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Current Location : Johor Baru, Malaysia (Google Map)
Last entry date : 22 July 2008

An ordinary day on the streets of India

25/Jun/08 to 02/Jul/08

Even though the Wargah / Attari border was the only official border crossing between Pakistan and India, it appeared quiet that 25/Jun morning. There were a handful of Indian tourists on the daily bus to Delhi, and then there was me and my bike. All was quiet on the eastern front (of Pakistan). No visible sign of anyone rushing to get across the frontiers. The customs knew what they wanted to see ie my Carnet de Passage document. Within 2-1/2 hours the bike registration figures were checked and the Carnet stamped by both sides. India was all mine … at least for the next 2 weeks while I hope to make up my mind if I should continue riding up into Nepal or stop in Delhi to prepare my getaway flight into Bangkok Thailand.

As I make my way that early afternoon via Amritsar and Pathankot to Dharamsala (where the Dalai Lama has his exiled HQ), I realised  it’s a different kind of driving in India. Here, its quite folkloric – you see pedestrian, bicycles, cars, trucks, motorcyclists and animals … all competing for road usage (and I thought riding in Iran was difficult). I am careful to avoid running into the holy cow and other animals often left wandering on their own (and on highways). It’s especially chaotic at junctions and congested areas. Road rules anyone, please ?? “Can’t be helped” said an Indian man “There are too many of us”. Must be stressful for the Indian drivers to drive the way they drive. However difficult it seemed, a bit of horning helps to avert accidents as observed everywhere. Well, everyone (except the animals) is continuously hooting – its rather noisy on Indian roads. There is a joke that an Indian driver would not drive if his vehicule’s horn is out of order.

The 1st day driving in India was chalked down to “very tiring”. Too bad the Dalai Lama was away traveling. I was quite happy to have spent a 3 days visit here in India’s “little Tibet”, as did thousands of other tourists Indians and foreigners whom I saw during my stay. In this spiritual place filled with clouds and forest, the people calmly go about their lives. I had the impression I had a good rest. This rest quickly disappeared soon as I made my way down the unending winding hills to Chandigarh towards Delhi. It took 3 days to arrive into Delhi from Dharamsala. Plenty of stops along the way due to hot weather. On the map, it looked an easy “few hundred kms”. That’s when I decided that riding to the high mountains of Nepal will be for another time. I had better try to catch a flight out from Delhi instead of continuing to Katmandu, Nepal.

That 29/Jun afternoon I took up the centrally located cheap looking hotel near Canaught Circus in New Delhi, hoping it’ll be a short stay while I try to arrange an air shipment for Kuda (this loyal horse) and myself. Yves, the same French rider whom I met in Gilgit Pakistan, contacted me to find out where I was at 17.00hrs since he was still 300kms away from Delhi. To my surprise he turned up at 23.30hrs that same evening – my hero, of Pakistan mountains and Indian traffic (even at night ! Helmet off to Yves !). He now leaves his bike here in Delhi to return next year to do more !! Six days later on the 04/Jul we said goodbye. He left the same day from Delhi to France while I left with Kuda via the same Thai flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Well, not without first treating ourselves to some nice dessert at one chic Indian restaurant the night before. As riders, we both felt it was worth all the trouble and fun getting to where we were !

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 […]

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Current Location : Bangkok, Thailand (Google map) Last entry date : 06 July 2008 This passenger van did not get lucky in the crossing on this washed out road. There is some water power rushing down. 12/Jun/08 to 15/Jun/08 Pakistan has its hot season in May & June. Even in the northern areas high above […]

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Current Location : New Delhi, India (Google map) Last entry date : 03 July 2008 Starring up at Mt. Rakaposhi, 7788mtrs above sea level. One can admire this high mountain from the KK highway 10/Jun/08 to 11/Jun/08 At last I’m on the Khunjerab Pass (4700m above sea level) and looking down Pakistan’s KK highway. Just great to […]

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Current Location : Dharamsala, India (Google map) Last entry date : 26 June 2008 At the top of the world for a bike – Khunjerab Pass, 4700 mtrs above sea level 03/Jun/08 to 10/Jun/08 The 2nd day on route 218 was by far the most difficult single journey long ride since I started this trip. […]

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Current Locaton : Rawalpindi, Pakistan (Google map) Last entry date : 23 June 2008 A water crossing on route 218 31/May/08 to 01/Jun/08 My mini ordeal with the chinese customs is over. I soon began to notice that the towns like Korgas and Yinning appears to be huge in size and densely populated when compared […]

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Current Location : Gilgit, North Pakistan (Google map) Last entry date : 19 June 2008 A glimpse of rural Xinjiang 28/May/08 to 30/May/08 Finally, after months of preparation (and of course an advance payment to the chinese agent to sort out my entry / exit permits, etc) for this entry, I rolled up to the […]

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Current Location : Gilgit, North Pakistan Last entry date : 11 June 2008 Young boys competing in a horserace in Qarqara, Eastern Kazakhstan 26/May/08 to 27/May/08 It would have been nice to linger around Karakol or Eastern Kyrgyzstan for a few more days (sleep in the guesthouse or just watch the crow show, for example). […]

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Current Location : Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China Last entry date : 07 June 2008 Difficult terrain on way to Valentin’s Altin Arachan base camp 25/May/08 When Valentin, the co-host of Yak Tours told me the dirt road to their mountain chalets at Altin-Arachan is accessible and its not a problem to take my bike there, […]

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Current Location : Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China Last entry date : 07 june 2008 Kyrgyz man in traditional costume in Southern Issy-Kol lake 22/May/08 to 26/May/08 I heard some stories but I now know why seasoned travelers and backpackers are flocking to Kyrgyzstan. This country well tugged in by mountains, is beautiful, the people are […]

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