July 08, 2003 GMT
Pokhara to India and nearly in Pakistan

08.08.03
I`am getting lazy I must say ! After 6 days Pokhara I was kind of ready to leave, I knew that the others ( companions from the trek ) had as well arrived in Pokhara and I only wanted to say goodbye, buy in there place was a room available so I stayed for about another week, room direct on a lake so waking up and go for a swim - paradise ( Green Peace Lodge ).
The way back to Butwal was not exiting and the next day half way to Bardia NP guess who was there in my rear mirror - a BMW with Rik. We joint for the way into India. The border crossing took more time than expected. Nepal side not problem but of course on the India side, we need this we want that paper and so on but after a couple of hours and the quite complicated part of getting from immigration into India via small bridge`s and gates where you have to ask people somewhere for key`s ( Banbassa border ).
Then it took about 5 km to feel you are back in India, streets full of Tata Truck`s, pollution, potholes and no smiling people anymore, yes back in India.
I was actually after 2 hours close to turning around and to go back to Nepal but I didn`t.
First destination Almora a Hill Station ( Indian way ) dirty and crowded ( I thing nothing is really got after Nepal so don`t take my word for these places in India now !! )
From there to Rishikesh ( The place where The Beatles meditated and the album Magical Mystery Tour is about ). Due to the monsoon and so quite a few landslides it took a while to get there.
Then over Manali, where I got my first upset tummy in 4 month, and the decision not to go to Leh and the second highest drivable pass in the world, due to shit tummy. As well the first sign of weakness on the bike, while adjusting the valves the main bolt that hold`s the valve cap came out of the housing, great - but thanks to Locktide things are good again. I`am now in McLeod Ganj ( the exilresidence of the Dalai Lama ) who had birthday on the 06.07.03 so it was quite busy in town.
And now something absolute different JAMES you should have been more careful, yes.
Ok so much for that matter !!!
Will meet with Dalbir ( Honda Dominator ) on the 10th and then to Islamabad to get the Iranvisa. That`s the plan but yes you never know.

And sorry but I don`t translate into german anymore, don`t be angry but someone that you know will be able to read this with you :-)

Posted by Andre Lomme at 06:22 AM GMT
July 27, 2003 GMT
North India to Pakistan,Islamabad

27.07.03
After a rainy start in McLeod Ganj it got very hot again in Amritsar, where Mrs Bhandaris Guest House is a great place if you want to camp in a beautiful, quiet garden. The town itself is a bit scary, haven`t seen so many policemen and gun`s on the whole trip.
Next day I tried to cancel my flight from Delhi to Amsterdam, that was not the easiest task, the lady from the airline continued telling my I couldn't`t drive from Amritsar to Amsterdam because that`s in a different country, thank`s for that information !!! I hope in the end she canceled the flight.

Then Dalbir on his Honda arrived and after some sightseeing, the Golden Temple very impressive, we where on the way to the border. When we arrived the border just closed ( 16.00 ), so we waited anyway to see the bodyguard's closing the gate. It is like carnival, lot`s of people on both sides of the border, singing and dancing and waving flags.
After one more night in Amritsar we crossed the border the next morning with not major problems ( thank`s Ralf I got your message from the Pakistan customs people ) and it was a special day as well, the first bus route between Lahore and Delhi since 5 years.
Then in Lahore it took us a long time to find a place to stay, a lot of places where closed. Ended up camping in the garden of a big hotel where at night the bus from Delhi arrived so a lot of reporters and people and of course we smelly on dirty bikes. It didn`t take long and we had to give the first short interview.
By the way the best thing in Lahore after arriving was the Mc Donalds ( I normally don`t go there ) but with air con. and good cheap food it was like paradise.
The next day was spend by walking from one bazaar to the next to find a front Tyree for the BMW. After a couple of hours then I got a used but good Dunlop, 21" is a hard thing to find.
On the way to Islamabad via the excellent GT road we got stopped by the police, more for a chat, but they told us to use our indicators while overtaking !??? Alright that was something new, in the last 4 month none even looked a red traffic lights.
Islamabad "Campsite" was a big disappointment, none seems to look after this place but still there where more tourists than I expected, a couple in a VW van and at least 4 other backpackers.
It took half a day to get the application in for the Iran visa. First to the German embassy to get a "Letter of Recommendation", That cost nothing, then back to the Iranian, application form, waiting and the info to come back in 11 days.
So there was plenty of time to go up north on the KKH. From Islamabad via Murree and Batram to Gilgit. The KKH goes beautiful trough the mountains with excellent views. The road was in a good condition but closer to Gilgit landslides across the road where more common.
Gilgit then is a nice, quiet town and a good place to stay is the "Madina Guesthouse" with a nice big garden.
6 days later and back in Islamabad the visa isn`t ready, of course ! So that means waiting here over the weekend and trying again on monday.

Posted by Andre Lomme at 07:18 AM GMT
 
 

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