The Road to Pakistan

We left Bam with a police escort, our first ever.  We also took the German with us.  Our aim was to get across the border to Taftan on the Pakistani side by nightfall.

The police escorts consisted of a truck of pumped-up teenagers with automatic weapons, working for the Iranian government.  I tried not to worry.

Our first hurdle happened worryingly early on, when the police swapped over, and the new police weren’t keen on the state of the German’s passport.  (They would have been even less keen if they’d discovered he carried two passports…)

They examined it for about 25 minutes while we stood around looking innocent.  They decided he had overstayed his visa, and would be taken to the local police office.  They made handcuff mimes. 

I had a brainwave. The lovely Mr Akbar at our guesthouse had given us his number in case we got into trouble.  Daniel (the German) rang him and asked him to translate the real situation over the phone to the police, who hopefully were more intelligent than they seemed.  After another 20 minutes we were allowed to drive off, with our German in tow.  He wasn’t in the best of moods. 

There were police checkposts every 200 meters, and every single one required signing in, and visa numbers, and previous towns visited etc etc.  There was lots of power-tripping involved, while we bowed down to whichever authority was in charge of that area in order to be let through without being, say, detained.

There was no free tea.  This for some reason upset me more than anything else. 

Then there were the escort handovers, when we were forced to overheat in our gear for up to an hour at a time, waiting for the next car to arrive.  There was nowhere to get food or water, and we ran out very early on.  We dehydrated, viciously.  We would wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Only to be suddenly told to hurry up and get a move on. 


It was frustrating.  And looking back I can see it was good of the Iranian government to provide a free escort service for the Baluchi desert areas, but at the time I seriously considered speeding off into the dust.

Some way along the road we passed a little out-of-place looking blue car with a trailer attached, and we started having to wait for it.  We got a bit confused, until we realized it was more strange foreigners!!! 


They were a Uruguayan family of two brothers and their very cool dad, in a classic 60s Citroen 2CV car.  It was an excellent car, with a trailer for all their gear, and they had driven all the way from Uruguay in it, on a cultural mission to bring back expat Uruguayans they found along the way.  They were brilliant, but s l o o w w.  The car would only go 50kph on the flat, so we rode, and then waited, and rode, and waited.


They didn’t understand what was happening, and kept asking us why we were stopping. Later I discovered they didn’t know escorts were mandatory, they thought we had paid for escorts, and were trying to get them into our convoy so they would have to pay too. 

They were energetic and amusingly loud, and we left them in Zahedan, their intended destination for the day, where they found a hotel.

At 4pm we were 3 miles from the Pakistan border, past the last town.  We stopped at a middle-of-nowhere garrison thing, and the guard told us we couldn’t go any further as the border was shut.  They wouldn’t let us leave, so we were stuck.  We sat around for a bit, dreaming of what we would eat, were we to be suddenly let loose in Tesco’s. 

They took us back to the nearest town and we were thoroughly gutted, having psyched ourselves up for the border and entering Pakistan.  The town was a bit freaky.  We stayed somewhere nondescript, and ate noodles on the floor.  We weren’t allowed out on our own and the hotel manager accompanied us to the corner-shop. 

The German later told us that that day his GPS registered us as having driven for 6.5 hours and stopped for 4.5 hours.

1 comment:

  1. i am reading through your adventures and they are great! you are doing a similar route to the one i want to take! keep up the good work and the great blog!!!!!


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