June 20, 2009 GMT
Entering Pakistan

We enter Pakistan from Amritsar India on a Sunday, the border is very quiet as there is no traffic in either direction.
Its a different story the day before when we attend the closing of the border ceremony. There are thousand of people on the Indian side and a few dozen on the Pakistani side. Its a huge spectacle with people dancing and shouting.
The official border guard puts on a huge show trying to intimidate each other.
Its definitely something different to experience.

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Border Ceremony India - Pakistan

Everybody in Pakistan is a bit on edge about the current situation, and with a bomb blast only two weeks earlier in the city we can feel the tension amongst the people.

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Maggie and Arja with new found friends

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Our site seeing takes us to the Fort and the old city witch is very interesting and has a old world charm to it.
One of our missions in Lahore is to pick up our visa for Iran from the embassy.
The hardest part is to get trough the front door as they have a very different system do deal with all the people applying for Iranian Visas. Once where in ( 2hr later) the process is fairly straight forward and we have our visa approved and ready to be picked up the next day.

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Fitting in with the locals

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From Lahore we travel to Multan, Rahimyar Khan, Sukkur, Jacobabad where we get our first police escort out of town.

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Valley road

We leave at 5.30 am from the guesthouse as Pakistan is very hot this time of the year ( in Lahore we had temperatures of 45C ) the escort was ready and waiting for us. We drove out of town at about 40 kms witch was fine because the road was in a bad way, but once we hit the open road the policeman did not speed up so we passed him to try to get him to go a bit faster, without response so we lost him very quickly. At the next checkpoint we got stopped for a passport check and a new escort, he must have got the massage from the previous guy and we had a hard time keeping up with him.
We stopped in Sibi a small town in the middle of nowhere, it claims to be the hottest place in Asia, lucky for us its still early morning and not to bad at all.
With a few more escorts that we all seam to lose very quickly we arrive in Quetta.

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One of many escorts

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The most amazing truck's in Pakistan

The people hear are very friendly and we get invaded for tea so many times that we find it hard to keep up with it.
There is a Restaurant just around the corner from the Hotel that serves the best food and nicest Naan we had for a long time.

From Quetta we head east towards the Dalbandin our half way stop to the border.
Soon after we leave town the desert starts and the scenery changes rapidly.
Just before Dalbandin we encounter a sand storm that shakes us up pretty well.
The sand really stings on any skin that is exposed so we have to do up our jackets
and sweat our way trough it as it reaches about 42-45C. The escort that picks us up on the way in to town takes us straight to the police station where they want us to stay for the night with the rest of the prisoners, after a bit of negotiation and the girls not being very happy they let us go to a hotel where we had to promise that we would NOT leave the premises.

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one of many check points

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Camels in the Desert

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Desert stop

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Road from Quetta

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Sand storm

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Good to know we are on the right road

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Nothing like a bid a sand on the road

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Taftan the border town into Iran

Next day it's off to Taftan the border town to Iran. Its a very good road and it takes no time at all to reach the border.
We are offerd one more cup of tea at the customs house and are send on our way with many good wishes from Pakistan.

PS: due to a camera problem we will post more photos later.

Posted by Mark Allenspach at June 20, 2009 10:37 AM GMT
 


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