(An update of my ride from June 21 – June 25)
How I wish I can speak their language…
Dera Ismail Khan is a big town somewhere Central of Pakistan, bordering Baluchistan. It is considered as a hot area to locals. Some tourists have been kidnapped and lots of bombing has been going on here. As I entered the city at night. trying to find my way around to get to a hotel, no hotels were willing to accept me. They said I needed a police permit to put up a nite at any hotel. Yes, foreigners need to have a permit to stay at any hotel. Came these 2 guys who speak good english to help. They drove me around to help me out and finally they told me, all hotel operators are relunctant to accept any foreigner in their premises due to security reason even if I have the police permit. After a series of failed effort, they assisted me to the police hq downtown. Some stories told and lots of explaination done. They left me at the police station.
The head of the station advised me to sleep there in the police station. I said ok, was too tired to argue. A bed was provided. Sorry guys, not much of pictures in this area due to security reason. Passed midnight, I was asked to pack up and will be handed over to another station in Punjab. Situation there went bad and that I had to leave. Packed and escorted in highly armed truck 40 km away…in the pitch dark.
The station that I was handed over was very quiet. Maybe because it is in the middle of nowhere or maybe it was too dark and quiet that I couldn’t see a thing. Papers sorted ,big books filled and registered. And i asked them …where do i sleep?
Them: You need to sleep?
Me: Yes. I am tired.
Them: You will be leaving in few hours time, have some chai and relax.
Me: Ok guys… I know you are really nice but I need to get some rest before the long ride tomorrow.
Finally they showed me a bed; under a milion stars in the open within their sight. Lord knows how stinky the blanket and pillow was. Told them, “it’s a warm night and I dont need a blanket and I will use my jacket as a pillow.” It would be a good plan for overlanders to reached Punjab and put up a night there before heading for the long ride westbound. In my case, too much chai stops along the way has consumed too much time and recent bombings has made it more security threat. They just wanna make sure I was in safe hands.
About 4am, I was awaken; it was time to leave again. No morning toilet, no breakfast and of course no shower but a chai is a must in Pakistan. Riding time. By 5 am, I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Too much roadblocks, too many stops. Books to be filled and time wasted waited for the next security escort to arrive and escort me. It’s good when you have the opportunity to fill up the fuel as much as you can and bring lots of drinking water. Temperature in the desert can reach up to mid 50’s and can really bring you down. And you need a lot of snacks too, food that you want or need might not be on your side. Even water. Forget about toilet and personal hygiene. They don’t exist in this middle of nowhere.
Along the way in the desert there are places you can get fuel. It’s more expensive than the city and that’s the only choice you have. They sell it in big bottles and please do use any clothes as a filter unless ur bike can survive that.
Road heading west was a complete challenge for me and Lil G. With the heat and sharp rocks, I have seen too many bikes, trucks, bus, cars that suffered from them. The condition can really tear your tyres. I was glad that I had changed them earlier. Some parts of the highway have superb new tarred road and some was so bad.
After a week in the middle of the desert with no shower, no toilet, very minimal food and water not forgetting behind a bed under a million stars, I finally arrived at Taftan border.
Going out from Taftan was tedious. The police escort led me to the custom office and left me there. Nice and helpful guy. A chai to clear my carnet at the army post and later I was led to their custom house to fill another book and later to immigration department to stamp my passport and later to another officer to fill their book and show them the carnet, even they don’t know how to read it. Last but not least, off to the police post to check and verify all is done before they let me cross to iIan border. All within radius of 20 meter and walking distant. The currency exchange there was not good but I had to change some as I needed Iran money as I enter Iran.
So happy that I made it to border safe and sound with no problems for me and Lil G under the heat and tiring ride everyday from sunrise to sunset.
Khoda hafez Pakistan and salam Iran.