Day 76:Lahore – Raiwind (87km) -Distance travelled so far 3,747 km “Where are the road signs? and the late night wheat bed adventure”
We decided that taking the highway all the way to Multan was not an option…Highways are too boring, too long and too dangerous…The secondary roads provide better cultural spots, more camels and offer us, nice and quiter camping opportunities. We are sacrificing the better highway roads, but again highways are just plain and simple long and boring…..
Paul chills outside a supermarket, check that Kameez!
Today roadsigns are not really featuring as much as we would like them to, which is a problem….so we resort to asking some locals…(normally a very hit n’ miss method).
A working Donkey, we asked these guys for directions as well
The cycle is pretty good today and we find a nice remote field (complete with shed) to set up our camp. Its a tidy spot with nice running water too. Sweet deal!!!
Preparing for our first nights camp in Pakistan
Peanut butter sandwiches and mosquitos
Day 77: Raiwind – Chunian (95km) -Distance travelled so far 3,842 km “A day at the Park and The Bamboo Field Camp and Happy St Patrick’s Day for the Lads”
We wake up this morning after a pretty good nights camping. We do have a visitor who watches us pack up our gear. We try to avert his attention away from the fact that we used some wheat (as camp bedding) from a neighbouring field (potentially his own). He is not too concerned though….
We hit the road early which is now increasingly more patchy and potholey (google that one!!)….It is St Patrick’s Day today so we get a good couple of texts from all our loved ones in Ireland…..It will be a Guinnessless and dinnerless St Patricks Day for us boys….
After about 40km or so in we stumble across a Forest Park…and as we are enjoying proceedings at the moment, we decide to venture to our first Park in Pakistan….(Well that’s lovely isn’t it!)
Luckily for us, food is getting damn tasty with more fresh bread on offer, meats and lots and lots of tea. There are also lots of quality road side (quicky mart) stops like this one named “Bonjour”…Oh la la!!!….These Parisienne roadside shops are always guarded with guys with either shotsguns or AK47′s…..Fantastique!!!!
Roadside stop, oh la la!!
Don’t mess with us -we’re Pakistani
We do encounter another nice roadside food…..Chips!!!!!!!!!!!!!…..They love them here….and wouldn’t you just know it…so do us Irish boys
Just another short pedal down the road, we hear drums and see kids head-banging…Of course we have to establish the nature of this madness…..Check out what we witnessed….
The dancing kids
After a nice stop at Bonjour we, head to find another camping spot….we quickly see a bamboo forest beside the main road…..We wait for ages until traffic clears and make a burst for it deep into the heart of the bamboo’s….We chill for a good hour until dusk encroaches down on us….and then we get set up camp..using bamboo leaf’s as bedding…Cushty or what?…..We prepare soup and anything else we can stuff into us…sardines, nutella and nuts etc etc…We spend the night chatting over tea all the while dodging goat farmers with their herds passing through the bamboo forest….You are never too far away from people in these parts…..It is an unusual but pretty class St Patricks Day and Night for us….Camping in a Bamboo Forest in the Middle of Pakistan….Noice!!!!!!!!!
Early morning set down
Day 78: Chunian – Sahiwal (130km) -Distance travelled so far 3,972 km “Feeling Tired….Pakistan Heat and Puntures”
Good auld spuds, getting close to home
The nights camping was again pretty good and we roll back onto the road from the Bamboo Field to some looks of sheer disbelief….”Where do you come from?”….Its pretty funny to be honest to see these facial expressions….
There are a number of questions we are contanstly asked while we are cycling…..We find ourselves answering the same questions over and over again…We will give you a taste of our favourite chestnuts….
From where do you come from?
You are from Holland?
Your thoughts of Pakistan?
Pakistani People? You like?
What is your name?
Would you like Chai? (tea)
Again it’s tedious, but to be honest people here in Pakistan are so glad to see us here…..They offer us drinks, help and rest areas on many occasions. Muslim religion dictates that guests are to be treated very well and we feel pretty humbled by all the acts of kindness….
A young boy watches over his brothers
At this particular rest stop, we are offered chai by the owner. He is extremely happy to chat with us about Ireland and other places all around the world as he was in a previous profession, a geological engineer. The weather is really hot today and we figure that it has peaked over 30 celcius…
The roads are extremely rocky in parts and wouldn’t you know it….there are punctures. Mike suffering from two to his back wheel. The locals are extremely helpful as we have said so good roadside “AA” assistance is never too far from hand….
30kms of horrendous road just like this
Puncture no.2 today for Mike
We stopped for a coke and spotted this cordless Iron
We belt onwards to Sahiwal (having ot take the highway for 30km)….We are happy to be finished today simply because it was a belting hot day and we are starving with the hunger. Our arrival at Sahiwal decends into chaos as scores of people gather around touching both us and the bikes (which is really annoying!!)…The Police are pretty soon at hand to give us a escort straight to the door of a nice motel in town…Hotel Endus….We scrub ourselves up and head out for a serious feed…Chicken Sandwich, Chips and salad……….You will not understand how good these meals make us feel inside…Its a warm fuzzy feeling…sort of like LOVE….Mmmmmm!!!!….A cold beer wouldn’t go astray either….but we are prepared to wait another month (at least) until we are out of both Iran and parts of east Turkey….
We bed down early tonight feeling pretty tired but enjoying the cycle in Pakistan so far…..
Day 79: Sahiwal – Vihari (107km) -Distance travelled so far 4194 km “Baron Landscapes and Dusty Bikes“
Today is consumed with long dusty roads…some pretty poor. The towns are however bustling with trade, with lots of emphasis on textiles (carpets, rugs, clothing and scarfs and pashmina’s etc)…
The landscape is becoming increasingly more baron in appearance and dust/sand storms are visible in the distance. Our bicycles having started out as green, are now pretty patchy with dust and muck clinging on like glue….The bikes are still doing very well and bar the odd puncture have not being causing us any major problems.
A dusty market
Banana’s to go
Aside from needlessly “pimped up” trucks…..Donkeys are the prefered method of transporating goods in Pakistan for alot of locals. The thing about donkeys in Pakistan is that they are really tiny……and look very forlorn trodding along on their journeys….
Needlessly pimped out truck
After a another day on the saddle we find a roadside truckstop & hostel and bed down for another night….
Day 80: Vihari – Multan (102km) – Distance travelled so far 4,296 km “Police Patrol”
Our trip to Multan today is pretty uneventful until we find ourselves on it’s outskirts. Friendly Police stop us at a check point and after establishing that we were planning to cycle onwards to Quetta, they informed us that at the next Police checkpoint, we would not be allowed to go any further. Both the Police and Pakistani Governement cannot ensure tourist safety in The Bolochistan region of Pakistan at this moment in time……
The police inform us of the situation up ahead, Paul seems bored
We had heard plenty of instances of overland travellers being forced onto trains/buses through unsecure regions of Pakistan and none more as recent as back in Lahore when a Dutch cyclist was forced to take transportation through The Balochistan region of Pakistan….We have thus decided to head back to Multan and to take the train to Quetta and then onwards to Taftan (bordering with Iran)….
We head to Multan and prepare the bikes and ourselves for the trip to Quetta…..and onwards to Taftan…