Well kind of…
China was actually alright. The people in fact rather lovely. Just the government bureuacracy that was shite. But more on that later because the last you heard I was in Pakistan disguised as a local Taliban leader so as not to be recognised. Which of course I was, the minute I rode round the corner the local folk would look up from their chai and either smile or scowl. Pakistan was just that sort of place. When you were welcome you were very welcome, when you were unwanted they weren’t afraid to let it show.
One fella slmost thrust the Coke bottle through his own shop counter he was so raged by me being there up in the mountains to the north. But depsite that there was never any danger, never any police escorts as I’d been told and not once a sign of bother. The only pointed gun I saw was at the Tourists campsite in Islamabad which had heavy artiliary fire permenantly pointed at the flimsy gate just in case Bin Laden struck. Thankfully he didn’t, leaving me and Dorothy to spend our time in Pakistan meeting all sorts of great folk, local and tourists alike who made my ten days there rather splendid. The scenery is also spectacular with even Dorothy making it quite sweetly up the mountain hills..
To China… where the first chek point confisticates your passport and in my instance my laptop and all memory cards just so you don’t go AWOL on the 120 kay ‘Friendship Highway’ running down to the main customs and immigration centre in Tashgurten. There I got everyhting back, but not before my laptop was thoroughly checked for things that might cause the Chinese offence. It’s a weird old place like that, very strict, very suspicious and suspecting and tey quite incompetent at carrying it out. I got my belongings back bit by bit and was chased to the car by a soldier brandishing my hard drive after they’d forgotten to give it back. And then you discover there’s no internet or international phone calls in the entire province.
There’d been a riot you see. A month or so ago, and to make sure it didn’t happen again all forms of communication had been shut down. Which is jut great when the company you’ve employed to get your bike in is demanding the money and you’ve got no way of paying it. Yeah, China, to get a bike in, takes a guide and a shit load of paperwork. I was there a week and saw the customs house three times, the road to the border and one city. Not worth the hassle or money, but no other way through…
To Kygygzstan. Which is where I am now. Nice place. Ex Soviet Union but quite modern and real friendly. Just here in the capital Bishkek getting visas for Kazakhstan and Russia then we’re off and away, on Dororhy, who is now bleeding oi, The problem is there’s no decent mechanics in town, and that leaves me, and I’m useless with a spanner. My solution to a lose and broken front fork bracket was to tie up with a shoelace and hope it holds til England.
But if nothing else Dorothy has proven herself quick enough to out run three dogs. One chased us for a kilometre at speeds up to 50km/h, I kid you not. I was flat out, over some bumps which through y sunglasses clean off, but I wasn’t going back for them, not when there’s an Alsation wanting to bite off my willy.
So ride hard we did. Now we rest. Relieved that we’re almost on the final stretch. Get Kazakhstan over and done with and we will be.
Nathan and Dot.