THE WEISSBORN STORY EPISODE 4: BY MOTORCYCLE THROUGH PAKISTAN

Published by RISER at 20 ottobre 2017 in Articoli

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 1

To the left, to the right, in front of and behind me, a pure desert landscape. The wind scatters sand over the street and the last road sign appears to my right, indicating the crossing point between the town of Mirjaveh and a road about 5 km (3 miles) long lying straight ahead and leading to the border of Pakistan.

The section leading through Pakistan is a very sensitive issue, especially for my family and friends at home. The night before I received the last phone calls with great concern, informing me that something would happen to me in this country – kidnapping, assault, being assassinated. But it was my decision to take this step.

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 9

A checkpoint turns up on the horizon. Two soldiers of the Iranian military stop me and prevent me from continuing my journey. “From here on, only with military escort.” A few minutes later four men aboard a solid 4x4 pickup truck appear. The simple task, follow the vehicle. The hooded soldiers on the loading area, armed with assault rifles, wave me to a safe distance, while the driver turns the speed up. We reach the border crossing. No people, the documents are stamped. An Iranian border official is still trying to convince me not to enter Pakistan. At this point, there is definitely no turning back for me. Passing the huge border gate I enter a completely different world. Never before in my life have I experienced such a contrast when crossing a national border. The meagre infrastructure, the people. While the documents are being processed, a police officer is introduced to me and I am told that I will spend the night at the police station. The next day the five-day journey through Balochistan will begin with the police escort. Leaving the police station is not allowed under any circumstances, the friendly policemen offer us to get something for dinner at the market. The cuisine is now very similar to that of India.

After a night on the floor of an office, we will now proceed to the first section. One pick-up, three officers.

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 12

“Start your engine," the last words of the escort as he’s routinely racking the slide of his AK-47. For a moment I feel like I’m on the film set of Madmax. One last refuelling stop, three 1.5 litre bottles of petrol are refilled and off we go, through the desert of Balochistan, along the border to Afghanistan. A whole day riding in heat, checkpoints at a distance of one hour to the next, where I have to register until we reach a hotel in Dalbandin in the evening. A completely new feeling when a soldier is assigned to me as bodyguard, who will stay at the hotel. But my neighbours from the room next door, Pakistanis working for the UN, invite me to dinner. Traditionally we’re sitting on the floor and eating with our hands. This evening, I become aware of the hospitality the Pakistanis are showing.

At midnight, a power outage occurs in the village with a loud buzzing noise. At first glance, the desert landscape looks like it’s snow-covered in the silvery shimmering moonlight.

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 13

The next few days are characterised by the constant escort through endless desert landscapes and countless checkpoints. I’m held up in the city of Quetta for a total of four days and of course it is not possible to leave the hotel.

Balochistan is still an unsafe region, only three days after I left the city of Quetta, there was an attack at the local police academy – a total of 60 cadets were killed. However, security is in the eye of the beholder. If we add up the number of people who die in "shootings" in the USA and compare the number of population – Pakistan with about 200 million inhabitants and the USA with about 320 million – this raw statistics show that the USA and Pakistan should be at about the same level of security.

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 6

But at this time I'm already in Lahore and can either cross the border to India directly or explore the north towards the Karakorum Mountains. Of course, my family and friends advise me to leave the country as soon as possible. In taking this decision I would have missed a lot of things, as it turned out later.

Breathtaking panoramas awaiting me every day, the eight-thousanders and incredible expanses of space. The world is so peaceful and the people are friendly. A small village called Hunza, beautifully situated in the mountains, is even a so-called Blue Zone, where the population has a very high life expectancy. The journey towards Skardu, along the Indus River, leading up into a valley with a cold desert and to the foot of the K2, the second highest mountain in the world. The countless milk teas and numerous invitations of the locals, make me feel like a true adventurer being the only tourist at that time – I haven't met anyone else in one month.

Riserblog weissborn episode 4 8

The Pakistanis are proud and make the trip to one of the highest border crossings in the world at the Khunjerab Pass and thus to the gate to China. Once there we went back south, the direction of chaos, into the masses of people, cars, tuk-tuks and countless mopeds. To Punjab and the border to India. A country that could be a continent with about 1.6 billion inhabitants.

PHOTOS


Riserblog weissborn episode 4 1 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 2 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 3 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 4 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 5 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 6 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 7 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 8 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 9 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 10 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 11 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 12 small Riserblog weissborn episode 4 13 small
All photos copyright Johannes Weissborn

LINKS


RISER - Driven by Adventure

ARTICOLI PIÙ RECENTI

Riser 2018

HOW RISER WILL GET YOU STARTED IN 2018

Published by RISER at 15 gennaio 2018 in Articoli
Before talking about 2018, we really gotta tell you something: When you launch an App, nobody tells you how to do it, what to expect and where to pay special attention. At least for us it was that way, it was a jump into cold water. One year later, you’d expect to be more prepared and cool about everything but: NO, we’re NOT! We do everything ourselves, inhouse...
Teaser

RALLY DAKAR 2018 SO FAR...

Published by RISER at 12 gennaio 2018 in Articoli
Yesterday after starting in Arequipa and covering 447km along the banks of lake Titicaca, the drivers completed the 6th stage of the race in La Paz, Bolivias capital. KTM’s Matthias Walkner came is on the 3rd place in the general ranking – Congratulations!
Teaser

DUBAI MOTORBIKE FESTIVAL 2018

Published by Weronika Korban at 08 gennaio 2018 in Articoli
With the Dubai Motorbike Festival 2018 the year is starting off with a highlight for all bikers from the UAE region and those, who want to flee the European winter and get an update of the latest models and technologies the industry has to offer. The festival will take place from January 12th to 13th with the Extreme Sports Expo at the Dubai World Trade Center co-located...
Teaser

EN ROUTE TO THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY: PART 4

Published by RISER at 02 gennaio 2018 in Articoli
This time, a weather cliché is awaiting me next to a typical Irish breakfast. Grey, foggy and wet-cold. Unfortunately, these weather conditions prevent me and many other tourists from seeing the famous 'Cliffs of Moher'...
Teaser

THE WEISSBORN STORY EPISODE 6 - NEW YEAR IN NEPAL

Published by RISER at 21 dicembre 2017 in Articoli
Darkness. My hotel room in India on the border with Nepal. No window. Bleary-eyed, I glance out the door and walk towards the balcony. Outside the fog is still thick. Reducing visibility down to less than a few metres. One can only wait and see (or not see). I'm having a milk tea and some cigarettes at a street vendor. Slowly, I can feel the first rays of sunshine...
Teaser

TRIUMPH TIGER 1200 - A TEST BY MOTORRADMAGAZIN

Published by CLEMENS KOPECKY at 13 dicembre 2017 in Articoli
The dried-up river bed blurs in front of my burning eyes. Drops of sweat tickle on the scalp under my motocross helmet. Even the Gore-Tex membrane seems to have long since given up its mission of allowing water vapour to pass through to the outside of my riding suit. In the sauna, now would be the time to pour water onto the rocks. But it’s late autumn in southern Spain and I never thought I would get so sweaty when riding a motorcycle at just over ten degrees Celsius...
Teaser

AUSSIE RIDER - DOWN UNDER MOTORCYCLE TOURS WITH MOGI

Published by RISER at 12 dicembre 2017 in Articoli
Well, this morning starts early as usual, as my military service gave me one of the best and worst traits in the world, not being able to sleep well. So, I get up to watch the sunrise in one of my favourite spots. From my home in Shellharbour I travel through Port Kembla, Scarborough, Coalcliff, all the way up to Bald Hill. Which is where I want to watch the sunrise. Getting there at 5 o’clock, as bright orange glow starts to hit the Horizon...
Teaser

NEW FEATURE: GETAWAYS - 3 SIMPLE STEPS TO YOUR GROUP RIDE

Published by RISER at 11 dicembre 2017 in Articoli
Every time we make appointments with friends to go for a ride, countless messages are sent back and forth, or groups of people are set up on social media or messenger services to facilitate communication. Many of you have written to us describing that they know exactly the same situation. So that’s why we thought...
Teaser

HE'S GOT A LICENSE TO FLY: BEHIND THE SCENES OF BACKEND

Published by RISER at 07 dicembre 2017 in Articoli
He really has the license to fly: When Sven joined RISER and we spent the first evenings after work talking about the project but also private stuff, it quickly became clear that this guy is the incorporation of a melting pot of experiences which other people hope to make in their life but most of them never do...