<!–:de–>Pakistan – Intensiv!<!–:–><!–:en–>Pakistan has ist all!<!–:–><!–:fr–>Pakistan – intensif !<!–:–><!–:es–>Pakistan – intenso!<!–:–>

Written by Sebastian on September 19th, 2011. Posted in Allgemein

Driving on and on and onSebastian: We arrive at the border with the military escort which accompanied us since shortly before Bam (not one, but different escorts). They help us to find the right places to get the carnet de passage done and to double the line for getting our stamps in the passport. It takes us maximum 30-40 minutes to get out of Iran. When we arrive in Pakistan the first difference to notice is that people speak English and that all the guys that want to offer us the best exchange rates wear pyjamas… interesting!


Crossing the border we experience the first technical problems with the motorcycle. Well chosen timing IBorder = first problem with the bike…

The passport control is fast and we have to go on to get the carnet filled out in the customs. We all start the bikes to get there… we all? No! My bike doesn”t start!!! The others left already but thanks god only to go 50 meters further so I can wave Janine to come back. My starter doesn”t give the slightest sign of live so we have to push the bike. While the others fill in the next book with passport and visa numbers etc (no clue what for) I am checking the fuses on the bike… nothing. Next thing we try is to push start it. We push like crazy but nothing happens… Next step, checking the battery. Fabian finds a melted cable (his reaction was as this: “which asshole has put THAT cable here???”. Naturally it was me…) and takes it away assuring me that this could have been the reason for the instant discharging of the battery. We already wanted to give up when Fabian tells us to try to “pull -start” my Escargot with Martin”s Eva-Dos. We fix a rope to his one that I only hold in my hands and he starts to drive slowly but then faster and faster. After driving in an S-line (it was not as easy as it sounds!) we gather some speed and I open the clutch aaaaand… WRUMMMMMMMMM. My baby starts and from that on I don”t have any trouble any more (until now at least).

In front of the Mad Max like police station we ask to take a picture with the police man and contrary to Iran its not a problem at all!Well done, we can continue to a Mad Max like online casino police station which is a square concrete bunker with complete destroyed cars all around it and even on the roof. The entrance is huge metal door and barbwire is put all around the place.  The people inside though are perfectly nice :). Then we go to the customs to finally get the carnet done. While waiting for it a man shows up that tells us we should follow him afterwards and that he will bring us to the next police escort. When we leave with him we do not feel fine since he doesn”t war a uniform and he is very serious. In the middle of the way we decide to turn around going back to the police station – it”s definitely not the moment to take a risk now. Well of course we would figure out 5 minutes later that the guy was ok (the police man explains us that it was one of his guys) but in this case we preferred being safe to being sorry.


Control point staff posing for a nice pictureLet the adventure begin

So, our trip finally begins in Pakistan, the country of which we do not know what expects us. Fabian and Janine want to cross it as fast as possible for known reasons and Martin and me are somehow undecided. We are handed from one escort to the other, filling in passport and other information in police stations for uncountable times. The escorts btw do not feel in a hurry. Once we stop in the middle of the desert to have some tea and Pakistani biscuits and even when we drive slowly they stay a kilometer behind us… I somehow start to doubt that they can do a lot if ever they were needed. On the other hand, I tell myself, this can be a sign that the area is quite safe! This actually sums up the first day.

After a night on the roof of a hotel I wake up, Martin still being We arrive in Dalbandin in the evening and there is only one hotel to take. An experience motorcycle traveler told me months ago: “if you stay there, ask to sleep on the roof – the place stinks like hell and only up there you can sleep…”. Of course this is what we did – the four of us, the General Manager and two security guards with machine guns.

Next day we head towards Quetta, which is the capital of the Baluchistan region in Pakistan – one of the “hotter areas” of the country. When we leave the village I already regret not having taken the time to put the video camera. Atmosphere is great, lots of people and this crazy chaos that I like so much.

After leaving Dalbandin we drive through the desert...When we leave Dalbandin I regret even more – the beauty of the landscape is breathtaking. We ride through the desert – he sand that is on the street is flying away as we drive through – and next to a great mountain scenery. A funny highlight is one of the escort soldiers who explains us he is a singer and starts to rap like a pro. We enjoy his 2 minutes of performance before going on. So far no tension at all, we feel safe as in our own homes.

On the way to Quetta however, Janine realizes that her bike has a leak and is loosing oil. Fortunately is only a couple of drops so we can continue. A couple of kilometers of Quetta now Martins bike starts to have problems. It doesn”t accelerate anymore and sometimes even stops completely. It seems somehow amazing to us, that out of 4 bikes 3 have a problem within 2 days… in Pakistan! We have to go on and after we close one of the two petrol valves of Martins tank the bike seem to work again – we guess its a petrol filter problem (for those who are interested in that 🙂  ). Arriving at the police control before Quetta we ask if its safe to go to the city for changing money but get a very clear answer which is NO!

We were really surprised when we saw the petrol convoi that had been attacked and almost completly destroyed only a couple of days earlier. At this moment we felt that we are in the middle of a delicate areaWe “decide” (no options left) to continue towards the south to reach the small city of Sibbi. The next escort drives with us for around 15km before leaving us alone… it is the first time that we do not get a new escort and it is 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. it gets dark and we have a 150 km ride before us… in one of the most delicate areas of the country. The fact that we”ve just passed by the NATO convoy that has been attacked and blown up some days ago doesn”t make us feel any better… somehow we know that we are in the middle of “it”.


This is the jeep that drove behind us while our crazy race through parts of Baluchistan. You can see the big riffle? There was a guy being ready to use it at any momentWhat a crazy (night) race!

As we are some lucky bastards a military car drives by and we decide to follow them to have at least some protection around. When they stop I drive up and ask them if they also go to Sibbi and if so, if they mind us to stay with them. Thanks God (or Allah – as you prefer) they say yes (one of them explains me that this is definitely not a good area and even shows me his military men sitting in the mountains to observe and alert in case of an attack) and minutes later we start to roll. At this moment we do not know yet that it will be the ride of our lives! We drive as a sandwich, squeezed in between a black Mitsubishi Pajero in the front and a typical open Jeep with a huge riffle gun behind us. The lead is driving like crazy – I don”t know If he is just enjoying himself or if he only wants to get the hell out of here. The day ends and the night rises as we are still driving like in a typical Hollywood movie. We drive like on drugs, always staying together and even Martin forgets about his night blindness and goes faster than he has ever before. Funny detail about this “race” – our escort takes a long brake, we get served with tea and somebody even offers us a honey melon… I like it :)).

The next day we leave, naturally taking the stairway, the police station. What a crazy night!As we already arrive in Sibbi we get the crop of the cream with a huge thunderstorm coming up ahead of us. The last kilometers we drive watching flashes flying over the black sky BUT without getting wet – luckily it doesn”t start to rain! Finally arrived in Sibbi we think we can sleep in the military base but in the end they bring us to a police station… you could nickname it “hell on earth”. The place is completely dirty, there is no water (we could need it so much after this day), the toilets are “shitted all over” (and I mean it!) and the whole place smells like it, it is humid and we have to sleep on the dusty floor. The guys that are beaten up next door and put into a cell are also not helping us to relax… Nevertheless people are very friendly with us, bring us drinks form the bazaar (we are not supposed to go outside) and in the morning I realize that I slept really well.


Water buffalos whereever you lookGetting to the save side

We now continue heading direction south. Our main goal for today is to cross the river Indus at Sukkur. As of what we have heard this river draws the line between “not so save” and “a bit safer”. The ride is fast today and we do not face any problems until the late evening. Landscape varies a lot and today we see hundreds of water buffalos, drive through small villages that are drowning in waterholes and pass through the flooding areas that have been devastated regularly during the last years. Our brains get an overload of impressions – so many things seem amazing to us and almost every glance seems to be the perfect picture. Unfortunately we cannot take many because we have decided to advance fast so it has to rest in our memories only (who knows me knows that it this is not an easy task for me).

After a great night at the guesthouse where we learned a lot about how Pakistan actually works In the late afternoon a big thunderstorm is coming us offering us a spectacular cloud constellation never seen before as that. After it starts to rain heavily (we decided to continue) we ask a police officer to help us find a place to sleep. The police leads us to a guest house where we receive a warm welcome by the hosts, a group of men just hanging out at this place. They improvise dinner for us which they pick up from their own family houses and it tastes delicious!!! One of them, a teacher from Karachi that is working on an education program in the region speaks English very well and we are happy to chat with him and listen to what he can explain us about his country. Many things are new to us, especially everything concerning tribes (the country is ruled by tribes who control different regions) and their relationship between each other. They even offer us to stay longer so they can show us around in the area but we have to continue… The next morning when we leave my emotions are somehow out of control. Everything seems so intense here and yet again I realize how great it is to do this trip and how happy I am that I am allowed to do it.

The ride to Lahore is nice. We do not drive too fast anymore and are able to suck in the surroundings a little bit better. We arrive at night at Lahore where some kind of guide leads us to a hotel. Fabian and Janine are going to leave the next day and we will visit a Children”s village in the City.

Its the second biggest in Pakistan and one of the biggest in the worldThe next day the staff of the Children”s village even shows us around in the city and I have to confess that it is beautiful. We visit the Badshahi mosque which is the second biggest in Pakistan and one of the biggest in the world and after that Ms Almas shows us what I want to call a “romantic pearl”. It”s a restaurant in an let”s call it “arthouse” overlooking the mosque and parts of the city. The building served as a house for prostitution and has been transformed into a restaurant by one son of a prostitute who he himself is an artist. A mixture of artwork of different cultures (mostly sigh, muslim, christian, hindu and mughal) has been put together in an incredible tasteful way. The food, by the way, is ordered in shops close to the restaurant and being pulled up to the roof on a plate that”s fixed to ropes – very individual solution that makes this place even more special!

Have a guess if this guy is pakistani or indian :PAfter two peaceful days at the village we leave for the Indian border. We know it closes early but when we arrive 5 minutes too late I am really upset. We hesitate to camp right in front of the customs building (somebody offered it to us) but then we prefer a hotel to have our stuff in a safe place. The big advantage is that now we can watch the famous Flag Ceremony from the Pakistani side and since we are lucky this very day it is a special day for the Pakistani (please don’t ask me what, somebody told us and I couldn”t understand which day). Funny surprise is that we get interviewed and now hope to be on television tonight!

Tomorrow we will try to be the first ones at the passport control! Next time we”ll let you know how it worked out!