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The Long Way Home

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hello again everyone,

We didn't quite make it to Koh Samui.

We enjoyed our stay in Krabi staying at Richard's house/farm (thanks again mate, enjoy the fridge full of beer) with his two lovely dogs Coffee and Cookie and we caught up with the gang at Europa Cafe (Leonardo DiCaprio ate there while filming The Beach). We kayaked through mangrove forests and into volcanic caves and rode elephants and just enjoyed the break in general at Krabi.

We were eating at a restaurant called Carnivores in Krabi (a place devoted to the meat eaters obviously) where we met Trevor, he spotted us riding past and was amazed to see the UK plates on the bikes. He came over and we chatted about our trip. The conversation could have carried on over two nights, but alas he and his wife were leaving the next day, and they had just finished their dinner. After he left, he returned ten minutes later with a copy of The Long Way Down, Ewan McGreggor and Charley Boorman's latest exploits riding through Africa. What a lovely gesture, we are loving reading it, and we hope to pass it on again to another enthusiast some day. It has given us some ideas on how to write our book at the end of our journey, The Long Way Home (come on, how many of you spotted that at the top of the blog page huh?)

We left Krabi and headed for Phucket where we stayed for a week at Kata Beach (Patong Beach was a million times worse than when Steve was there 20 years ago). Phucket was OK, but we weren't upset to leave to get to Bangkok. One highlight was a place on the way to Nua Hin beach at the southern end of Phucket called The Breakfast Hut. This place served proper meat pies and as it was run by a Brit, served a delightful full English breakfast complete with Cumberland sausages. He was able to give us a contact for a fishing/boat trip, a Canadian called Jerry. We went out on the boat, just after having one of the delicious big breakfasts. The sea was rather rough and Liz was sick! The up side of this trip was a lovely unexpected snorkel in a very secluded area with many colourful fish.

We rode up the west coast of Thailand to the Burma border and straddled the border to the east cost to the Gulf of Thailand where we stopped at Chumphon for three nights then up to Hua Hin for two nights. We then rode to Kanchanaburi to where the bridge on the River Kwai is.

On the way to Kanchanaburi, Steve spotted a huge diesel slick on the road and was in the process of pointing it out and saying to Liz over the intercom to be careful but saw her bike on its side sliding along the highway. He saw her standing before he got off his bike with a local car behind her shielding her from traffic and hazard lights flashing. We got the bike picked up, and apart from a sore right hip and shoulder, the only injury was a small graze beneath her elbow. Steve patched her up on the side of the road (the first time we have needed the first aid kit for ourselves) and after sorting the bike out we were away again. Very gingerly.

We arrived at the guest house at Kanchanaburi (The Oriental Kwai Resort) which is run by a dutch/thai couple who have got running this place down to a fine art. It is just what weary travellers need. While at Kanchanaburi, we visited the bridge (of course) and Hellfire Pass, a series of cuttings and bridge ways along the Burma Railway where the Aussies were mostly involved.

We left Kanchanaburi and rode to Bangkok. We rode there on a Sunday in the hope that the traffic wouldn't be as bad, and it was a little better. The roads were still filthy with oil and diesel, if a road was this bad in the UK or Australia they would close it down until it was cleared of oil. We had a route planned which involved some expressway riding in Bangkok, but when we got to the entrance of the expressway, we were told we weren't allowed on them, panic set in as we realised we now didn't know how to get to the hotel. We did make it though, but it involved a bit more stopping and figuring out which way to go etc.

We organised for our bikes to be shipped to Australia, and that is an experience we'll tell you about later, but as we speak they are on the ship sailing for Brisbane. We saw the standard tourist things such as The Grand Palace and the various Wats - all very stunning.

We caught a train up to Chiang Mai where we are now. We'll be catching up with Stuart to say our fond farewells and until next times, then we'll be training it back to Bangkok to fly out of Thailand to Cairns. We'll be hiring a car to drive down to Brisbane where we will be reunited with our bikes to ride down the coast to Sydney and then Melbourne.

We'll next update you from Cairns and then keep you all updated on our way down south.

We miss you all and can't wait to see you again soon.

Liz and Steve

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sawadee krup everyone from Krabi in Thailand.

We have been in Krabi for four days now, and are staying at the house of a fellow we met on the east coast of Malaysia, Richard.

We left Penang and rode up through the Malay/Thai border and headed straight for Songkhla on the east coast of the Thai peninsular. Songkhla is a busy little town with some Portugese influence in the architecture, the town is situated on a spit that separates a huge lake and the Gulf of Thailand.

After one night in Songkhla we had a long ride to Krabi, the roads are good, but not quite as good as Malaysian roads. The drivers are a bit more like Indian drivers too, fortunately we're used to them.

The ride to Krabi was a lot longer than we expected (the map we have for Thailand has inaccurate mileage information) but we arrived before it got dark. We had no map of Krabi, so instantly became disorientated, but found our way to a hotel to stay at until we met up with Richard's friends to arrange finding his house (more of a farm really).

We'll be staying in and around Krabi for a little while doing day trips to islands and other local sights before heading further north to Ko Samui and up to Bangkok.

We may ride further north to Chiang Mai but we haven't decided fully yet, the journey is getting quite tiring now and we are keen to finish, but we have been told that it is lovely up north of Thailand, so we'll see.

The next blog will be from Ko Samui.

See you all soon.

Liz and Steve

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Selamat Datang again from Malaysia,

We are now at Penang where we are stopping for a little while. We have a few admin things to organise before shipping our bikes to Australia.

We left Malacca and headed for Pekan and Cherating on the East coast of Malaysia as neither of us had been to the East cost before. Pekan was a quiet little town (too quiet actually) and the people there were very friendly. Cherating was a bit nicer and had a lovely beach. We met two fab guys at the hotel, Oliver and Richard, they do installation work for oil companies from huge crane vessels. Richard kindly offered his house in Krabbi in Thailand to us while we are there so we'll be dropping in on our way up North.

After Cherating, we headed for the Taman Negara National Park and stayed just over the river from the park HQ. We had a short day trip in the park which included a jungle canopy walk, a series of suspended cable walkways high above the jungle, very cool stuff.

We then headed for Fraser's Hill and stayed at Ye Old Smokehouse, a mock tudor style hotel which is quintessentially English. A lovely quiet and cool place is Fraser's Hill, and less than 100KM from Kuala Lumpur. We had planned to go to the Cameron Highlands on our way to Penang, but the guidebooks suggest that it is now quite developed, and we felt that after beautiful Fraser's Hill, we'd be a little disappointed, so we rode straight to Penang instead.

The ride to Penang was quite long, but the expressway made for a quick and easy ride. We stopped for a little bit to let a tropical downpour to clear as our visors were fogging up, we didn't have to wait for long. While we stopped we met a Malaysian on a Honda Goldwing.

We stayed at the Eastern and Oriental hotel at Penang for the first three nights, but we moved to a different hotel as the E&O is a bit pricey. But we had to stay there for at least a little while to experience the old colonial luxury there. Picture the porters wearing tropical long shorts and pith helmets and you have an idea of how colonial the O&E is.

We are planning to depart Penang on Wednesday all things going well, and heading for Krabbi in Thailand.

We'll update you all next from Thailand.

We miss you all.

Liz and Steve.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Selamat Datang everyone,

We are very pleased to be in Malaysia now after a rather disappointing India.

Liz and I spent a couple of weeks in Sarawak (a Malay state on Borneo island) to just chill out and relax while our bikes were being shipped to Singapore from India. What a drama THAT was, but that is a long story that I am sure you will all hear about when we chat to you eventually.

While in Sarawak Steve became ill again, another aftershock of the virus that struck him in Turkey. A visit from a doctor did nothing, so we visited a specialist who prescribed some stronger medicine, and within two days Steve was just fine.

We visited an Orang Utan sanctuary there, a rather scary visit. We were guided up a path to the feeding area to watch the feeding show, but the largest of the males (Ritchie) was particularly angry that day. It was made known that he and another rather large male were fighting over a female. Ritchie was breaking bits of wood at the construction site for the feeding show viewing platform and was edging closer and closer to all in the group. It was firmly suggested that we back well away, which we did (apart from a small group of Japanese tourists snapping away) back to safety. There are signs at the park that state that you should not go within 5 meters of an Orang Utan, but they don't say what to do if they come within 5 meters of you. As we were strolling up to the feeding area, a mother Orang Utan with a small infant climbed down from a tree and strolled past Liz and I along the path at touching distance. A very surreal experience. She looked up at us and just kept walking while Liz and I stood very still.

Steve had some traditional Iban tattoos done in Kuching (Borneo Head Hunters Tattoo Studio for those who are interested) made in the traditional way using two sticks. One with the needle and the other to tap the needle stick. He also had some traditional Iban designs added to the existing tattoo on his back, and it looks just brilliant. The proprietor at Borneo Head Hunters Studio is Ernesto, an Iban, who does work by appointment only and really takes pride in what he does and the relationship that was established with him will continue for ever. We are already planning to return for the tattoo convention in Sarawak in 2009 which he organises.

We also visited an Iban longhouse in Sarawak, the Iban are native Borneo Malays who are traditionally head hunters. We met two bonafide head hunters (the Iban don't practise it anymore, but the original head hunters can be identified by dots tattooed on there hands) who were particularly impressed with Steve's tattoos. The chief of one of the longhouses could not take his eyes off the Ned Kelly tattoo on Steve's arm.

Rice wine is presented to VIP visitors to the longhouses, and as we came bearing gifts and Steve's tattoo work impressing the tribal elders, we were invited to share a bottle of wine. The custom is to hold the glass toasting all present with a loud HOO HAA three times and down the glass in a single swallow. It really makes your mouth tingle. Steve tried his hand at blow darting and was quite a marksman. Even the tricky two dart blowing where you grip one dart in the pipe with your teeth and blow extra hard to blow the forward dart then blowing the rear dart in one breath firing two darts in succession.

We were invited to a young lady's family home for Open House day as part of the end celebrations of Ramadan (or Hari Raya) which was lovely.

We flew to Kuala Lumpur to watch the qualifying and main race of the Moto GP. All very exciting but the actual race being a bit predictable and bland. We got Valentino Rossi's autograph and photo in the paddock area which was a bit of a coup.

On the Monday after the weekend racing, we caught a bus down to Singapore and on the Tuesday went to the bike shop where our bikes had been delivered. We uncrated our bikes and organised new tyres and a check-up on them. It was great to see the bikes again after such a long time. A few days later after organising Thai visas and a bit of sightseeing (Changi Prison Museum as Steve's Grandfather was interned there during the war) we arranged for the bikes to be carried on a truck to the mid-point of the causeway connecting Singapore and Malaysia. We did this as the process of organising the required permits and insurance etc. to ride the bikes to the border is such a bureaucratic nightmare.

We unloaded the bikes from the truck on the causeway and rode on through the Malaysian immigration point and on to Melaka where we are now. After all the preparation of the bikes in Singapore and the long days there, we decided to relax for a few days here.

Steve took the relaxing to another level when he and Stuart (we are still with him for the moment) drank far too much one evening at a street cafe between two entertainers at competing venues. They took it in turns for their sets, and Stuart and Steve were singing and we all really enjoyed the evening.

We ride over to the state of Pahang on the East cost tomorrow for a few days before riding back toward the West cast via the Tamar Negar National Park and Fraser's Hill and then up to the Cameron Highlands before heading for Penang, Langkawi and onto Thailand.

Our next update should be from Penang if not sooner.

We are downloading the India photos today but the captions will take a little while, but you can see them in the meantime. We'll update the Malaysian photos in Penang (you will be able to see a video of Steve getting the traditional tattoos done).

We hope you are all well.

We are getting more and more excited about reaching Melbourne, it must be because we are getting closer and closer.

Thinking of you all.

Liz and Steve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Namaste everyone,

Sorry it has taken so long to post another blog, but India has been a frantic place. But now that we are in complete chill mode in Goa, we have the time to post.

The last blog entry was done in McLeod Ganj which is a lovely place. Not quite the tranquil place we were expecting and quite commercialised, but still quite nice.

We left McLeod Ganj after two weeks of cooking classes, turning the prayer wheels, visiting the Tibet museum and local arts and crafts. We headed for Manali which is North West of McLeod Ganj and a day and a half drive, so we stopped for the night in Mandi. Not much to say about Mandi except not to include it on any of your itineraries.

Manali was nice though, very cool with snow and glacier melt fed rivers (the river Beas being the most famous in the area) which made for good fishing. Plenty of Rainbow Trout in there.
We spent a week in Manali before moving a little further up to Old Manali where we stayed for a further week. Unfortunately Steve had another visit from the virus that knocked him for six in Turkey and was bed ridden for a few days. He was able to get out of bed for Liz's Birthday dinner with Stuart. Stuart had organised a birthday cake for Liz for the morning of her Birthday (Steve couldn't get out of bed at all the day before her Birthday, so Stuart was a lifesaver with organising the Birthday festivities). We had Liz's Birthday dinner at probably the best restaurant in Old Manali that make the best pizzas and pasta. Stuart and we separated at Old Manali as he was riding further North into Kashmir and Leh to meet up with a white water rafting expedition. We will meet up again back in Amritsar.

After Old Manali we went to Shimla, the capital city of the state, where after being quite disappointed with the standard of the hotels for the price settled for the Radisson Jass Hotel. We spent three weeks in Shimla, but this was not without its dramas. On the second day there after a monsoonal downpour, we were walking down some steps at the hotel and Liz slipped over landing on her backside, but her left leg came across banging her knee on the edge of the step. After treating it as a sprain and Steve having to help her to the loo and shower, she was able to put a bit of weight on it and hobble around. After a few days we were concerned that there was no real improvement so contacted a doctor who suggested physio. He recommended a good one and we spent every afternoon getting ultrasound therapy on her knee for a sprained medial cruciate ligament.

Steve was able to enjoy two games of golf in Shimla. The course is set on natural topography - quite hilly but beautiful. Lord Curzon developed the course over 100 years ago and it is the highest course in India, maybe the world. It does have the most challenging holes of anywhere - not being able to see the flag at tee off, being told by the caddie to aim between two trees and hope for the best! Steve was able to par two holes though, so pretty good going.

The same monsoonal downpour also cut us off from the outside world for a while too, the roads up to Shimla (Shimla is at 2,500 Meters above sea level) were blocked with more landslides than you could count and the only rail line had around one third of the track either wiped out or effected by landslides. One station had even completely disappeared down the mountain.

Liz's knee improved more and more each day and she was OK enough to venture on. We had hoped to catch the narrow gauge (Toy) Train down from Shimla to Kalka to catch the express to Delhi, but the lack of track after the monsoon cloudburst put an end to that idea, so with the roads newly opened we were able to get a car down to Kalka. We were pleasantly surprised by the train service, we booked First Class Air conditioned and thought that would be just for the seat, but the price of the ticket (which cost less than a daily travel card for the London Underground) included a litre bottle of mineral water, newspapers, a hot meal and tea, coffee and juice. The train was on time and arrived when it was meant to.

Getting off the train in Delhi was frantic, everyone scrabbling to get you in their taxi, but we had been previously advised to go directly to the pre-paid taxi office where you pay in advance for a taxi to your destination. This eliminates the risk of being ripped-off or worse, but it doesn't stop touts from trying.

The hotel in Delhi was average, but that didn't matter, we weren't sitting still in Delhi. The next day we caught the Agra express to see the Taj Mahal which is truly a wonderful sight. Any photographs you see of it really doesn't do it any justice. You absolutely need to see it in person to appreciate it. After our visit to the Taj Mahal, we visited the Red Fort in Agra (just a little further down river from the Taj) which is quite impressive. We then had lunch at the Sheraton Hotel and eventually returning to Delhi later that evening.

We caught the train to Amritsar to return to Mrs. Bandhari's to meet up with Stuart who would arrive in a couple of days and to be reunited with our bikes. We were to learn that the original Mrs. Bandhari had passed away the Sunday prior to our arrival having reached her 101st Birthday earlier in the year.

The day after we arrived in Amritsar Stuart arrived having had a better ride back than he expected. It was good to catch up again. We made our plans to ride to Delhi in order to have the bikes shipped to Singapore and left on the Sunday. We had hoped to reach Delhi that evening, but as we stopped for coffee we tended to an Indian motorcyclist who had been knocked off his small motorbike by a truck (he wasn't wearing a helmet but amazingly didn't sustain any head injuries) he did, however, break his leg just below his left knee and was complaining of a sore back. Steve had rushed over with his medical kit and after convincing the curious onlookers not to move him tended to his leg with Stuarts help. After splinting his leg and dressing the wound, some of his relatives arrived with their car and insisted on picking him up to take him to hospital (there was absolutely no sign of an ambulance even though one had been called by numerous people). Steve tried to convey to the relatives that as he was complaining of back pain, they really should wait for a stretcher to prevent him becoming a paraplegic, but they were quite insistent that they were going to take him, so Steve could do no more for the guy as he didn't want to be held responsible for paralysing a man needlessly.

This little episode delayed our ride into Delhi and soon night fell. This made for extremely dangerous riding (Indians are mad enough drivers during daylight hours, they are even worse at night) so we pulled into a hotel to stop for the night before having an early start the next morning for Delhi.

Due to bad signage and even worse driving, it took almost three hours to ride just 55KM into Delhi to our hotel. But once there we were able to (over three days) organise our bike to be shipped to Singapore. We are using a company that import and export motorcycles around the world, so we felt quite confident that they know how to ship bikes safely.

As the shipping of the bikes will take a while, we organised a flight to Goa (the efforts to obtain the tickets is another story all together). We stayed two nights in Panaji, the capital of Goa, before heading down to where we are now in Palolem, Southern Goa.

We plan to be here for a couple of weeks soaking up the sun on coconut palm lined beaches before hopefully heading to Bangalore to watch a one day international cricket match between Australia and India. If we can't get tickets, we'll head straight for Singapore instead.

So sorry it has been so long between blogs folks, while we have been in India for a while, not a lot has happened so there hasn't been much to report on.

We will be uploading our photos over the next week, so we'll let you know when that is done.

We will catch up with you all soon.

Liz and Steve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We seemed to have missed most of the international dramas after we have left the places that they happen. We left Ankara and soon after a huge bomb rocked the shopping district (we walked down that road where it happened) and another bomb goes off in Izmir after we rode through it. Also we missed a large protest in Tabriz in Iran where Stuart got arrested by the secret police. We didn't miss the dramas in Islamabad however, and we'll fill you in on the details later in this blog entry.
We left Quetta and had several days of very difficult riding through some very long and rough roadworks with rocks the size of a large orange tossing us around like rag dolls. Steve came off his bike quite hard on the way to Lorali from Quetta, the Pakistanis have a nasty habit of creating their own speed humps and as they are not Highways Agency speed humps, they are not signposted or marked. We were following a pick-up truck to the turn-off to Lorali and the driver braked hard as even he missed the approaching speed hump, and Steve locked up (silly I know, but he was really too tired to ride and really shouldn't have bothered riding that day) and hit the tarmac hard. It really shook his confidence and nerves and it took a few weeks to regain it.

We reached the Punjab Province border and were given a police escort through the area all the way to Multan where we stayed two nights before heading for Lahore (Steve calls it The French Prostitute....think about it) which is 'apparently' the cultural and artistic capital of Pakistan. If you call 50 metre long streams of raw sewerage artistic or cultural then I suppose it is.
On the first night we caught a cab to a restaurant and you couldn't see across the street as the pollution was so dense.

We left La Whore and rode up the Great Trunk Road (known locally as the GT Road) to Islamabad. The GT Road is actually a major highway from Calcutta in India to Kabul in Afghanistan. Unfortunately we seemed to be riding on the one bit that is fraught with danger. Forget roadworks and the usual hazards, along this road you have to watch out for horse carts turning right in front of you, suicidal pedestrians that wait until halfway across the road before seeing if it is clear (or safe) to cross and numerous water buffalo that are quite content to just lay on the road at their leisure.

We got to Islamabad and went to the Indian High Commission to get our visas, this was to take seven days, dropped our bikes off for a service at the only guy in all of Pakistan that is recommended by other bikers, and hired a jeep with a driver to drive us all (Liz, Steve and our mate Stuart) up to the Karakoram Highway where we found the only decent thing about Pakistan.
We reached the most Northerly town on our trip which was Pasu, this town is at 2500 Metres above sea level and we were still craning our necks to see the tops of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The Pasu Glacier was only about 800 meters upstream from our hotel so we took a stroll up to have a look.

We returned to Islamabad after seven days and landed ourselves slap bang in the middle of a military curfew. On the day we arrived there was trouble brewing at the Red Mosque in sector G6 (Islamabad is one giant grid pattern with each grid being assigned a reference, G6 is one of these giant squares) and later that night the curfew took hold. We woke the next morning to barbed wire strung across the road outside our hotel and armoured personnel carriers patrolling the streets. Sitting in the courtyard garden we could hear the grenade explosions and shooting from the Red Mosque and later on the second day the Pakistani army decided to display a real show of force by flying three Cobra attack helicopters in formation over the mosque.

We were able to obtain our passports with the help of the Second Secretary Consul of Security at the British Embassy who drove us into the diplomatic enclave to the Indian High Commission. It took a few days to get everything together to prepare to leave and we finally got permission from a magistrate who based himself at our hotel, along with some senior brass from the army, to leave the curfew area.

We rode back along the GT Road (this is when Steve's confidence came back at last) and headed for Wagha on the Pakistani side of the border. That evening we watched the fantastic flag lowering ceremony at the border which involves the Indian and Pakistani soldiers trying to out do each other with their parade drills. There are flag bearing crowd cheerleaders on both sides geeing up the crowds to cheer for their respective troops. One touching thing with this ceremony is that despite the tensions between India and Pakistan, the soldiers march up to each other to the white line separating the two countries, salute each other and then shake hands.

The next morning we were greeted by the Major in charge of the Pakistani contingent as he is a motorbike fan and took lots of photos of our bike and us and him on Steve's bike. On then to India where we got through the border with relative ease and on to Amritsar.

On the way there some twit on a small 125cc motorcycle without mirrors (or apparently the ability to look over his shoulder to confirm it was clear) decided to swerve right in front of Liz's bike as he wished to turn right from the left of Liz. The result was Liz catching her wing mirror cover and getting a small scrape up her forearm and the reckless idiot cartwheeling off his bike along with his pillion. The advice in this kind of situation is to never stop (especially if you are a foreigner as you are ALWAYS at fault even if it is obvious that you aren't) so Liz didn't miss a beat and kept going.

A few days at Amritsar at Mrs. Bhandari's guest house which is just brilliant. We visited the Golden Temple before heading for where we are now, McLeod Ganj which is not far from Dharamsala in the foot hills of the Himalayas. We will be here for a little while depending on what volunteer work we can do before heading South again towards Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and down to Goa and Kerala.

We're updating the photos today too so have a look.

Ciao for now

Liz and Steve

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hi all,

We managed to get the parts for Liz's bike courtesy of Michael Buttinger at CMSNL and Mark Hoogenkamp at DHL. Without the help of these guys we would have had to stay at Esfahan for at least another week, and their assistance is very much appreciated. We also very much appreciate the dedication of our mate Dave in the UK who initially assisted us with locating the parts, unfortunately Honda UK couldn't source the parts for us quickly enough.
The parts actually arrived in Esfahan on the Sunday, but due to two days' holiday in Iran we didn't get them until Wednesday morning. It took very little to repair Liz's bike and we decided we had had enough of Esfahan so rode straight to Yazd that afternoon.
We stayed at the Silk Road Hotel there and caught up with a great group of fellow travellers (some going the same way we were, others coming from where we were heading), and we shared travel stories and information on the roads ahead.
Steve and Stuart were brave enough to eat Camel Curry at the restaurant there (it was absolutely delicious).
We stayed at Yazd for three nights before heading to Kerman for one night then Bam for one night.
We stayed at a guesthouse in Bam that was totally destroyed in the earthquake a few years back and have almost completed the new hotel next to their temporary quarters.
We were advised by the guesthouse owner's son (who was trapped beneath the rubble of the quake for four hours before he could be dug out) that Zahedan was too dangerous to stay so we decided to make a long ride straight to the border and stay at Taftan on the Pakistan side of the border (a very wild frontier town Taftan is).
We stayed at the only hotel there and were charged far too much, the hotel was soooo hot that we all slept on the hotel foyer under the stars.
We arose early the next day and headed across the Sandy Desert to Dalbandin where we again stayed at the only hotel in town.
On the way there we encountered roadworks where some guys were laying dynamite to blow a cutting through a small hill, for us the only way forward was to ride over the dynamite and the uncleared rubble. A bit of off-road riding for the bikes, but we managed to get over it OK.
After Dalbandin we again headed off early to beat the heat and also as we had been told that the road between Dalbandin and Quetta was a tough one as the road narrows to a single lane width where trucks break their axles as they pass eachother and sink in the sand on the sides.
We were stopped 15KM out of Quetta where the police insisted on giving us an escort into town (we thought we had riden through the worst of it already) which was fortuitous as it is a dificult town to navigate.
We eventually got to our little paradise of a hotel and decided to stay for four nights. We had our first beer in months on our first night and enjoyed fantastic food.
We are now on our last day here in Quetta and have been told that we can not stay at DG Khan which is our next destination, so we shall be plotting another route to Islamabad.
Today we met a young doctor who helped Stuart and us with some translating when we were shopping for essentials. He invited us back to his family home for lunch and was proud to show us around the family compound. The three of us are returning this evening for BBQ goat legs (yes, you read correct) and more friendly hospitality.
Our next major destination is Islamabad/Rawalpindi where we will have our bikes looked over and hire a jeep to drive up the Karakoram Highway up into the Himalays.

We will update the blog when we return to Islamabad if not sooner.