August 11, 2001 GMT
Pakistan

SEAsia2.jpg

More relaxed. Everything slower and less tense. I like it a lot so far. The border inspector invites us to his house for a meal in the evening. Not the usual sort of welcome you get crossing borders. The spread is royal. He keeps, as they say in Italy, a rich table. After we have finished and are saying goodbye he shakes my hand like he is pumping petrol “I like Irish people and I like IRA”. I returned a sheepish smile and look at my feet. Looks like I owe Gerry a curry.

Spend Christmas in Larkana waiting for a chain set to arrive in the post. It never does. Money runs out. The solution is easy, a trip to the nearest ATM. Where’s is it, I enquire of the jewellers. A big toothy smile “Karachi”. Okay, fine, I get out the map. That’s six hundred kilometres each way. Sometimes I miss home. It is a five day round trip. I’ve known more convenient banking.

The Karakoram road, north Pakistan: a folly surely, winding up to China through unproductive low populated mountain ranges. Great riding though. The road is a ten metre ledge blasted out of the rock face. There is no vegetation above the monsoon limit. It is a high altitude desert. Down a sheer drop the Indus River rushes brown and empty of life.

Its real purpose has nothing to do with entertaining the dozen European bikers who come this way every year. Carving a way into the tribal areas opens the north up to the control of the central Pakistani state. With the trickle of trade come truck loads of tax collectors and policemen. The first time I have met hostility is here. The boys in one valley throw stones. I am forewarned of this and spot them crouching as they hear the bike. I use the same technique as for the ferocious sheep herding dogs of Turkey: slow down while they judge a trajectory, then hit the gas hard when they have committed, so that they are left trailing. It works. No bites. No stones. Just a smug smile. I even pat the bike’s gas tank in thanks like it had some choice it the matter. Have to watch that one, the anthropomorphic fallacy.

Paktomb.jpg
Burial in style

Get a new chain set from Europe, but find that Honda has sent the wrong front sprocket. How did they manage this? It is not hard: “1993 Transalp chain set”. Not much ambiguity there. Arse. The one they have sent has no holes for the retaining screws. I take it to the local metal shop to get them drilled. Four broken bits fly like bullets across the room. The almost tearful man at the drill gives up. They’ve never come across hardened steel.

The problem? Ultimately, me bring a rich world piece of technology to the poor world. More specifically, it is down to my poor maintenance skills. Even more concretely, and this is the explanation I favour, it is down to those completely bloody incompetent idiots at Nantes Honda.

The guy comes up with a solution that involves welding a piece on top of the sprocket. As I am asking how long it will hold I just know that the answer will involve the word Inshallah. I get ill: too much riding, not enough hydration. Stupid stupid stupid. Now I pay the price with a week in bed of fever and shivers. Throw away more knick knacks, and get some sent in to replace them.

Posted by at August 11, 2001 11:25 PM GMT
Comments
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!