Kevin Swains
Travel Website
This is Kev's Travel Blog

To Peshawar

Sorry but no photos of this as my camera has been lost/stolen!

Crossed the Wagah border into Pakistan. It's an amazing crossing point being clean, quiet, very green and is only open to foreign passport holders so passage is speedy.
I was a little aprehensive entering Pakistan with all the negative press coverage that keeps getting bashed into my head in Australia but all this was soon forgot on the 27km ride into Lahore. The reception from the locals was per usual.
Lahore was hot and polluted. Like Amritsar it was begging for the monsson to clear to skies.
My first impressions of Pakistan....

  • It appears to be more orderly than India. The roads have markings on them and have neat kerbs simular to Europe. The drivers use their horns a lot less and generally seem not wanting to commit suicide at every turn!
  • Pakistan has a more open trade policy than India. Goods in the streets are of a much higher quality and western goods are every where.
  • The locals are much taller than the Indians. Maybe this is because they have a high meat content in their diet?
  • There are fewer women on the street and those who are are generally quite heavily covered but not as bad as the full on Afgani type Burqa outfits.
  • There are literally no women in the restaurants. The are all at home doing as there husbands tell them while the husbands swan about enjoying themselves!
  • The best bit....thay have western style supermarkets full of all the usual brands from back home and a splurge is often necessary.

Jumped on the bus for the 350km journey to Islamabad (the capitol). The cities are linked with a 3 lane motoryway as good as any in Europe and is the pride of Pakistan.
Arrived in Islamabad and settled down (well sort of) in my usual haunt of the tourist camp. It's a cool little green haven in the middle of a big city but unfortunately it's now incredibly run down and I think I was the last one to clean the dorm out 4yrs ago. Not that there are any beds in these dorms, it's simply a bare concrete floor and now even the electric doesn't work so I have to sleep outside under my mossie net to keep cool. It's actually quite pleasant but the state of the tourist camp is typical of much of Islamabad.
Islamabad is a designed city simular to that of Canberra but it suffers from a severe lack of maintenance and is slowly getting worse with missing manhole covers waiting to gobble up sleepy padestrians. That said it has a pleasant atmosphere very different to that of other major cities in Pakistan.

Left Islamabad for the bustling city of Rawalpindi 20km away. It's damn hot and I can't believe how much I drink.
I have a mosy around the crowded bazzars, buy a new tyre and head off the next day towards
I hit the tarmac on GT road. This is the Grand Trunk road origionaly built by the British linking
Kabul to Calcutta. It's a good dual carraigeway but I can't believe the heat. Fortunately there are heaps of European style petrol stations and they all have water chiller machines so I keep ducking into these to cool off and filter the water for drinking. 
With 16km to goto my planned stop of Attock I suddenly become drained and my speed plummits. My problem is I took the wrong turn and now I'm heading through a military area with zero shops or watering points. I take cover in the bus shelters (on the male side of course) and feel very dizzy and faint.
 I suffer badly but worse awaits!

I wake early to avoid the heat and set a good pace on the flat roads. I fill my face constantly with water, tea and soft drinks and stop all the time for shade, rest and food. I have over 100km to do and I want to avoid the problems of yesterday!
I'm enjoying the ride and the locals are great and always offer me a seat when I stop for a rest. It's not a very scenic run simply being a dual carraigeway with lots of trucks and busses. I don't even stop for any photos.
As I approach
Peshawar in the afternoon I again begin to suddenly suffer. I'm well hydrated...I think anyway. To this point I've had 7litres of water, 5 cups of tea and 6 soft drinks. But the road is now a perfect east-west run and the sun is following me everywhere. The signs say 7km to go and I reckon on 30mins to the guesthouse....big wrongy there!
1.5hr later I'm still going, very slowly and suffering horrendously. I stop often and drink more and sit under fans to keep cool and set off again. As I hit
Peshawar I begin to loose sensation in my hands and search desperately for a drink shop. I duck in quickly into a bakery but can barely manage to stand up. I've actually gone in the back door by mistake but the owner sees my suffering and sits me on the chair. I was ready to faint without the chair.
My hands are now "spaz like". I have little control of them. My fingers are straight and all five pinkies are contracted into the centre of my hand. My wrists are also contracted backwards but there is no pain. I manage to open them just enough to grab a bottle of Pepsi but struggle to hold it even with two hands. I must look like a complete twat sat there with spazzy hands, it was rather amusing even to myself!
Then the feeling hits my legs and I lower my head immediately to help the blood flow.
I sit for a long while before I feel half human again and I get a free piece of cake to boot!
I literally crawl into Pesharwar and dive into the shower and drink more water. Over 10 litres of water in one day, 8 soft drinks and 6 cups of tea and I still feel dry!