I did a ‘Dan’ today!
I left the hotel this morning to try and get cash from an ATM without success and upon my return the police were there and insisted they guide us out of the city. I wasn’t happy about this at all and assumed the hotel owner informed them we were there! Thanks! Heiko and Garth seemed happy with this arrangement but I thought I was free to continue travelling ‘Dan style’ riding where I want, when I want and doing what I want. They didn’t just take us out of town they continued following us and I wasn’t happy!
Bullshit. I want to be free and I don’t want armed guards and I did a ‘Dan’, I let them know I didn’t want them to come along with me and they heard my words and must have seen it in my expressions! I expressed my dissatisfaction many times and whilst Heiko and Garth were comfortable with the situation I did my best to annoy and frustrate the guards by racing off in front of them and losing them. I’m sure they thought ‘bloody English man’.
Later in the day having been a pain in the arse to all the police and probably Garth and Heiko too I decided now to see the comedy in the situation! Anger turned into a monty python period.
Our intention was to stay with a friend who contacted me through another Facebook friend and offered us his house about 150km north but the police had other ideas! We stopped near to the house and the following 45 minutes were ridiculous, we had to wait around for ages whilst they contacted a person higher up in command and he first said that we can’t stay with my friend so we rode off and then he said yes so we returned to go there and then no again! Ridiculous! We were ordered to follow the police and rode for another 30 minutes to a town where we pulled up outside a doctors practice and were told to go inside.
The police intentions may be good but the way they execute it is not, it seems they have a policy but have not thought about the detail. Had someone stopped and explained to us exactly what was happening each day and discussed with us our plans and agreed where we would stay in the night everyone would have had a better time.
The house was Dr Khurram Munir who was contacted just 15 minutes before we arrived by his cousin (who was the friend who’s house we were going to stay in) asking if we could stay. Dr Khurram was a great host and only wanted to do his best to help us with our travels. He had a magnificent house and garden and made us feel very welcome, a bed for the night, clean towels…
I felt very comfortable inside the high walled garden with the gates locked but didn’t want to be told I had to stay there.
The police were camped outside the house and took our passports to get copies of them.
Dr Khurram discussed the situation as he understood it and they believe (police, officials, Dr Hhurram etc) by guiding us through Pakistan they are ensuring our safe passage and that they are helping us to enjoy our stay. He said we are being treated as VIP’s that’s what all of the fuss is about and that they believe Pakistan gets such a bad press by the international media they don’t want any more.
It’s hard to argue with someone that believes they are trying to take care of you and protect you, but I did and will continue as long as they constrict my movement. I believe to question and understand is a basic human right.
I wanted to go to the ATM in the evening but was told I couldn’t, I’m a prisoner in Dr Hhurram’s house.
As it’s Ramadan we waited until 7.30 for food and it was great to sit, eat and talk with family and friends. The 10 police guards were invited to eat dinner but they had to eat in the garden whilst we ate at the dinning table. Mrs Hhurram is a great cook.
I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will have a guide for days to come, I just hope it ends soon and I can rationalise their decision to restrict me.
I am travelling to experience people, places and cultures, nobody said I would enjoy all of my experiences.