I woke on the hotel roof at 5.45 just as the sun was rising, the chickens and dogs wanted the world to know morning was breaking! It was beautiful and cool and as I looked out over the town only a few people were out, it felt like the calm before the storm. Yesterday it was a busy desert town.
We were told that although we were rushed into the secure hotel many people now know we are about and as we are only half way through Balochistan today would be more dangerous riding the last 300km to Quetta.
We have had armed guards with their Kalashnikov’s the whole way through and today will be no different. Its reassuring.
Lauranne told the French embassy she was traveling through Balochistan and over the last two days they phoned her about 15 times and mailed her many times trying to discourage her from traveling this route, would the British embassy have cared about my welfare so much?
We left following the military guards again and stopped to get petrol from a roadside guy who sold us petrol in plastic cans. The 9 1/2 hour ride was so hard today on the awful road, yesterday we must have had 100km of bad road and the same today, my bike has been shaken and bashed so much I must do an overhaul soon. There were sand dunes 2/3rds of the way across the road at one point and amongst the dry desert and dark jagged mountains I saw camels at an oasis then for about 50km there was irrigated farm land with crops growing. It was so hard going that Javier’s rear suspension broke on his car and he had two punctures, we rode up a mountain and on a switchback a lorry had tipped over and it’s load of oil was spread 100 metres down the road, how I didn’t slip on the bike I don’t know.
The 4WD’s and guards complete with Kalashnikovs changed 10 – 15 times so progress was slow, I felt they were essential as I had a feeling there was danger around us at times.
I have been to many cities in the world but I’ve never arrived in the way we did in Quetta, I assumed the last change of guards on the outskirts of the city was the last but for the next 30 minutes we were escorted through this crazy dry city and we had another 3 or 4 change of guards, they raced through the city telling all other road users to get out of the way and when they changed guards they just stopped on the road and there seemed to be about 10 further guards with guns stopping the traffic and getting us on our way again. I’ve never seen so many rifles! They escorted us to our hotel and shut the massive gates behind us, we cannot leave as it’s so dangerous outside.
At 11.00pm more police turned up, took copies of all of our passports and told us we have to stay at the hotel until Tuesday when we can get the paperwork to leave Quetta, how crazy! That’s 3 days in the hotel without going out!
At 11.30 the big police chief turned up.
What a crazy day,