around the world
landy Start: 2008-04-10 landy landy landy Oli on his way from Munich to Hong Kong landy landy landy End: 2010-05-12 landy
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Diary - 2008 June (Iran, Pakistan)
Peshawar Blitzvisite and then heading to Kalash

Nice street conditions Peshawar is too hot, people are too interested in the car, too many people anyway, unfriendly hotel... After taking 5 photos I leave town and go back on my highway. I find another rest station - meet the prime minister of the region who just drops in with his 15 men military escort to fulfil his prayer duty - get some sleep (of course not without having the A1 communication about ten times. Did I mention the A1 communication before!? It's the boring communication about how long I am in Pakistan, how I like it, where I am from, etc. I could hand out a paper with all the answers before they open their mouth, because it's always the same! And when I tell them I am from Germany, they always replay that they like this country so much - and when I ask what for they like, it's obvious, that they not even know, where it is. The question how I like Pakistan I hate the most - I don't like lying, but they wouldn't be able to cope with the truth!)

Next day I head north in direction of Kalash valley - should be super nice, calm, cool, etc. It's a long way and I have to stop in Dir, where I meet Helmut. He is Austrian - a very nice guy - and is part of the group of foreign consultants helping to build a tunnel trough the mountains to be able to reach the region in winter times by road - the pass is closed for several months due to snow.

Highlight is, that he spent about € 200,- for cheese in Islamabad and I was allowed to eat a bit of it!
The following day it's the first time I enjoy having a military escort - the region really seams not to be too save - gunmen area!

2008-06-25 to 2008-06-30
Islamabad - the heat is on

Nice street conditions It's still super hot! And just to remember - Pakistan has still the problem of power supply which not just means the telly is not working all the time, but also the air-con!

I still have my mega virus on my computer. So there are two main tasks to cope with in Islamabad: getting my car repaired and fixing my computer. The first one is easily done - money rules the world! But the second one nearly kills me! I need my computer! All my music is on there, I need it for my webpage, all the GPS stuff is on, my fucking whole life is on this computer - it will take me ages to install everything from scratch! My thoughts of finding the person who created the virus and killing him instead the virus in several ways don't help me a lot.

I am very lucky that my dad has retired already and loves computers - he helps me a lot with finding tools and methods and thesis how to kill the virus - I think we mailed in these days more than in my whole live before! Finally I manage to kill the virus - I just need about 5 programmes and about a hundreds of attempts (I just have about two seconds to start the task manager, find a special process, kill this and start an anti- virus programme - not a very easy task!)

Nice street conditions I mentioned the hygienic problem before - Islamabad shows me another range of it! People are taking showers beyond a leaking house of the canalisation, restaurants cutleries’ and plates are so dirty that you wish power supply would had been off again and you wouldn't have seen it, food is so ugly that you need to make a diet for two days to get so hungry that you eat everything!

When I wrote my first two résumés about the countries I visited so far, I thought when I go on writing so positive about them and that everybody has to come to see them I thought these résumés will become very boring after a very short time - but Pakistan learnt me different! :-)

I am happy to find out that there are some oasis in Islamabad: McDonalds, Subway, HotSpot (good coffee shop with good coffee and dessert - western prices, but who gives a shit with these alternatives) - and there is Metro - the German Supermarket, where you can buy nearly everything! Heart-warming!

Getting rid of the gays ('Do you want to have sex with me?', 'No!', [kids voice] 'But I want! - Please!') is the easiest part!

Highlight is meeting Fid and Penny again and watching the final together (German looses against Spain - what a shame - not the loosing, but the way we played - I'd like to speak to every single one of our team, what shitty performance that was! Not to mention, that my home country Austria is not able to broadcast a whole game in the year of 2008, when TV is about 150 years old! So the fans couldn't see all the goals! Can you imagine!? What a shame!) and sharing a whole bottle of whiskey with Fid - hey I haven't had alcohol for more than two months! We had a very nice chat until 5:30 in the morning which was a very good end in Islamabad! Next morning I head off west to go to Peshawar.

2008-06-23 to 2008-06-24
Via Sukker to Multan and via Lahore to Islamabad

Nice street conditions Crazy driving, the heat keeps on...

Somebody told me this street is better than going through the north - it just takes about 400km more - what an ass! This street is so bad, the other couldn't be worse! Well, I am on my way now... a broken bridge - nothing to worry about in this country - you just drive beyond it through the river - by chance there is not too much water...
I need again about 5 litres of water to cope with the heat. The traffic is still crazy - they really think there is an afterlife - to die in traffic means for them to see Allah earlier - for me it just means my trip is over!
I am very lucky in Sukker to find a place to stay overnight very quickly - food is quite bad as usual, but I can restart the next day very early and I am also happy to avoid a stupid police escort, which reduces travel speed to about 60km/h - I couldn't stand this!

I read in my guide book, that there is a swimming pool somewhere in Multan - that's my only motivation today - it's again about 40° outside, so in my car with the engine heating it up about 50° - nice white stripes on all my clothes...
Multan is more cool than I thought (not the temperature). The street life is the most craziest one I ever saw: Everything is on the street - people in any age and all animals you can imagine. If they are big enough then they are pulling any kind of trailer. Donkeys, horses, camels, whatever...

I am still thinking about the swimming pool - outside temperature now about 45°! After asking about a thousand people I find out, that the hotel with the swimming pool has changed the name! But when I found it, it just takes me about half an hour to jump into the pool - well, it's nothing alike the pools we have in Germany, but it's water and it does not stink! Some kids are also around! Indeed the water is so cold, that I have to sit outside quite often to warm up! That's the only sport I do here: changing position from being in the water cooling down and sitting in the shade heating up - waiting to get hungry to use the restaurant of the 5* hotel - today I need some luxury!
Later I have Italian Minestrone, shrimps on saffron rice and good coffee to the dessert. I try to waste time to get it dark when I leave the hotel to just sneak in my car to sleep in it on the hotel owned parking place - not willing to pay anything or getting send of! :-) I am lucky! I get into my car, climb over my wall into the back, prepare my bed as calm as possible, avoid opening to many windows, not to attract any attention so the guards don't recognize me. When everything is prepared and I am lying down it is about midnight. But there is no sleep until about 3 in the morning - it's still too hot! I could wring out my T-shirt - it is wet - I don't mean wet like when you sweat, but wet like when you fall into water! So is my sleeping bag (yummy!) - it takes me two days to totally dry it again! I find some hours of sleep and dream about having breakfast in the air-con restaurant of the hotel...
Nice street conditions In the morning I try to sneak out my car (the guards are still around) - but the fist thing, what happens is that they ask me, how I slept! Fuck - of course they recognized me! :-) I could have opened my bag door to get a little bit more air! :-)

Well, breakfast pays back the shitty night! Buffet for 300! It's about € 2,80. And everything is there: French toast, omelette as you like, yoghurt, tea, coffee, fruits, juices, cornflakes, muesli, everything! This is heaven! I could stay here the whole day!

But I have a date with Muhammad! Finally I received a text message that he is still in Sahewal, looking forward to see me. So instead of going straight to Islamabad I drive another detour of about 300km to Sahewal. That traffic is crazy again, streets are shit and temperature is like in hell is normal already.
When I arrive in Sahewal I try to figure out how to meet my friend - but after sending some text messages and not getting any reply I call him just to get the information that he is in Karachi and can not make it! How crazy is he not telling me that in advance!? Well, he's Pakistani as well...

His excuse is very good: his dad died! I am sorry for him! But nonetheless, he could have sent me a text message - would have saved me several hours of stupid driving through hell - but anyway, nobody said it would be easy! :-)

Although I am quite tired (Multan heat sleep) I keep on driving in direction of Islamabad - after some 60km I find the Motor Highway M2 of Pakistan - one of the two real Highways they have. This is heaven: As you have to pay for it (about 20 Eurocent) for 300km not many people are on the street and - imagine - you have three lanes for each direction - it's like a German Autobahn - heaven!! I am thinking of driving it back and forth! :-) Before Islamabad I am getting real tired and find a rest station on a pass (higher altitude -> lower temperature). I even find a house to 'wash' my car to cool it down, find a place in the shades to park it and just relax sitting in a restaurant ordering about 10 soft drinks to balance my loose of water and finally find good dreams.

Finding Islamabad the next day is easy - finding an hotel is easy, too (needa TV for the last games).

2008-06-05 to 2008-06-22
Taftan to Quetta (Puncture, Diarrhoea and Footy)

Nice street conditions Pakistan! The very first impression was bad: The soldiers shouted at me, I should immediately come to them - wow, what a start! ...but then I realized, they just wanted to show me, where to go to the border control station and to customs for the carnet de passage - ok, first impression was not too bad! :-)

The chief of carnet was a very nice, old, decent man - he liked to chat over a cup of tea (different to the Iranian one: very sweet and milky - was not much of a tea! :-). He told me just to drive to Dalbandin - which is half the way to Quetta. I knew this in advance and I said 'no problem', but he insisted of telling me that another five times. Well, after realizing, that we have a time shift of 1,5h I thought he might be right, that I won't be able to drive the whole way to Quetta, but well - give it a try - let's see how bad the street really is!

The street was in a brilliant condition - I could run my 90 km/h and driving on the left side after surviving Bangkok some years ago was easy anyway... Some sand dunes were the only problems I had and I did the 300 km in 3,5 hours. Easy!
The old man at the carnet office told me to stay at the customs office in Dalbandin - but there was no customs office - so I decided to drive on a bit - street was good anyway and I was far from being tired and willing to go to bed. - I should have known better!

Customs arrived after two km, but by then my decision was taken - let's go to Quetta! Street was good for another 20km - but then I got the first clue, what people meant when talking about the bad condition of the road to Quetta! There was no street! There was just one lane for both directions and this lane was more a piste than a road and every 20km there were these stupid speed bumpers - nobody knows what they are for - maybe to support the local mechanic industry (repairing cars passing by). With my 4wheeler the street was not the problem, but the trucks coming towards me were! They were not giving way and so every truck the same game - who will free the street first? Well, with all my belongings my car maybe has 3 tons - these trucks have about 30 tons! Most of the times I gave way! Fuck them! But hey - I am a man - I can't give way the whole time, so every fifth I forced to give way as well - sorry, but my ego asked me for that shit! As it was quite a boring drive, this was the only game anyway - and the one to avoid speed bumpers - but there I just could loose!
I was doing my km very good and was about 100km before Quetta - about 15 check-points I passed so far (give name and destination of journey to the soldiers) - when I it started getting dark and I started getting tired. As all the area seamed to be super save I decided to sleep somewhere in the dessert. I was lucky and some mountains started to grow and I found a perfect place in a small valley away from street. Super nice, nearly romantic! I took a perfect shower naked (no one was around, which is rare in this area), prepared my dinner and even decided to sleep outside, because it was so calm and nice and there were about a million of stars in the sky...
I was already for three hours on my camp site and already in my sleeping back when I heard a strange sound - something between a lacking tyre, an unsealed bottle and a sidewinder. The first one worried the most and I got up and checked my tyre - everything is ok. The bottles I couldn't care less and I couldn't spot a snake, so I went back sleeping.
At about four o' clock in the morning I woke up (normally I never do) and heard gaits. I have to admit - after all these stories, that the area is soooooooo dangerous - I felt a little bit nervous! And then there was a dog barking and one man shouted something and another one gave back a password - something like 'T-H-D-2-J' - uargs - I heard the dog another time and that was the time for me to go into my car - at least I would be save from the dog...
The night was fine - nothing happens. The only thing I was wondering, why on earth I parked my car so aslope, that I couldn't sleep that comfortable - I should realize the next morning!
Cleaning the shaft I had a very good morning - good breakfast and of course the good mood, because I knew Quetta was just about 100km to go. Well, that was false... when I wanted to start I walked around my car and realized my snake was indeed a puncture!!! Fuck! Well, no problem, I have two spare-wheels and changing a wheel everybody can do. Well, if you can open the screws! They were so rusty, that I couldn't open them and so I had to take the decision of going to the next village with a puncture - well aware, that I can throw away the tyre after that! About a hundered people (at least that was the feeling) told me I should stop, because I had a puncture - as if I wouldn't know this and as if this wouldn't be the reason for me driving just 10km/h. What meant I need one hour to go to the next village! Fuck! What a start into a supposed good day! In the village the nightmare kept going, because the man in a garage I found couldn't loose the screws either and decided to deconstruct my shaft! Well, keeping the children and youngsters away from my car and belongings I couldn't tell him not to do that and the mess was done - deconstructing a shaft in the dessert - how much sand he wanted to put in all my joints!?!? Oh-God! Well, after two hours everything was fit for drive again and I had at least a nice lunch with the man from the garage and then I went to Quetta - about 5 hours delay and the knowledge that I have to deconstruct the whole shaft again and clean it proper! This must wait for the next days - I goota relax first!
I found the right street in Quetta quite fast and even met Anne Christine and Mike again in the hotel where we could park our cars - what a nice surprise! We had a very nice evening together but the next day we had to say good by again - which was very sad! :-(

With the European Football Championship ahead, I decided to take some time off, relax, get the car fixed again (the shaft, a joint of one door didn't survive the speed bumpers, release air of the breaks, etc.) and do some planning for the next weeks.
I enjoyed the life on the street, the new food experience and the good mango and sugar cone drinks - which I shouldn't. I got the worst diarrhoea of my life (you won't hear details) and needed four days to fully recover. The good side was that I had time - footy was on and I could see every match. Because of the footy I took a single room with telly and bathroom - which was good for the diarrhoea as well! :-)
Germany played real bad - I hope they will beat Portugal tomorrow - but I don't think so - but of course, I still hope!

I have to mention that footy was just on when both the districts - mine with the telly and the one with the broadcast station - do have power supply. Which is not always the case in the south of Pakistan! So please everytime you switch on a light at home - think of it that this is not a given everywhere in the world! ;-)
I will not forget this fact, because I missed half of the Poland game and some others which makes me real angry, because this was realy the highlight of the day spending the rest just in bed or in the bathroom! :-)

Not to mention that you don't have light and air-con when there is no power supply! ;-) And of course it's the same with internet - one day there is - the next day there isn't - insh'allah!

Border Iran to Pakistan

The stupid Iranian border and custom clerks let me run around for two hours untill I had everything stamped and prepard to be allowed to leave the country - I really think they do it to rescue their job - the don't have to do anything anyway...
Well, we all know, a border crossing costs two hours - doesn't matter what they do...

2008-06-04 to 2008-06-05
Bam, Zahedan, Border

campsite 1600m Temperature rose everyday now! 46 degrees in the shadow!! It's strange when you drink about 7 litres a day and there is no pressure to go to the loo... :-) I had to leave this part of the earth!

Streets were again very good, petrol stations loaded (which is not always the case) and I did my next 600 km very easy - it was not boring, I was drinking nearly the whole time! Crazy! :-)
To survive I pulled the altitude trick - I stayed overnight on an altitude of 1600m and enjoyed my nearly 60 degree hot shower (car temperature on the bottom, where my canister stays), had a nice dinner and a very good calm rest.
Last on the list was Bam - destroyed by an earthquake some years ago. It took me half an hour to realize that really everything was gone and so I decided just to take fuel and food and vanish - direction border town Zahedan. I was lucky that I could park my car on a parking place without getting 'kidnapped' by the police, because this happens to more or less every tourist in this part of Iran! They are so afraid of that something could happen, that the stupid policemen do disturb much more the everything else - well, they caught me the next day when I approached the border and I had to give three soldiers a lift, which was the escort until close to the border - one distance with one soldier was just about 500m then they changed again - how stupid are they!?!?
Well, this was Iran - very hot in the end and a little bit stupid, so not the best for the last kick, but Iran was a very, very good impression!! Let's see what comes next...

2008-06-04 to 2008-06-05
Kish Island

Kish Island Early in the morning I found a shop to stock up all my food stuff (which is sometimes in some area a little bit tricky) to be able to drive about 450km through the dessert (and to survive some days in case something happens with the car).
I was lucky, the street was in a very good condition, no traffic and no mountains (well I was at the coast) and I arrived pretty early in Charak, where the speedboats should leave to Kish island.
About 20mins later my car was parked, my backpacked loaded and I was sitting in a speedboat in direction to Kish - not knowing that we were heading towards two bank-holidays! Which was the real shit, because everything was closed, prices on Kish are very expensive (like Europe), diving rates more than doubled and I was told they are just going to the house riff, because there are just beginners - argh!
I decided not to pay a fortune for a hotel and sleep this night at the beach. Which was quite easy, nobody really cared, but once the flood woke me up and the mosquitoes were not my best friends - but my Authan wasn't theirs as well. Early next morning I woke up, was wondering around a little bit when I saw a taxi staying on a parking place - a fast deal and 20 mins later I was back at the harbour again, where I arrived about 15 hours before - good bye Kish!

2008-06-01 to 2008-06-02
Bander Busher

Bander Busher Although it became very hot I decided to stick to my plan to go to the Golf coast and to Kish Island for diving.
Driving to Busher was rather easy, the mountains again astonishing - and again different - I didn't know, that there are no many different kinds of mountain and rock forms possible!
Temperature in my car reached about 50 degrees of Celsius, but when I arrived on the coast there was a little wind and I immediately joined the local guys swimming in the sea which was a refreshing break.
I stayed the whole day in a park in the shades reading and giving English lessons to a local.
In the evening I ate in the 'famous Restaurant of Busher' - which was very expensive and just shit! Very disappointing - I hope the new Lonely Planet corrects it's recommendation!

2008-06-01 to 2008-06-03

Column Mosque Although we were all tired of sightseeing we had to go to Shiraz as it is on every tourist route in Iran.
We managed to visit a nice mosque, with a really very nice hall with about 200 columns, saw the brother of the tower of Pisa and then the motivation was gone. I was very lucky with the speed of extending my visa - although it was already outdated - but hey, I had to stay in the mountains to cool down and then the stupid weekend was coming out of nowhere. Who knows which day it is!? - it took me more time to find the right building than to go there tell them what I want, go to the bank, pay my fee (of course I haven't had to queue up behind 15 people but a teller was opening a new desk for me and within 3mins I was gone again! :-), receive my visa - and vanish. Very nice! Whenever you have to extend your visa in Iran - go to Shiraz! :-)
We spend another day in Shiraz to do some internet things and I changed my oil. The next day was not good: After being all together for more than a week it was hard to say good by!