Guns, weed but no booze: Pakistan on a GS (150..)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Asianrider, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Asianrider

    Asianrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    184
    The bridge is here:

    https://goo.gl/maps/KMMUmRukcc5UVB8m8

    Insurance ? For yourself or the bike ? I had none for the bike, obviously, that’s part of the adventure riding there: you take your chances.

    Third party: you hope for the best, that a small bike isn’t going to do much harm, and keep some cash to solve issues in the spot.

    As for myself, if things turned to the worse, my insurance would pay for medical evacuation. I kept a wad of dollars to get me as quickly as possible to Islamabad.

    26 days is great. Lots of people spend less than that and just “do” KKH. Have fun !
    Kyron and mb300 like this.
  2. BCPilotguy

    BCPilotguy n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
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    3
    Location:
    Prince George
    I'm not worried about the bike, it's a rental and fully covered. I'm more thinking about travel medical insurance. I read the fine print on more than 10 different policies today and they all have some variation on "Not valid for countries for which a travel advisory has been issued". I used it on my last trip, so I'd rather not be without.

    I have a fairly aggressive rough plan/wish list for my time in Pakistan (around 3000 km total). We'll see how much of it I actually get done.
    Asianrider and mb300 like this.
  3. Bora

    Bora Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
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    34
    What a brilliant RR! I'm from India, and Pakistan is really beautiful, and not as crowded as Ladakh and Spiti Valley have become! Subscribed! And waiting for the next update earnestly!
    Asianrider and mb300 like this.
  4. Asianrider

    Asianrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    184
    After the crazy footbridges, all that's left is a double-track across the river bed and one last good suspended bridge.

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    So the mystery remains: why build two nice bridges at either end and leave the middle part uncrossable?

    After I put back my bags on the bike, I noticed them swaying left and right... surely something had to give

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    Yup, the "luggage" carrier hadn't been designed for big loads on bad roads. Not surprised here. I strap it as good as I can and got the first village. There's a small shop, I show him the problem and mime the welding job: good enough, I'm directed to the next village 5 min away. Indeed there's a guy with a welding machine. You can go anywhere in the world, it's a safe bet you'll find a welder not far. Well, not so much as q "welder" as somebody who can use the machine, as the job is not always up to our standards...

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    Notice the sunglasses he's not wearing... oh well, different standards again.

    That seems to do the trick, at least it keeps me going for a while. I continue up the valley. It's a dead-end but it sure must be beautiful. The road isn't bad. Soon I reach a kind of holiday center near a hot spring.

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    The place looks semi-famous here, there are several rooms and a restaurant, all a bit run-down although par for the course over here. There are no customer though. I ask if I can have lunch, so they go fetch the cook to fix something. In the mean time, they show me to the hot pool, where the locals are bathing and sometimes washing. Sorry, no photo as they're not welcome here.

    And off I go, on more bridges and rough roads.

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    It's getting lake so I need to find a place to crash. I decide to try the villages on the other side of the valley. Steep descent, river crossing and up on the other side to nice plateau.

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    It's a beautiful place. The road is shite, but it gets me to the next village with a beautiful sunset over the mountains.

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    That's the kind of place so remote that they don't get to see any foreigner. In fact, I guess they don't see anybody outside their own valley! I stop and go talk to some guy who owns a little shop. No English here obviously. I explain that I'd like a place to sleep. He gets it and he just shows me to his own house, after parking the bike in front of his shop. It just seems so natural for them..!

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    He brings me to a large, empty room and tells me to get comfortable. I ask to pee and wash, so he shows me to the outhouse (a pit) and.. to the stream that runs through the village street! Women are washing clothes there.. so I just wash my face and hands and that'll be good enough for tonight.

    The guy sits with me, and try to communicate but the result is frustratingly sparse. Long uncomfortable silences follow. I think they're OK with it but I never get used to ti. They're so nice to me and I can't even explain to them what the heck I'm doing here. I spread out a map and show him my itinerary, but I'm not sure he knows a lot about the rest of Pakistan. A couple other guys show up to meet me but there's not a lot more communication going on. Then food is brought in by the wife. As usual here, the women and men are segregated and eat in different places. In the kitchen for the women and girls and in this room for the men and boys. Maybe when they're by themeselves they all eat in the kitchen but with a stranger, it's no way.

    Then the guy starts to smoke and just rests, while I read some book. And then as it's pitch black outside (there's no electricity here so there's only a battery-powered lamp to light up the room), the 2 boys come in and they spread blankets on the floor, while I use my inflatable mattress (I like it soft...). And they just crash and we all fall asleep, like this. Simple life!

    That was a fun day! that's exactly what I was looking for when I came here. Remote places, crazy roads and beautiful people.
    yamalama, Saso, mADVta and 14 others like this.
  5. Asianrider

    Asianrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    184
    The next morning I bid farewell to my host an return to the right side of the river, as the road ends here on this side.

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    The road quickly turns to not much. It gets increasingly difficult to ride.

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    There's a nice view over the Zil plateau across the valley where I've slept the night before. The road keeps gaining altitude.

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    I get stuck on the first steep section with my carter scraping the rocks and the rear wheel losing traction. I get help from a guy passing by. Later on, it gets even rougher, so I reluctantly turn back. My goal was to get to Arando, the last village up the Shigar valley that's connected by road, but what's the point if I need to walk back because I ruined the motor ?

    On the way down I cross a family cutting grass for the winter.

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    It's pretty steep and everything is done by hand.

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    Carrying the hay back home is also done by human power, I guess they're too poor to get a donkey. Or maybe those don't survive long in those environments ? or they eat too much ?

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    A little while downstream I spot a lot of activity down near the river with lots of animals around. I'd seen almost nobody until now so I have to go see what's going on. I leave the bike with the bags and take my camera with me. I get to the bridge...

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    No, no, calm down. I'm not gonna ride over that bridge. It sure looks like it could use a little maintenance.

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    What happens is that the shepherds are bringing their goats and sheep to sell at the market, which is in the village over the other side of the river. Which can be crossed only by this bridge. No way a goat can cross that, so the solution is to carry them over by hand.

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    They put a couple goats in big baskets, bring them over, and come back for more.

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    Even if you don't have a basket, you help anyway.

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    The goats don't seem to mind, for those who worry about their well-being.

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    Even the kids have to be transported like this.

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    The traffic back and forth is hectic, especially when there's an old guy (or a less sure-footed foreigner crossing).

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    All of this was good fun, I took a ton of photos. And a video.

  6. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking Supporter

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    Fantastic portrait-shots btw... absolutely love them.
    just out of curiousity, what camera equipment do you use?


    Welders:
    Well the sunglasses make no shit difference... for stick welding you need at least a shade 10 welders glass to protect your eyes.
    I've seen it in too many places... the guys get quite good at welding with their eyes shut and work it by feel... but most will have suffered from severe eye damage after a number of years.
    I've seen all sort of welding-lens substitutes being used, from slitted cardboard to partially taped over sun glasses...
    I work as a blacksmith / fabricator & machinist and do a ton of welding... I couldn't imagine working without eye protection.... and I mean welder's 10-shade glass isnt' exactly expensive even for remote poor standards... it's mostly ignorance from what I came to learn... like why bother.
  7. Frank Lammers

    Frank Lammers Adventurer

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    Location:
    Arnhem, Netherlands
    What a rewarding couple of days! I’m genuinely enjoying it just reading the report! Can only imagine what it must be like being in the true heart of a countries culture. A-ma-zing
  8. Asianrider

    Asianrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    184
    Thanks.

    Yes, sunshades aren’t going to help your eye vision, but at least they’re protecting against flying sparks of burning material. That can hurt pretty bad.

    Most of the “on-the-Fly” shots I took with an iPhone I kept inside my jacket. Easy to get out, point-and-shoot, go.
    I do also carry a dSlr that I keep protected inside my bags, therefore it sees less action. When I stop and see an opportunity for shooting something that’s worth a better quality and experience than an iPhone, I stop and get the gear out.
    I used a 70-200/4 for some of the portraits on the bridge. 16-35/4 for the wide shots.

    As good as your gear is, it’s worth shit if it stays in the bag. Hence the smartphone.
    Kyron, SteveTheLocal and EastRoad like this.
  9. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

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    Very captivating reporting & writing style! I devoured whole report in just one day :)
    Waiting for more :lurk
    Safe ride, Asianrider :)
  10. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking Supporter

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    This quite literally mirrors my own experience - on my last few trips, the majority of the photos were taken with the smartphone - for the last two I even left the entire DSLR thingy at home ;)
  11. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    vancouver bc
    brilliant. stunning photos.
    biker7one likes this.