miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009

7 days on Tibet

Helloooo my dires...sorry, I mean my dears,
I bet you all are quite ravenous for more news from the turtle riders, but as you might guessed there are some connectivity problems from China, let's call them censure-ship or integrity, whatever team you are on. Nevertheless, here we are again, thanks to our belgium freelancer.
Some days have passed since we left Kathmandu, which I did not like at all, I'm still scratching and hoping not carrying anything with me that don't belongs me, but oh well, as they say "c'est la vie".We deparrted from that clean, full of facilities, hot water shower (...NOT!!!) minus 5 stars hotel at 5:15 AM. We were short of cash counting not need to pay anything since our tour had been paid long before in Pokhara, but of course, there were few nights we still had to pay. We were informed of such inconvenience at our last day, last minute before departure, not even counting that we paid a night we were out trekking...ARGH!! (breath out deep breath in, breath out), we paid some of the balance at the reception desk and were able to convince the receptionist to come with us to the nearest ATM to get the rest, that we had to be at Thamel in 2 minutes.
Moving on we got into a full of tourist bus that was meant to take us to the nepali-tibetan border. After our great experience on the roof of a local bus that was sweet. There were persons of UEA, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Israel...a nice "pupurry". Ferran let his authism to get into its maximum potential and started to dislike the group pretty fast, but I have to agree that there were some nice specimen.
The nepali-tibetan border is full of nepali bussinessmen, for which I mean one tone heavily sack weighted persons, male and female no difference, who keep going into the China border to bring goodies on their backs, and then back again, I guess for the whole day or until their backs say "no more". They form a continous and quasi-infinite line that likes to 'jump' over the security restrictions and checkings chinese officials keep.
On the other hand, there are 'we', the 'tourist'. We passed just five or six security checks. One for the flu (I was coughing and had running nose, and probably some fever, and of course I said I was alright), second for weapons on X ray, third was military inspection for Tibet political books, which include any Lonely Planet with monk pictures or Tibet map (Hah!), fourth was visa check, fifth another X ray, and finnally policemen check the books thing again, just in case the militars did not do their job properly...funny, but a bit time extended for my own taste.
Now the good news. As we were promised we got land rovers waiting for us on chinese border, so we got into them and started our journey through Tibet. We lunch near the border and found a non-existant ATM on the first town, thanks goodness, since we were short on cash as I stated before, and dinner lunch and drinks were not included on the package (I call it non-existant because both our guides told everyone that there were no any ATM until the third day of the tour).
Hmmm I should get it faster, because if I stick on every little thing this post will be longer than a novel, and of course if Ferran wants to say anything else about these past days he is free to do so, although is not our policy to go back into the past.
Tibet is beautiful, not the same beauty as Nepal, can not say if more or less, but different. We have not gone under 3.500m. The landscape on such condition, as you can guess, can not be the exhuberant green of Nepal, but the mountains touch the sky, and the sky kiss the mountain pics, in a quiet peaceful fusion that gets into the soul, maybe that is the reason buddhism had to fall here (although some want to kick it out).
You have tundra and plateau all around, small rivers, if they can be called like that, flow all over, freezing during the night and getting into life soon after the sun crowns the highest highs in the world.
The nights are cold, and I mean COLD. You damn your pee needs everytime during the nighttime, and I prefered to sleep clothed most of them. I have to say that we passed the first two nights in guesthouses, and we are still waiting to spot our first heater in the room. Breakfasts consisted so far in bread and omelette, no exception.
Other important thing you have to know is that there are more than good chances you will suffer high sickness, consisting in headache, stomach disorders and similar things. Most of us (tourist) got some of it during our journey.
About the political thing, there is a heavy China army presence, in most cases the army helps to build roads or such things, but they have weapons, and are a repressive force (for good or bad). Just today we have seen like fifty trucks and excavators, or maybe more, movilizing, I wonder if spanish army have such number of trucks in whole country. The repression can also be perceived on internet censure, similar to the one we found at Iran.
The locals, from my point of view, are social and not dislike the human touch, expressions such as hugging and body contact playing are more common than in Europe (I guess the cold has not said its last word). Some of them like to sing and carry a smile with them. They are shorter than 'us' and darker than eastern chinese...but anyway, this is getting too long, sorry, but many days and many things, wish it could have been three posts and not one. I will let the pictures and Ferran talk (when we were able to upload them, maybe at HK) the rest of it.
Best wishes,
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jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009


El dilluns 19 tocava agafar un autocar cap a Katmandú. El que no sabíem es que aquest era exclusiu per a turistes, i tampoc sabíem que érem els que menys havíem pagat de tots. Per variar els pitjors seients de tots, un no pot deixar negociar les condicions a l’esqueleto.

El trajecte va anar prou be, cap accident que destacar a la carretera. Vam parar a dinar a un restaurant de carretera, el qual va escandalitzar a una catalana que havíem conegut al ràfting, simplement perquè valien els plats 10 cèntims d’euro mes del que ella solia pagar. Després no entenem perquè ens diuen rates.

Després de tres hores vam arribar a Katmandú. Ciutat gegant que s’ha anat escampant cap a tots costats sense pietat, amb una contaminació terrorífica, porqueria per tots costats. Realment ens va semblar una ciutat casi al nivell de Delhi. Arribada a la parada de busos, i caminar cap el barri on son tots els turistes, el Thamel. Allà ens vam dirigir a l’agència que suposadament ens estava tramitant els visats per el Tibet, vam emplenar els papers que necessitaven, evidentment no havien fet res encara, i vam marxar cap el hotel, ja que les condicions que ens deien no eren les pactades i el que remenava les cireres no hi era en aquell moment.

El nostre hotel era casi a les afores d’aquest barri, i realment era potser el pitjor dels hotels que havíem trobat. Segueixo pensant que un no pot deixar negociar a l’Alex. Vam deixar les coses i vam anar a passejar per els carrers del Thamel per a fer temps. Tots els venedors de la zona van amb el ganivet entre les dents, si no regatejes molt molt molt molt, ets home mort. Quan ja ens n’haviem afartat ens varem dirigir cap a l’agència.

Seré ràpid explicant l’episodi de l’agència, ja que l’Ali Babá ens va estafar de tal manera, que encara ens fa mal. Te una colla de 40 lladres que es dediquen a estafar als pobres turistes per tot el Nepal. Va estar a punt de d’encolomar-nos una visita per la ciutat de un dia per casi 100 euros. No explicaré el que ens va estafar per fer el viatge al Tibet, no cal.. Això si, ens va encolomar un treking de tres dies a les afores de Katmandú.

El dimarts 20 el teníem per nosaltres, l’Alex va decidir avançar-se i anar a esmorzar uns croissants de xocolata que feien a una pastisseria del Thamel. Quan vaig arribar jo, l’esqueleto ja havia invitat a quatre persones!!!! Ja només quedaven dos nois sorpresos de la bondat de l’Alex. Aquests l’hi havien explicat la història de que estaven a una acadèmia de dibuix, i evidentment, seguidament vam anar a veure la seva acadèmia, que era una simple botiga de dibuix, on el seu “mestre” va intentar encolomar-nos algun que altre dibuix a preus bastant exagerats. Per sort l’Alex no portava gaires diners i vam poder sortir sants i estalvis.

Vam visitar el temple dels micos i algun altre indret i aviat ens vam cansar.

El dimecres 21 tocava començar un treking de 3 dies. Varem pujar 22 kilómetres fins arribar a una espècie de “hotelets”, que suposadament tenien una vista espectacular però els núvols no ens permetien veure res. Llestos de nosaltres, l’Alex duia només uns pantalons curts i jo res d’abric i va començar a fer un fred increïble. El propietari de la pensió que vam escollir era molt simpàtic però tenia un riure que feia por, era realment entranyable. Vam conèixer a la pensió gent bastant curiosa, un danès que parlava castellà ja que havia estat un temps a sud Amèrica. També una parella d’holandesos i un italià que vivia a Goa però que parlava castellà ja que havia estat tres anys a Ibiza, feia por. Vist el fred que feia, i ho avorrit que ens semblava arribar a un lloc a les 13:00 i esperar a l’hora de sopar sense fer res, ja havíem decidit retallar un dia el nostre treking.

El sopar va estar bastant genuí, sense llum, amb espelmes, i amb la companyia de tots els que havíem conegut. Vam estar discutint qui tenia les muntanyes mes baixes. El danès deia que la muntanya mes gran de Dinamarca era la Sky Mountain, de vora 140 metres i els holandesos una muntanya de prop de 90 metres. També els nostres guies es dedicaven a menjar l’arròs amb les mans. Quan els van preguntar el perquè, van dir que tenia un gust diferent, i realment ens van treure de dubte...

Avui ens hem acomiadat dels nostres amics i del propietari de la pensió i hem començat a baixar cap algun lloc on poguéssim agafar un autocar o taxi cap a Katmandú. Ho pitjor ha estat l’autocar que hem agafat. Ens hem pujat a la teulada ja que estava ple. Mai havíem patit tant. Baixàvem per unes pendents bastant brutals i el nostre conductor ha decidit fer una carrera amb l’atuocar que ens seguia. L’Alex i jo ens volíem morir.

Finalment hem agafat un altre autocar que ens ha dut a Katmandú, encara tremolem.
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domingo, 18 de octubre de 2009

Rafting and Jungle elephant ride

Hellooo, Kermit the frog speaking from Sahoura (or something very similar).
We got some action these past 2 days, so here it is. Woke up early, that's not a big surprise, and went to get a bus that was going to take us to 'the rafting point'. We were quite exited about it since neither of us have ever tried rafting. The bus trip to the river was not much, just 3 trucks off the road on 'the good side', meaning by it, the mountain side, one of them, literally, stuck like a tree with its cabin on the ground growing roots. And of course a couple buses, have to say, one of them not so lucky as the rest, and went through the bad side, meaning by it, the river side, one hundred meters below the road level.

Nonetheless arrived safely to our destination. Wait for some others rafters to arrive and got a five minutes lesson how to manage on the boat and on the water. The river course we were going to do were 25Km, with rapids and quiet zones. Rapids are awesome, you got totally wet, and have to use your feet to cling to the boat, at the end they are sore, but when some rapid waves hit the boat is a lot of fun. An experience I totally recommend. : P- We even got a couple swims, one volunteer, and another courtesy of the rapids.

After having that much fun on the river we moved to Sahoura, a village placed in the north of Chitwan National Park. We did not get many things beside the dinner that night, but we were invited to join the locals (it is Dhilwar festival right now) on a dance party. Ferran could not avoid the occasion and went to enjoy it.

On the morning there was disposed a canoe trip. After the rapids, the canoe trip was a piece of cake, it was supposed to be some crocodiles around, but we did not manage to see any. Some times the canoe turned right or left, but nothing dangerous, since the water depth was less than 1 meter. After the canoe trip we went to see some of the headquarters locals use for breeding the elephants. Ferran noted that was a bit sad they had to be chained.

Walk back to the resort and had lunch. The meals here are simple but nice, and best of all, not much spicy!!! I'm having some problems with my left hand due an injury that is getting nasty, nothing to be worry about yet, although I hope it doest not go worse, so I did not enjoyed the water shower from the elephants trunk on their bath time. I have to say that this village is very touristic, I guess all the foreigners that come to Nepal have an obligated stop here.

On the noon, after lunch time we went on an elephant ride through the jungle, with our hopes put on spotting a tiger. We've been told that is a very rare occasion, and, sadly, we were not in a rare elephant ride. Anyhow, we were able to see some deers and rhinos, although I would have liked very much to see a wild tiger.

Of all the things we have done these past two days, the one I liked best was the rafting. Probably if we have seen a tiger, the elephant ride would have been on the top.

Time to say see you around, hope you keep the track with us!
Best wishes!
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viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009


El Nepal ens està agradant molt. La veritat es que sembla un país que no està tant explotat com un es pensa, per el que hem pogut veure a Pokhala. Es el paradís per a tota mena d’excursionistes, des de els passerells com nosaltres, que amb una mica de trekking som mes feliços que uns xínxols, fins als que els agrada pujar grans pics com pot ser l’Anapurna. Hi ha un munt d’hostals molt barats i no estan del tot malament. Si busques ajuda per fer qualsevol excursió, hi ha un munt d’agències que n’organitzen. Les vistes des de Pokhala son espectaculars pel matí, mes endavant es formen núvols just davant de les grans muntanyes fins a tapar-les del tot.

El nostre amic de la guest house, ens havia preparat un planning per als dies que volíem estar a Pokhara. El dimecres ens va dur a visitar la ciutat, unes espècies de coves que havia format el riu, el seu salt d’aigua i algunes curiositats mes. També vam anar a veure el temple de la ciutat, bastant petit però no prou per a la munió de guies que esperaven a l’Alex per a cobrar-li un bonic tour per la petita zona. Mes tard vam donar una volta amb una barqueta pel llac, i tot i la gran perícia de l’Alex, només vam estar apunt d’atropellar a tres barques conduïdes per dones bastant grans. Com que no ens agraden els museus, aviat havíem acabat. L’Alex va decidir apuntar-se a un salt de parapent i jo vaig anar a dinar. Mes tard vam decidir anar a provar sort al “estadi” de futbol,a veure si trobàvem algú amb qui jugar. No es va costar gaire apuntar-nos a un partidet que ja estava en dansa. Com sempre, l’equip on jugava l’esqueleto va sucumbir.

El dijous tocava fer un treking que sortia de Pokhala, per pujar fins la torre de SarangKot, on hi havia unes grans vistes, i mes tard, per anar a parar a Dhampus, una espècie de parada al mig de un camí bastant important per a la gent que puja a fer escalada, on es troben un bon munt d’hostals. Allà vam sopar i vist que no teníem distracció alguna, a dormir d’hora. Per el camí l’Alex havia fet les corresponents amigues, deien elles refugiades tibetanes, que ens havien deixat la butxaca foradada. Un sherpa contractat per el nostre amic de la guest house ens va acompanyar tot el camí.

Avui tocava tornar a Pokhala, i la veritat que a les 10:00 ja erem al punt on tocava dinar i hem dit al nostre sherpa que preferíem dinar a la ciutat. Es un dia festiu al Nepal, i els nens es situen pel camí i canten i ballen per aconseguir unes propines dels trapassers que passem. Evidentment, la nostre butxaca ha acabat foradada del tot.

Després de dinar hem llogat unes bicicletes que ens han permés anar a jugar a futbol amb els nostres friends, i mes tard a l’hotel a dutxar-nos i sopar. No hi ha iluminació a les carreteres, i l’Alex ha desaparegut un moment de la meva vista quan tornàvem amb les bicicletes. Quan he aconseguit trobar-lo, havia caigut a un sot i havia fet saltar la cadena de la bicicleta. Llest de ell, ha decidit intentar arreglar el problema amb la mà i a la foscor. No os dic com están les seves mans de maques.

Demà mes.
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martes, 13 de octubre de 2009

Another one bites the dust...Arrived Nepal

Hello ladies, gents and creatures! The lack of time or connection caused this waiting for the post, but here we are again, ready to rumble. Last time you know of us we were at Delhi and already bought our train ticket to Lucknow. Our train departed from New Delhi Railway Station at 6:15AM so we woke up at 5:00AM. The Main Bazaar street was starting to pulse with life and human activity, even at such unholy hours.

We were expecting a nightmare of a train, but at our surprise, we had an AC wgon, full of facilities (connector for recharging laptop, cell phone), breakfast included, mineralwater, in other words, the day could not start earlier and better. The only sad note was that passangers of this vagon class had high status, and seemed to us that some of them did their best to mess the work of the waiters.

We even spent our time playing a bit of Heroes, just to remember how it felt. The six hours passed pretty fast, so we were delighted. Also I started to feel bad, had stomache, I think, since we were going to Lucknow, was about time to ran out of luck, and pay for all the things I had been eating.

Lucknow has a 18th Century english colony-fort, known because around 3.000 persons went there to take refuge during the "Cipayo" Revelion. If I'm not wrong 2.000 of them died on it during a twelve month siege. We were thinking of visiting this after buying the train ticket to Gorakhpur, last indian city before entering Nepal, but my stomach decided for us. I was feeling so sick that, instead, we went a good hotel with a good restaurant with, probably, the best western toilet in the city, and spent the waiting time there. I ate plain rice, drank water.

Then it came...the train. I've never been in anything similar to it. First our ticket didn't have seat number, which was funny at the beginning, but not so much when we discovered that our one and a half dollar ticket were for 'General' class. We never entered the general class, crowds of standing persons filled the different wgons, we moved until we found a couple free sits, which we discovered they belong to sleepers class. Advice: buy all your train tickets with anticipation.We should have taken, there, at Delhi, our ticket from Lucknow to Gorakhpur if that was possible. Instead we had to stand on the corridors of the sleepers class vagons. That's not so bad "perse", but if you are feeling sick, and it's a six hours trip, can be kinda hellish. I was just hoping that my stomach doesn't play me a bad trick.

On the bright side of it, not counting all the insects that were falling from the roof and walls of the wagon, we met a couple of young indians, with whom I chated, answering and asking questions.

Gorakhpur was just a hotel and a night. On the morning we took a taxi with a couple of Denmark guys and three indians to Sunail, the border town. We made a stop on this 2 hours trip, and when we arrived Sunail a quasi-infinite line of trucks forced our ban to stop. We walked the last kilometer into Nepal, and starting to find an ATM to get some cash to pay a bus trip to Pokhara, one of the main cities in Nepal.

I still feel bad for the poor richshaw driver (bicycle one) who took us to the bank road to get the money. It's gonna be Delawhi festival here in Nepal, or something like that, and the ATM at the border did not have money. Was obvious that he barely was able to carry us and our backpacks, but he made and efford since we did not have money, and we gonna get it at our destination.

At the end got the money and went to eat something before getting a bus to Pokhara. Is not a difficult task, lots of busses go there from the border, and you can ask everyone for them. We also reserved a night in Pokhara and the guy told us that someone is gonna pick us when we arrive there and take us to the hotel, with no extra charges, we were amazed.

Our bus trip to Pokhara was great at the begining. Nepal natural beauty is under any kind of doubt. The mountains full of green, the rivers on the depths below, the sky of an deep blue. Everything stuns the visitor on it's first time. But of course, we could not have a pleasant, perfect trip, as many others before, this one has its own drawbacks.

First of all they are 8 hours, if you get into the bus at midday, you arrive at night, and you can't delight on the natural beauty of the surroundings. Second, thebus runs very close to the same very depths you are enjoying, making them not so delightful. And of course, our bus was the prized one. We made a stop to pick up some persons and then the motor decided was enough. Looked like the battery was low on power. Hmmmm. We waited for around ten minutes, while crossing cars and buses blew their horns at us. At the end, last option, the driver took off the hand break and we started to fall back on the mountain, then he happily got the motor back to life. Not needed to say that he did not stop the motor for the rest of the trip, even we stop at a fuel station to get some gas.

Arrived at Pokhara around 22:00PM, although we did not know. But someone entered the bus and pointed at us, and said, I'm here to pick you up. We stared at each other surprised again. Were we going to have a nice trip end? So it seemed. He took us to the hotel as we were promised. Freely. No extra charges. We walk 30 yards.

We ate dinner, my stomach, the champion, resisted the whole trip and I was congratulating it. Ferran asked for a coke, they opened one bottle for him and fill one glass. After he drank the second glass and they were removing the bottle again, he said "No, you can leave it here, I'll drink it all."

The room has no AC but it had attached toilet, and was no very dirty. The hotel manager also carries on a Nepal tour, so we have taken it. To get us a bit fond of him he invited us to an international (India Kerala college vs. Nepal team) of cricket. I do not have to say that we did not know anything of this sport before yesterday. He also told us that we were granted the honour of giving the prize to the winner..."Ein??? Hmm Uh! Oh1 ... 0.k." Feran went to the "stadium" at 8:30AM, since I was not feeling completely well I went at 12:00 in the noon.

The stadium was the ground yard of one of the major colleges here in Pokhara. It has no seats, of course, and the main, and ONLY, spectators of the match were us. I have to say that cricket is just a bit funny, but matches are so long that, after one day and nine hours, it gets boring, nevertheless, the players were very excited and shouted the whole match, so I guess they were getting a lot of fun.

At the end of it, 17:0PM more or less, as we were promised, with the Principle of the college we got the honour of giving the prizes to the winner. In fact, there were two cups, one for the winner and one for the runner (second place), so everyone got his prize. The Nepal team won, but that is reasonable, since Kerala is at four bus days to the south, and I bet the indian team didn't feel at their best form.

We took some pictures and went back to the hotel. Tomorrow, that is today, we were gonna get a guided tour around the city, and I hope we also play soccer with the hotel manager, he told us he will arrange a match for us.

We'll see.
Best wishes.
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sábado, 10 de octubre de 2009

La experiència d'agafar un autocar de Quetta a Lahore, es quelcom que un no es pot perdre. Això si es passar por de veritat. Amb la por entre les cames, havíem arribat a la gran ciutat de Lahore sense ganes de fer res mes que buscar un hotel, regatejar el mínim, l'Alex sembla que ja ha aprés a com a mínim, no pagar mes del que ens demanen, i anar a sopar. Un hotel bastant fastigós, per cert i un restaurant, que l'amic esqueleto va anomenar pijo i que ho mes interessant que tenia eren els petits insectes que pujaven a saludar-te a la taula

Era divendres matí, i ens disposávem a manjar-nos Lahore. Vam anar cap a l'estació de tren, amb la idea d'agafar un bitllet per a creuar la frontera per la nit, i aprofitar tot el dia per a veure Lahore. No se com, vam acabar agfant un tuktuk que ens portava a veure uns jardins dels que semblaven estar molt orgullosos i després ens portava a la frontera. En una hora ens trobavem a la frontera, feiem unes fotos, i ja erem a l'altre costat.

A l'altre costat ens oferien un taxi per anar a Amritsar per 500 inr, preu oficial. Sense voler, ja havíen baixat a la meitat i nosaltres ja erem de camí cap a la ciutat del Golden Temple. Allà, vam anar a l'estació per trobar algun bitllet que ens apropés al Nepal, però sembla que en dos dies no trobariem cap bitllet. Corrents cap al Golden Temple, visita fugaç i corrent cap a la bus station.

A la bus station, després de pagar el extra corresponent, vam aconseguir per primer cop places d'honor. Segona fila, la primera només tenia un seient, i amb molt d'espai per estirar les cames, de fet haviem pagat prou per això i mes. L'Alex es va dedicar a sobornar el conductor i el seu secretari amb festucs per tal d'assegurar-nos que ningú ens molestava. De fet el mateix secretari ens va voler fer fora del nostre lloc, però amb un català perfecte l'hi vaig dir estàvem de luxe i teniem molt bones vistes, ens va deixar estar.

A tot això cal mencionar la gran habilitat de l'Alex de veure guineus a tots llocs quan anem amb autobús. Quan veiem passar un animal de quatre potes, de l'altura de un gos, amb unes orelles com les de un gos, una cua semblant a la de un gos, treient la llengua com faria un gos, i que quan ha travessat la carretera corrent com un gos, para i es rasca les pusses com un gos, l'Alex em comunica que ha vist creuar un guineu la carretera. Jo callo i segueixo disfrutant de la fauna local.

Un cop arribats a Delhi, a les 5 am, destrossats i sense saber on caure, ens vam dirigir a la estació de tren per a veure l'horari de les oficines. Obrien a les 8, així que corrent cap el primer hotel que trobéssim a dormir. La tele no funcionava, la cadena no funcionava, l'aigua calenta no funcionava, em sembla recordar que no hi havia mosquits.

Eren les 12 am, quan hem sortit de l'hotel cap a l'estació, algun amic ens ha indicat que no anàvem al lloc correcte, aquest truc ja el coneixiem de l'últim cop, i hem comprat bitllets cap a Luknow, ho més proper a Nepal que hem trobat.

Un cop tota la feina feta, hem anat a veure un lloc que vam intentar veure l'últim cop, però que els nostres companys de viatge no ens van permetre, tot i la nostre insistència, El Templo del Loto. La veritat es que valia la pena, no entenem com no vam venir l'últim cop, segurament la Marta no va voler venir-hi.

A sopar i dormir, que demà toca matinar, i amb sort, entrem al Nepal.
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From Quetta to Lahore

Woke up kinda late next morning, we felt rested so decided to check what we could see in Quetta. Asked at the reception desk but seems that the only two things they understood were we were checking out and that we need a car to see the city and the surroundings. Oh well! After paying a 5 star hotel a bit more of money waste would not be a sacrilege. We were going to make the tour with a driver and a translator, although we had specified we wanted an English speaking driver. First stop was at the bank to get some cash. Then we went to see the bazaar, although the name of market streets suited better. The city core was full of shops of different kinds of goodies. From electronics to dry fruits stands. But, truth to be told, couldn’t compare to Istanbul Great Bazaar or Isfahan one. After that we moved to the protestant and cantt area. There we saw a hospital and then moved to the protestant school of St. Mary.

One thing we can point about the religion status of the city is that seems the non fanatic members of the different religions coexist in very good terms, catholic, muslims, protestants. I also have to say that I enjoyed very much our visit to St. Mary. Being presented as a future teacher the principle allowed me to visit some classrooms and even participate in 9th degree Social’s one. At the beginning I didn’t feel very comfortable, being an outsider and feeling like a disturbance, but in few minutes got into the class and, sadly, got to say farewell to the Pakistani students, who were full of curiosity and questions about Spanish socials. We’ve been told by the present principle that the previous one had been teacher to governors and major politicians. We also were informed about more disturbing things which I prefer to relate on person, but my impression about that school was that is a wonderful place.

After that we visited a catholic school and church and then crossed the cantt area. This area is where soldiers rest and got educated. It’s separated from the citizens area by some barricades and such. Looks like the situation in Quetta, military talking, is a bit tense, we even saw a fighter flying over our heads while we were at St. Mary’s.

By the time we left the city for going check the surroundings we already knew the smart guy was the driver, not the translator. Knowing this, though, didn’t play at our advantage at the end, but you’ll see what I mean later. We visited some natural spring, where the government had a trout repopulation program going on, were offered rest for one night by a couple of muslims who wanted to show us their hospitality, and the Hanna lake. The awesome, outstanding, perilous Hanna lake. If we had to believe our translator, many persons have died at that lake swallowed due the plant under the water’s surface. Ferri and myself couldn’t completely hide a face of disbelieve, since it seemed that one can walk and keep his head out of the water on that half dry lake. The thing that I liked much of our visit there was the pass between the mountains that you can find behind the dump. I also have to tell that most of the perdurable constructions here in Pakistan seem to date out of when English were around. At least, when the translator was pointing to some wall or building not partially erased by time, he used to say “made by the English”.

After our tour, and near 5 p.m. we went lunch something and then back to the hotel for paying the car rental. There we found our beloved friend whom we gave 10dollars the day we arrived, who told us two or three times that we should have told him we were leaving so he could arrange for us a train ticket to Lahore, that bus was a hell and train was so much better in comparison…one advice, never turn your back on advices given by someone who likes you or your money. We were going to take a bus, and as you might see, it proved our beloved friend probably had reason and wanted us well. Anyway, we were leaving Quetta that same evening so we hurried to check train ticket status (they only leave to Lahore in the morning, by daylight, to prevent the trains being attacked crossing the mountain surrounding the city), and then went ahead to the bus station…Damn it! One bus left to a city between Quetta and Lahore 15 minutes ago…ok…climb to the taxi again. Try to catch the bus. Evade some collisions with vehicles bigger than yours. Histerically laugh at a truck flashing you lights and warning you that it will not stop. Use the car horn to scare away the bicycles, the rickshaws, and some other smaller vehicles. Desperately horn when a bus is pressing while you are overtaking it and something big is coming forward.

At the end we caught the bus. We paid some extra to Mr. Gollum (was named Golam or something like that, but after he ripped us off, I do not feel bad by calling him that) and some more to the translator. At the end, they outsmarted us, but as I begin to realize, that’s not a difficult task. By that time, as the Clint Eastwood movie name, we could have said who were the good, the bad and the ugly of the car, or what it come to be the same, the smart (translator), the smarter (the driver), the dumb (any of us could have fit).

The night ride on the bus was not so bad, if we obvious the sharp black fearsome deeps beside the tiny and narrow road crossing the mountains that surrounds Quetta. The road, or so named, most of the time, is a stone growing dusty trail way. We wondered how many buses lie on the depths below us. Of course, as Ferran says, our vehicle in use is the one which overtakes most in the whole road, and safety rules are for being ignored completely, the narrowest of the bridges is the perfect place to rush over a huge truck while a bus comes the opposite direction blowing its horn and flashing lights like the devil himself driving it.

We made a stop to get some forces, rest the legs, eat dinner whoever wanted to do so, replace a wrong wheel, hmmm did I say replace a wrong wheel? Yea, think so. Pray some prayers for not losing the wheel on a bad curve. On the good side, one of the barmen at the cantina we stop offered me tea, coffee, and brought a nice coffee cup after I declined all. Had some nice chat with them, but short, as we got to move on into the night.

At this point I have to say we were nearly out of cash after paying the smart and the smarter guys. We had to change buses at the middle of our way to Lahore and finish our trip on a second bus. Also I would like to add that a twelve hour maniac suicidal night trip let your nerves a bit tense. But we didn’t imagine what was still to come upon us. A nice guy from our first bus leaded us to another small one. The driver asked six hundred and some rupies for the trip to Lahore, more than we had, at the end the nice guy took our money, placed on driver’s hand and pushed us into the bus.

The bus was tiny, old and dirty, and I mean Dirty, not dirty. It was clear from the beginning that the floor was being used to throw all the garbage in it, from human fluids to banana “skins”. But we did not yet know what was going to befall to us, because we were few persons on it, as I said, yet. By the noon the bus was full, and we had to fight with the locals for some space. Our knees were badly sore because the space between chair rows was minuscule. And worst thing of all. It was not an express car. We probably stop more than thirty times in our way to Lahore. Most of them to allow some fruit sellers, drink sellers, book sellers (yea, I just said book sellers) in it. The whole trip was supposed to last six hours top, they were thirteen hellish hours at the end. Arrived Lahore late at night, found a bank withdrawal machine, ate some dinner and looked for a dirty hotel that suit with the bus-day. Not bad. A bit tiresome, but not bad.

Best wishes, including us.
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