in a Tuk Tuk in Quetta on way to station complete with armed escort
Having a fun ride in a Tuk Tuk in Quetta on way to station complete with armed escort

We then proceeded to spend the next 4hrs being taken from one office to another with very little happening. WE were observing our bit of paper just sit on a desk for an extended period while the person who was required to sign the document tried to look very busy by shifting various other bits of paper around without there being much actually occurring. The final “kicker” was that when we complained, the document was simply signed off back by the original person!

So we had our signed travel document and next stop was to get the German’s a train ticket which also involved a rather convoluted process including having to produce passports.

During our stay at the hotel in Quetta we met a Spanish guy traveling solo who had just come from a trip around the “stan’s”. Fortunately he had a complete set of soft copy maps that we were able to upload onto our Garmin GPS device for India, Nepal and Myanmar. This was a result as the maps we had unfortunately had failed earlier in the rip so we were resorting to hard copy maps and the trusty Google maps on our phones.

So tomorrow we are set to move on and hopefully we will only have an escort for the first 200km from town and then we will be free to head to Lahore by ourselves. The German’s will also be able to travel by train once more.

@ 5 August- Pakistan

 

Anything goes over here. Check the minimalist cabin.
Anything goes over here. Check the minimalist cabin.

We bid farewell to the German’s and hoped to catch ip with them again once we reach Lahore. Steve and I were looking forward to the ride today as we would believed we would be free to travel without an escort shortly.

Quetta was a tip of a city and we were very pleased to be leaving. Our police escorts assisted in cutting an easy path through any traffic on the route out of town. There was nothing unusual about our jorney that morning, Steve and I had discussed the route the previous night with the guards so there was nothing to worry about, just follow the armed police vehicle.

The first thing that started to concern us was that the escort did not stop at the 200km mark, we also later that morning realised we were not being taken on route we had discussed the night before which should have been around 400km’s straight through to Lahore. It turned out the police on the day decided (without telling us) the direct route was too dangerous so we were taken on a much longer (nearly 1000km) route heading south east and then  we were to head back up.

We were finally cut loose by our guards after nearly 400km’s, but by this stage we had to completely re map our journey through to Lahore. It was now going to take 2 days to get there and it was later in the day and we had no accommodation arranged for the evening.

We had a chat and decided to push on and make out way through to what we believed to be a reasonable sized town and get accommodation there.

The day turned into evening and we were then stopped by police who made us wait until an armed escort could once again take us on our journey.  We waited for approx 1hr until police arrived, we were wet with sweat and the pollution was disgusting.

Check how soaked our shirts are! Typical in these hot conditions
Check how soaked our shirts are! Typical in these hot conditions

The police officer in charge then offered to have us escorted the  150km to a “safe” hotel as the area we were in was not considered safe for westerners. So once again we were off, by now it was 7;30pm.

As the journey progressed unaware to us, the original instruction given by the organising police officer got confused, with Steve and I finding ourselves with police who tried to “dump” us at the road side at 10;30pm saying we were free to go with us not knowing where we were. The day had quickly turned hell and now getting dangerous.

The conversation quickly changed at this point with me having a very frank conversation with the police at the road side. The police then made several phone calls and found a hotel for us, but it still involved another 45 minute journey. We were off again.

Finally we made it to a hotel in a town call Badawalpur at 11:30pm. We had been on the road 16hrs and covered 780km’s. We had not had breakfast, lunch or dinner due to the escorts not wanting to stop. We were shattered!

Yeh, dodgy photo but it demonstrates the pollution we consumed after a day riding through Pakistan
Yeh, dodgy photo but it demonstrates the pollution we consumed after a day riding through Pakistan

As it turned out, the hotel was the best accommodation we had experienced since being on our Mad Ride.  There is a god.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

@ 3 August-Pakistan

 

Riding the deserts of Pakistan. Hot!
Riding the deserts of Pakistan. Hot!

The sleep last night on the roof turned out to be far nicer than expected, with cool temps and a lovely sunrise to be viewed without having to open the curtains. The only issue was the number of dogs barking throughout the night across the township.

Today our journey is through to Quetta with the road taking us along side the Afghanistan boarder for most of the 340km ride. At one point we were within eye site of the boarder.

The journey was pretty much the same as yesterday with various handovers to different guards and numerous check points which certainly tested our patience in the 43deg temps.

One of the many officers who were assigned to protect us on our journey through Pakistan
One of the many officers who were assigned to protect us on our journey through Pakistan

 

 

@ 2 August- Pakistan

When we started to see Camels we knew the conditions were getting harsh!
When we started to see Camels we knew the conditions were getting harsh!

The sleep last night was pretty average for us all, due to no breeze and the heat built up in the brick buildings just makes life horrible and sleeping outside was not an option due to the overflow of prisoners that were brought in late last night.

We bid farewell to our hosts and the Germans tourists were loaded into the back of a canvas covered Hilux ute along with a couple of guards and we were instructed to stick close behind and follow. This was to become the standard way of traveling for us during our stay in Pakistan.

As the morning progressed we stopped at various military check points and the guards were changed as we passed through different precincts on our way to Dalbandin. During our ride this morning were came across our first sighting of wild camel’s, so we knew we were getting into serious desert country and the heat and boredom certainly confirmed this.

Stopped at a Pakistan military check point in the desert. Looks hot? Yes it was.
Stopped at a Pakistan military check point in the desert. Looks hot? Yes it was.

We arrived at a secure hotel in Dalbandin hot and tired, along with the German’s. We had two guards assigned to stay with us for the night and it is customary that we pay for their meals while we are being guarded.

The two guards assigned to stay with us
The two guards assigned to stay with us

That evening we were not going to be caught out by the heat of the room again and followed the guards lead and took the option of sleeping on the open roof of the hotel despite having paid for the best room in the hotel.

Temps were so high inside and with not a/c and power blackouts it was best to sleep on the roof
Temps were so high inside and with not a/c and power blackouts it was best to sleep on the roof

Statistics for the week;

Distance travelled for the week: 2,073km’s

Average speed  to date: 79.5km/h

Fuel consumption: 4.7 litre per 100km

@ 1 August- Iran to Pakistan

We were up early and both of us were preparing for the days ride  I think we were a little less chatty than normal, probably due to the armed escort and crossing into Pakistan.

The escort arrived on time. A car with two officers and a motorbike with a very boyish looking officer carrying a  Kalishivov.

We set off and as headed for the boarder which was a ride of approx 70km through pretty Barron land. The ride was interspersed with stops at various police checks where our passports were required to be produced for some reason?

A Pakistani flag flying high
A Pakistani flag flying high

We finally made it to the boarder and were ushered  us to the front of the que and left in the hands of the boarder control police. Fortunately this worked in our favour as we had  personal offical ensuring we completed all the paperwork (including having our bike Carne’s signed) ready for our entry into Pakistan.

Passing through the Pakistan boarder control went pretty smoothly apart from having to reinforce that our Carne’s needed signing to ensure the bikes were cleared for entry.

Steve and his new friend at the Pakistan boarder
Steve and his new friend at the Pakistan boarder

Once we were cleared, and we thought we could be on our way, we were then escorted accross what could only be described as an old rubbish dump to a compound, creating a destinct concern for both Steve and I. As it turned out this “compound” was the local Police compound which was to be our home for the night as we were advised we could not proceed without armed police escort until tomorrow.

Within the compound we found ourselves sharing with a “people smuggler” who was locked up and appeared to be pretty much forgotten about, half a dozen young Afgan boy refugees (between 16 & 23y.o.) who were due to be handed over to Afgan officials any day. We were suddenly seeing the reality of what life in this part of the world is like.  These boys had trecked hundred’s of kilometres in a search for a life only to be arrested and now looking at a fate of being handed back to the authorities from where they escaped! You can only wonder what the fate of these boys will be over time?

The far wall comprises of goal cells complete with a People Smuggler
The far wall comprises of goal cells complete with a People Smuggler
The Taftan Police compound toilet. Pretty much as base as you can go!
The Taftan Police compound toilet. Pretty much as base as you can go!

Steve and I were joined later in the evening by a German couple who had also crossed from Iran into Pakista, however they were travelling by bus. They also had been instructed to stay put until an escort tomorrow.

Ralf and Yin, the German husband and wife travelling by bus and train
Ralf and Yin, the German husband and wife travelling by bus and train
Bikes Parked up inside the compound
Bikes Parked up inside the compound

Ralf and Yin (the German’s) were a lovely couple whom we would spend the next day’s travelling through Pakistan with. Tonight however we all had to bed down in the Taftan Police compound, which Lonely Planet described as “hell on earth, and worse in summer”.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day………