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 10:37 AM GMT
June 23, 2009 GMT
arrived at the Iranian border

We have arrived at the Iranian border after a cup of tea and well wishes with the last offical in Pakistan.
Our first mistake in Iran, we parked the bike in the wrong spot and are asked to move it 20m. No problem. Our passports are being checked and we are moved on to the next office, where details from the Carnet are being copied into a large ledger.
Now please move the bike around the back of the bulding and proceede to emmigration. Once at emmigration a officer aproaches us, asking where the bikes are? We point in the direction and are told to move them in front of the bulding.
No problem. At the front a officer with a piece of scrap paper notes down our number plates and tells us to move the bikes to the back of the bulding. Sure why not. In the meantime our passports are still being held by emmigration and we try to find out why it takes so long for a stamp, after a lengthy discusion with the officer in charge we get our passports to go to customs so we can finalys our carnet and get stamped in to the country.

The girl's are still sitting near the emmigration office waiting for ther passports to be returnd. As we find out they are holding our papers, while organising a police escort for us to drive to Zahedan the first city, 88 km from the border.
After 2 hr wait two young police man show up telling us they are our body guards and will be travelling with us on the back of the bike. ???? We tell them there is no room on our bikes for 3 people, solution = we should hire a taxi so they ( the police man ) can follow us into town. Sorry, no go as a taxi would cost us 40.- U$
Ok, we will hike a ride and you must follow us, the police tells us. The first pick up is a truck travelling at 40 kmh to the next police check only 4 km down the road. Stop, check the papers and wait for the next lift. A family with kids picks our body guards up and we are off for another 5k's until guess what, another police check.
Now the guards are being exchanged and the new police guard's stand on the side of the road hiking a ride. Just to let you know its over 40 C while all this is happening and we are melting in our gear. This time a people mover pulls over and gives our guards a lift, until you guessed it, another police check point. So after 7 hr we finally arrive in Zehedan, not at the hotel but at the police station for more checks and a new escort to take us to the next roundabout where a car is waiting to guide us, at a speed of 20k's through town to the next meeting point and the last changeover. Fainally we get to the Hotel where we are told that we are not allowed to leave the premisses because its to dangerous. Our bikes are locked up inside the hotel which we think is a good thing, but the reason behind it is, that we can't leave in the morning whithout a police escort. To make sure we can't check out, they hold our passports and won't return them until the next town. Welcom to Iran, where not only there own people but also tourist are held like prisoners.

The following morning we leave Zehedan and make our way to Bam with a few more escorts along the way, but the good thing is, they have cars and are moving along at a good speed, as Iran's road's are great.
Bam has been devastated by a earth quack a few years ago and the damage caused is great, over 40,000 people where killed and most of the city has been destroid.

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Bam

The old mud city is just a big pile of fallen buldings and rocks. There is a huge effort underway to restore the site whitch could take up to 50 years.

From Bam we drive west to Sahrjan and on to Shiraz.
Somewhere in the middle of the desert I have a flat tyer, we manage to fix it enough to get us to the next town, where we have to put the tube in, as the patch won't hold. Looks like a new back tyer in Tuerky.

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After a few days in Shiraz with plenty of sight seeing and walking through the bazars we leave for Esfahan. The roads are great and we make it in good time, after a overnight camp, outside a small town called Yasuj.

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Shiraz

Esfahan is a trully fantastic town with all its bridges and temples, everywhere you look there are parks with people having picnics and sitting in the heat of the day, out under shady trees and water fountains.

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Esfahan

One of the problems in Iran is the food. Menu choices are very limited, even though there is all this fresh vegetable and fruit available on the markets, all we can get is Chicken Kebab, Chicken Kebab with rice, rice with Kebab and so on, it gets a bit boring after a while.

The good thing in Iran is the petrol price, we are paying about 55 cents a litre and thats the tourist price, the locals only pay about 14 cents a litre.

From Esfahan we go north to the coast of the Caspian Sea and a town called Anzali, the water looks great, but in Iran the Lady's are not allowed to swim in public places so none of us go in to the water.
From Anzali we travel along the coast to Astara and then head inland to Tabriz and on to the Turkish border.

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Camping in Iran

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Pic Nic with friends in Iran

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I hope he makes it !

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Roads in Iran

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I want my Mum

Posted by Mark Allenspach at 08:24 AM GMT
 


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