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Old 07-24-2010, 05:52 AM   #781
tsiklonaut OP
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Thank you all for your comments, and thank you both targetplayer and lovebikes for your invitations - we'll see how we can hook up. A positive experience would be appreciated!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SS in Vzla.
Glad to hear you are mostly OK.
Maybe you need some longer rest somewhere?
I think so, preferably in a cooler climate!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram
I thought you would have understood how to ride in the Sub-continent and in other developping regions. Riding like in Europe or the US is a sure way to serious pain! I'm constantly on the lookout for pedestrians and vehicles on the side of the road. I ride as far as possible from the foot path or roadside. I use the horn to signal my presence to others on the road. So as I approach a vehicle that I want to overtake, I use the horn to make sure the driver knows I'm behind him. After a few near-misses with when I was learning to ride, I'm always wary of people hiding behind vehicles on the roadside and of vehicles moving into my path but are hidden by the bus/truck that I would be overtaking at that moment. A LOUD horn is always useful!

We too try to be on the look out as much possible, and to use horn a lot (although I must say that horn does not seem to be as popular in Pakistan as in India) - we've had time to practice it throughout much of the South-East Asia, but the subcontinent is somehow different. Maybe it is just too crowded, which inevitably increases the risk of accidents. Or maybe we're simpy overheated. I don't know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram
By the way, one "trick" even we Indians fall for is the run-over chicken trick. Villagers, usually hiding, throw a chicken on the road in anticipation of one's passage hoping that we run it over. In that event, a big group forms and intimidates the driver into paying many times the value of the chicken as compensation.

I hope this is not what they were trying to achieve by letting their daughter run freely on the road!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram
I've been for a while now but I decided to contribute (pollute? ) to your RR since your photos and article of India are wonderful. Thanks! I hope my country has left you with mostly good memories.

Head reisi (from the internet )

Indeed, contrary to our sour impression in the beginning India proved to be wonderful. In fact, had it not been so hot, we might have explored some more of it (Rajasthan seems particularly appetizing). Maybe next time! I hope our experience with Pakistan will be similar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by moilami
Eeeww, I have seen pictures of Pakistanese now and I have to say Pakistan is maybe the least desirable country for me to travel.

Do not take our experience as an absolute truth - there are as many opinions as many there are travellers, and each experience is unique. We have not quite gotten to know the Pakistanis too well yet. It is true that our first impression of the overall mentality is a bit grim, but firstly it is just a first impression after coming from a very different culture, and secondly one must try to understand all the difficult political context of the past and present in Pakistan to really understand the people. We do have met quite a many people by now who would go out of their way to leave us a good impression of Pakistan, their country. Let us not lose hope!




Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowknife
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall hearing your wife tear into the driver of the vehicle. I am hoping you got some video. They probably are not used to being told off by women.

Haha! They are definitely not. In any case he did not seem to be too touched.


Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowknife
Anyways - post a link for your paypal if you have one. your RR is definitely worth the price of a book to me today. Maybe it will come in handy for your pannier repair or a sedative for your wife.

Here it is:








Will definitely come handy for pannier repair, a sedative (not really, she likes to think positive so she recovers quickly!), or a tankful towards Africa!


Quote:
Originally Posted by targetplayer
You are travelling on one of the biggest motorcycles and as you have seen here most of the motorcycles are 70 and 100cc small bikes so you should be getting the attention of the peoples and obviously people gather when unfortunately some accident happens.

What is interesting is that although our bike is huge compared to the local bikes, the local car drivers act as if we were approaching them on a bicycle. They never give way to smaller vehicles, sometimes even push us off the road. There's no respect between drivers here, and communication is one-way only (no civilized "I see you, you see me" fundamentals, it's more rather "I don't care"), both in India and Pakistan. For example in indonesia drivers are a hell lot faster and more precise than here per same traffic density, but you rarely get any accident situations on daily basis in Indonesia, it's just that they see others and check before they perform any manoeuvres. In densely populated areas of India and Pakistan you can count over well around hundred "I nearly got killed" situations per day if you cover some 200-300km with full day of riding. And we've overheated our horn couple of times already, since it's screaming most of the time, but still, even horn doesn't help on some (read: on many) blind and deaf idiots, as proven in the last report. You can be as protective and careful as you like in your riding style, but you still get the sh*t kicked out of you by careless others.



Quote:
Originally Posted by targetplayer
You can't imagine how it hurts when we read such an unpleasent report projecting the negative impression at this level of international forum. Accidents are accidents and can be happen anytime anywhere. Thanks God you both remained safe from serious injuries.
You are right, accidents do happen, and when they do, it is an unpleasant experience no matter where you are. No need for you to feel bad about it (although we too feel bad if something happens to a visitor to Estonia). I hope there will be more positive experiences for us to remember from Pakistan in the end.

In fact, as a teaser, we must say we already started to really like Hunza! We're a bit scared to go back to the plains in South, but we have no choice...


Quote:
Originally Posted by moilami
You wrote part of my thoughts. Have to say the bike was one awesome vehicle to go through everything, I say epic motorcycle, and I don't say epic in vain. Hope they fix her.
Don't write the old lady off just yet, she has proven to be tough as hell already! I reckon we'll be able to patch her up this time as well. We'll need an aluminium welder and good 4-5 strong men to bend the rear and front frames back straight (hopefully w/o cracking or breaking anything in the forceful process! ). I hope we'll find a good aluminium welder and a well equipped garage in Dubai - not much possible here in Pakistan and Iran.

Ride safe you all,
Margus
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:08 AM   #782
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Glad to read you're both in good spirits - what happened to the guy that hit you? Did you confiscate his vehicle to pay for damages?
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:15 PM   #783
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Margus and Kariina, I have finally read your entire report and wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying this. The energy and effort put into this is incredible. I know it takes a lot of time to capture and post photos for all of us to enjoy. I'm glad you are sharing the adversities as well as the highlights. And the time elapsed videos....Wow. Your efforts are a real inspiration. Best wishes.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:20 AM   #784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timk519
Glad to read you're both in good spirits - what happened to the guy that hit you? Did you confiscate his vehicle to pay for damages?
The problem with those damages is that you can pay as much as you like, but the thing is that there just isn't a place in Pakistan that would be able to fix them. Or, at least, none that we know of. Since the police too attended the "crime scene", the guy agreed to pay 3000 rupees (around USD 50) - probably half of his monthly salary, but once again, since the closest place to get the things fixed is Dubai, I am pretty sure it will be about much more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan
I know it takes a lot of time to capture and post photos for all of us to enjoy. I'm glad you are sharing the adversities as well as the highlights. And the time elapsed videos....Wow. Your efforts are a real inspiration. Best wishes.

Oh, yes. There are people who believe that we are just on a long vacation, but as all travellers know, it isn't always about fun and good times. Things do go wrong, and cultural shocks do happen. We're just trying to bring it to you the way we experience it, with all the adversities and the highlights. Without the bad experiences, I think it would be difficult to appreciate the good ones. And in the end, there is something to learn from both.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:21 AM   #785
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Diary

Quote "Will definitely come handy for pannier repair, a sedative (not really, she likes to think positive so she recovers quickly!), or a tankful towards Africa!"

Hi Margus

I am curious to know if you keep a diary of expenses. It would make a great source of info, since some things are more money and some less than North America.

I see from page one that you added us and other new donors. Thanks. I would like to know how much a tank of gas is worth for your bike - going towards the Africa stretch for future reference.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:45 AM   #786
tsiklonaut OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowknife
I am curious to know if you keep a diary of expenses. It would make a great source of info, since some things are more money and some less than North America.

I see from page one that you added us and other new donors. Thanks. I would like to know how much a tank of gas is worth for your bike - going towards the Africa stretch for future reference.


Yes, we do keep detailed track of our daily expenses since the day one, but we have not quite gotten to compile statistics that would give you an adequate overview. Costs for the same things in different parts of the world differ, but what we have found out, travelling in North America for example does not necessarily have to be more expensive than in the developing world if you're willing to camp and cook your own food. So if one day we'll get ourselves to put together an overview of where, how much and what for, it will be with lots of explanations (like in the case of Colombia for example - we spent there around a month but did not spend much on accomodation because we stayed at our friends' place).

Our friends Marie and Brian from Canada have been more dutiful in terms of this, and on their page you can find their expenses summed up for at least a part of their journey around the world: click here.


Here in Pakistan we paid last time 68 rupees a litre. Roughly, a tankful of gas would be 2000 rupees or USD 34, and it'll bring us around 600km (375 mi) forward. Of course, in different countries prices for fuel can differ wildly - in Iran, the next country on our trajectory, the fuel is probably one of the cheapest in the world, at least when we wisited it in 2005 - tankful for just few bucks!
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:20 AM   #787
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The further north we moved along the Karakoram Highway, the more relaxed the people became. When we stopped at some village to buy a bottle of water, the faces in the crowd that surrounded us were speaking a different language. Sure there was some distrust towards us as foreigners - some preferred not to join the crowd but to observe us from the distance, but there was a sense of positivity and curiosity, too, that we had not felt in the areas further south. In any case, being surrounded by men wearing the funky pancake hats we did not feel unfomfortable or unsafe. Maybe it is the following scene that gave us more confidence. Just as I took out the camera, an old guy with a crumpled nose insisted I take a picture of him. Others started laughing, obviously pointing out that he did not quite fit the parameters of a photo model. He laughed, too, and there were no hard feelings. It is nice when people do not take themselves too seriously.



Typical Pakistanis on wheels.















A funky old man.















Pakistani Muslims in their "pancake" hats.















































One of the mullah's inspecting us in Chilas.















A decent beard is a Muslim man's pride.





















Rolling on, we soon started to realise what we had come here for. The ninth highest mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat, was standing before us (well, actually behind us - hadn't I looked in the mirror we would have had missed it!). Standing 8126 meters (26 660 ft) high, it is the westernmost 8000+ mountain in the world.





Nanga Parbat - stunning 26 660 ft!



But there are other, lower but still attractive peaks as well, many of which can be contemplated from Karimabad, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Hunza, even without any major hiking. For example Rakaposhi (7788 meters), Ultar II (7388 meters), Diran (7270 meters), Hunza Peak (6270 meters), Bubulimating (6000 meters), Altit Peak (5075 meters).



Mountains seen from Gilgit.















A white cold top surrounded by warmer lower mountains in the last sunlight.















Panorama from Gilgit (click to enlarge).













A white top in Karakoram.















Rakaposhi (25 550 ft)















The sharp peak on the left is called Lady Finger (Bubulimating in local language), sided by Hunza peak.














The mighty Rakaposhi from another angle and lit up by the last sunrays.















Altit Peak.















Panorama of the Ultar II (24 200 ft) - click to enlarge.













Panorama of Rakaposhi (click to enlarge).













Panorama from different peaks seen from Duikar (click to enlarge).













A looong panorama from Eagle's Nest viewpoint in Duikar - a decent view of the Karakoram's might (click to enlarge).


Hunza is roughly the region where the Asian and Indian plates collided millions of years ago. The process of terraforming is far from being over, though, as the Indian continent still keeps on moving north. Thus it is only logical that the earth trembles here some every three minutes or so. This, of course, leads to landslides.

One major landslide took place here in January this year, blocking Hunza river and subsequently creating a lake that is by now some 100 meters deep and kilometers long. The problem is, that a part of the Karakoram Highway, the only connection road to the Chinese border now lay submerged together with some villages. Unable to clear the rubble that is damming the river, the locals have introduced boat transport across the lake.



Hunza lake - created by a gigantic landslide and has drowned KKH road along with number of villages.














4x4 is a preferred way of transport on KKH.















Panorama from the Hunza lake (atop of the landslide itself) - click to enlarge.



Hunza is indeed the most pleasant region we have visited so far in Pakistan. Not only has it the views, but the people are different here. Maybe it is the cooler mountain air, or maybe it is because the people here follow a different branch of Islam, namely Ismailism. One of the first things to notice here is the presence of colourfully dressed (no burkas!) women in the streets, but the overall attitude of the locals is much more positive and relaxed than elsewhere.



Panorama from the road (click to enlarge).












A brick factory aside the Karakoram Highway.















Road from Hopar - Ultar II glowing in front of us.















Apricots in Hunza valley are world famous, fed by Karakoram's rich minerals and baked in high altitude sunlight - they taste good indeed!














Ismaili muslims in Hunza are friendly and welcoming.















Young girl at work.















800 years old Altit fort on the backdrop of the Hunza Peak.















Panorama of the Altit fort.













2000 year-old rock inscriptions in Hunza valley. Mostly reflecting hunting-scenes.






























And, last but not least, we found a 10-rupee note in a bag of potato chips. Maybe the things are to change towards the better…


tsiklonaut screwed with this post 07-27-2010 at 06:28 AM
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:43 AM   #788
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut

And, last but not least, we found a 10-rupee note in a bag of potato chips. Maybe the things are to change towards the better…
WTF????? Insta rebat? xD What are the odds to find 10 rubee in the bag? Did the potato chips cost less than 10 rubee? Funny marketing :)

Thank you very much of the awesome photos. You surely have photos to make at least two nice photo books.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:06 AM   #789
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moilami
Thank you very much of the awesome photos. You surely have photos to make at least two nice photo books.
The panoramas alone would fill a couple!!!! Great work!!
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:48 AM   #790
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Amazing

Pakistani Muslims in their "pancake" hats.

Those "Pancake" hats are called Pakol. I am not sure if i am spelling it right but that is how it sounds when pronunced. They are basically wool sacks that they roll up and put on there head. The are very warm but very scratchy as well, so the men wear them on the back of the head so that there hair makes a space between wool and skin. You probably allready know this but if you greet the local muslems by saying O Salam Alekum (again spelled how it is pronunced), it means peace be unto you. They usually put there right hand on there heart in the more rural areas when they say it as a gesture of friendship. If some one says it to you first you respond with Walekum O Salam which is essentially "and unto you be peace". It is interesting in rural places that even just a little courtisy towards the local customs will take you a LONG way. I am in no way shape or form muslem, but I like how your wife and you respect the local customs and wear appropriate clothing and so fourth. I think in order to really visit and understand another culture you have to essentially live in it as you two are doing. This is an amazing thread that I read multipule times a week so I wanted to contribute in any way I could to your success.

The best of luck

Ty
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:25 AM   #791
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut





Road from Hopar - Ultar II glowing in front of us.




Gday Margus & Karina,
Cant wait to see where the road leads to next. You 2 are Legendary!

Just love the faces of the world you have given us a glimpse of.

Hey Mate - no doubt youre getting around to it but, any chance of chucking an updated Google Map track of the road youve taken thru Pakistan and the KKR for us .
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:05 AM   #792
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glad you are OK

hey there! sorry to hear of your 'bump'. glad that you are OK after this one too!
the pics are great - we are just sorry we were there in winter so we couldnt travel north and see this wonderful scenary.
As you said - travellers are all individual and have differnet experinces - Simon and I really liked Pakistan and the Pakistanis - much more than India! so yes - we all have very different opinions of places and yet we all ride motorbikes through these countries as we all have the same love of 'bikes!

keep the concentration up - and stop letting the bike lie down for a rest!

all is fine with us - been working hard on many different things and projects - we are looking forward to traveling south east Asia now.

take care
Lisa and Simon
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:55 PM   #793
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I'm sure when you finish this courageous ride, you are different person by then..

Lot's of cultural,political exposure.... hehehehe
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:07 AM   #794
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moilami
WTF????? Insta rebat? xD What are the odds to find 10 rubee in the bag? Did the potato chips cost less than 10 rubee? Funny marketing :)
Yes, the package of chips cost the same - 10Rp


Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerjwhite
You probably allready know this but if you greet the local muslems by saying O Salam Alekum (again spelled how it is pronunced), it means peace be unto you. They usually put there right hand on there heart in the more rural areas when they say it as a gesture of friendship. If some one says it to you first you respond with Walekum O Salam which is essentially "and unto you be peace". It is interesting in rural places that even just a little courtisy towards the local customs will take you a LONG way.
It is true, which ever Muslim country we have visited, the universal greeting Salam Aleykum melts the ice in 95% of cases!


Quote:
Originally Posted by makad
Hey Mate - no doubt youre getting around to it but, any chance of chucking an updated Google Map track of the road youve taken thru Pakistan and the KKR for us .
Maybe once we've gotten through Pakistan we'll post the whole route. Till now it's been mostly on main roads (straying off the KKH is, in many places, inadvisable with the current political situation in Pakistan), i.e. Lahore - Rawalpindi/Islamabad - Murree - Abbottabad - Chilas - Gilgit - Karimabad. We'll see how it'll go from here - we're bad at sticking to a plan, even if we had one ;)



Quote:
Originally Posted by lisa thomas
keep the concentration up - and stop letting the bike lie down for a rest!
Nice to hear from you guys! We'll try our best, as always! Anyways, I believe once we cross the border to Iran we'll have the overcrowded roads left behind for most of the remaining trip. After all, India and Pakistan are renowned for their "crazy" traffic - by far the worst we've seen during our trip.

Ride safe,
Margus and Kariina
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:13 AM   #795
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O hello

If you get a chance to go there, the Mongolian steep and Kyrgyzstan is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. I would give anything for the opportunity to be there again with a motorcycle and time.

The best of luck and thank you for letting myself and everyone else live vicariously.

Ty
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