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Current Location : Krabi, Thailand (Google map)
Last entry date : 11 July 2008

A rockslide onto the KK minutes before I arrive at this section

16/Jun/08 to 24/Jun/06

There are some bikers out there “adventuring” but I hardly meet them while out on the road. Then Marc, my Dutch riding partner in Iran, rode up the KK to Gilgit on 18/Jun from Lahore to join me and the French rider Yves Besancon did so the following day. That makes 4 bikers when Lili joined us for a drink. Mr. Yaqoob, the boss of Madina guesthouse in Gilgit proudly said he never had so many big bikes parked in his compound.

Marc had been making some jokes about my stomach problems, then he too got food poisoning. He said it was probably not because of the food he ate, but was due to the fact that the Pakistanis barber he went to had put dipped some fingers into his mouth to pull up his lower lips while giving him a close shave, Pakistanis style. We all agreed it was the barber’s left hand fingers, and not the samoosas we had by the Gilgit riverside.

It came time to leave again. Yves left on 20/Jun to ride up the Khunjerab Pass. The next day Marc & me, we took our time to ride a few km together, then he headed north with another traveler Shuyun as pillon towards Khunjerab, and I headed south direction India. The weather was hot and sweaty on the southern KK which snaked right alongside the fast flowing Indus river beneath. The scenery is spectacular – not easily captured on photos – on some sections the KK highway is so high looking steep down the Indus river. So too are the colourful and decorated trucks carrying supplies up & down the KK. Folks, this is great art and passion – someone told me some of the drivers put all hard earned money into the décor.

It had rained heavily further down the KK, and when that happens, nobody moves due to the danger of landslides and rockfalls. By the time I got throught the sandstorm at Chilas (witnessed rubbish, papers & plastic bottles flying all over the town) and arrived at Becham that evening, I had passed through a number scenes where mud and rock still covered the KK with water gushing down from the mountains. Not a good sign and time to be riding on the road. At one section, I was the first to arrive from my side just minutes after tons of rocks had slided down onto the KK and into the Indus river far below. See photo. The passengers of the 4 vehicules arriving from the opposite side were already busy trying to evacuate the rocks down the cliff so that they can continue their journey. From what I can see the danger of further rock fall was still there. This did not bother the Pakistanis at all and some of them even stood right on the edge of the road on the loose rocks. They must have got so used to such danger – the Indiana Jones of the KK. They just laughed when I said I preferred to wait a little before crossing. The big and small rocks were, in my opinion, too badly inclined on the road, looking like some lots could re-slipped down the river anytime. Soon they cleared 30 cms next to the edge and said ” … you can cross safely now, no problem, just don’t look down”. Yes, I’ve heard that before – no problem. So off I jumped onto the bike and unlike the previous river crossings, this time I took my time. Not like in the movies. Relieve, was the word when I made the few metres across, and walked back to thank these brave people for their assistance. They even said they did not need my help to clear the rocks.

As a visitor, I couldn’t help but notice that the towns down the KK are remarkably chaotic. Traffic and people (even animals) flow in all directions. A standout was in a little town just before Becham. Here I noticed there were many structures without front walls above the main road business buildings. Everyone on the main road can see what’s going on above ie in the tailorshop, furniture shop, restaurant, homes, etc. Too bad I had no time to pick-up some photos here as the local police soon quickly arrive to remind me that I was creating a traffic problem as crowds of youngsters were gathering around the bike.

Thus the KK story ends after enjoying 1000km of it. I rode into Rawalpindi and stayed 2 more days after landing up somewhere in the city centre (as usual I had no city maps) in a 2nd rate hotel. Unlike the northern part of Pakistan, here in the south women are once again seen out in the streets window shopping, working in boutiques, eating out in restaurants, etc. I even found some westen fastfood restaurants !!

There is only one official border crossing between Pakistan and India which is the Wargah Pakistan / Attari India crossing near Lahore. And I managed attend the famous border ceremony (well, actually I arrived late as usual to the border after it had closed some hours earlier and Pakistanis officials were giving out VIP front row seats to foreigners). Silly me, but I just did not understand why both countries are proudly parading their the war dance at the ceremony. I am sure there are many like me who wish there are no need for any gates at all at the border.

22 Responses to « Along the Karakoram Highway (part 3) – completing the 1000km KK route  »

  1. Hey Sheen,

    What a good time to document the border ceremony and such an arrangement – female on one side and male on the other. Beautiful. The decorated trucks are just gorgeous – such artistic talent by these truckers or their special painters! Keep those fantastic pictures coming!

    Happy border crossing to Malaysia.

    Judie

  2. you will be in malaysia tomorrow. You must have a great feeling of achievement. The kids and myself are eager to go to malaysia to celebrate your arrival. Lots of love. Lydia

  3. Siew Hoon & Victoria11 July 2008 à 10:28 pm

    Hi-Sheen,
    Another interesting update & beautiful photos ! Wow, you are so very near to Malaysia…..Happy crossing,tomorrow. I am so excited for you. Take care.

  4. Hi Sheen,

    Your LSU friends will be very happy to see you and Lydia after all these years in our LSU Tigers reunion party.
    Nice pictures and interesting story.

    Good Luck,

    Teresa

  5. You must be in malaysia now … !! congratulation 🙂

  6. Hey all, very very happy to say I’m tonight on the other side of Thailand ie just inside MALAYSIA !!!

    Sheen

  7. YOU DID IT!!!lydia

  8. Siew Hoon & Victoria12 July 2008 à 9:18 pm

    Hi-Sheen,
    I thank God , for your safe arrival in Malaysia. Congratulations….!!!!! What an achievement…..!!!! Well done.I am sure you can sleep very well tonight, right?
    Take care.

  9. Hi Sheen,

    Welcome back. See you and Lydia at the Homecoming Reunion Party in K.L.
    soon.

    Cheers,

    Teresa

  10. BRAVOOOO BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO BRAVOOO!!!

  11. Felicitation Sheen, Quelle belle aventure !
    Merci de nous avoir donner l’opportunite de participer à ce voyage avec toutes ces belles photos et les commentaires associés.
    Franchement Bravo !!!

  12. a few months ago it was just a dream….I’m really happy you made it come true. Love, Lydia

  13. hi Sheen…i jz saw at the ferry Penang Malaysia..Congratulations you are reached Malaysia…

  14. Hey Sheen,
    Haven’t looked at your site for a little while. All I can say is congratulations. You have achieved what I would have thought impossible. You have shown courage, ingenuity, guts and determination. I salute you my friend. Well done. (are you going to ride your bike back after Oz?)
    Dave

  15. coucou sheen un petit bonjour d’aix j’espère que tu vas bien depuis que l’on a eu au téléphone
    j’espère que lydia et les enfants sont bien arrivés
    repose toi bien en malaisie
    on te fait de gros bisous
    family trivier

  16. Gros bisous des Milles à toute la famille , les retrouvailles ont du être formidables .Pensons à vous et merci encore pour ce que tu nous as fait partager, bravo il fallait le faire toute notre admiration A bientôt

  17. Hi Sheen,

    Have I missed something? I am still waiting for your photos in Thailand and Malaysia. Are you going to post them in your site.

    anyway, glad to know that you’ve made it home safely. And hope you have had a great re-union with friends and family. And of course a great ex-tigers get together in KL in August.

    Cheers,
    Henry

  18. Je ne dirai qu’un seul mot : BRAVO !
    Mais il était temps, ma copine commençait à en perdre ses élastics (on s’comprend avec Lydia !)et à se mettre à la “Despé”….
    KISS à la famille “presque” réunie et PROFITEZZZZZZZZZZ

    Marie-Laure.

  19. Thumbs up Sheen ! 😉 It was certainly my prefered webmaster experience !
    However don’t let us in the dark now, please publish photos of your country, and maybe Thailand as well (I hear addicted visitors moaning in the back) 🙂

  20. Bonjour à tous de Johor Baru, Malaisie. Suis en peu “occupé” avec les retrouvailles et “la bouffe” depuis mon arrivé en Malaisie. Lydia, Pearl & Gem sont bien arrivés hier à Singapour (Jade et Cedric viendront la semaine prochaine). J’étais à l’aéroport, of course, en premier. Merci d’avoir suivi cette petit aventure. Les mises à jour sur l’Inde et Thailande se feront dans les prochains 2/3 jours (bon, c’est ecrit noir sur blanc)!!

    Hello all from Johor Baru Malaysia. Yes, yes, yes … I’ve got some great excuses for not updating lately – been busy visiting and eating since I got back into Malaysia !! Lydia, Pearl & Gem arrived yesterday in Singapore and of course I was there before them. Jade and Cedric are coming in next week. Thanks for following this little adventure, but its not finished yet – will update postings for India and Thailand in next 2/3 days (OK word now given in black on white)!!

    Sheen

  21. Siew Hoon & Victoria21 July 2008 à 9:57 pm

    Hi- Sheen,
    Thanks for letting us know that Lydia, Pearl and Gem have arrived safely. Have a nice time together…..and also enjoy, the delicious Malaysian food….Selamat Makan!.
    Greetings to all… Take care.

  22. Hi Sheen,

    You don’t have to excuse yourself for not updating your photos. After all, you need to rest and catch up with your family. I’m glad everybody is fine. Maybe your fans were a bit worried about you.
    Don’t overeat the durians! They can make you sick. Send pictures of your favourite food in Johor, O.K.?
    Selamat Datang ke Malaysia, Lydia!!!
    See you both at the LSU lunch in K.L. soon.

    Teresa

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