Gotta do some reading!
Right, an angry title..
Why? Because bureaucracy can be rather frustrating, especially if it seems unnecessary. And boy did we encounter superfluous, illogical and random rules and regulations! Driving your own car to another continent requires a lot of planning, changing set plans and finding your way in the maze that we call bureaucracy. This article is to tell you about the logistics of moving your car around the world and to let you in on some tips (and maybe it also helps in airing my frustrations…).
We drove away from Multan, the city of shrines and mosques, to go to the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. We were in Pakistan for over a week now, but still had to adapt to the hectic traffic and we were happy once we had reached the new motorway. Here we even found a Total gas station where we were able to get a cup of coffee. Admittedly, it was instant coffee from a machine, but it was the first cup of coffee at a service station since we had left Europe. Good enough.
Josephine and I were camping at a beautiful dam, where the crocodiles were chilling on the rocks in and the leopards were hiding in the shade on the hills around us. Flamingos were gathering in the water, some farmers were working at their land and some animal lovers came by to take photos of this spectacular wildlife. One of them was Dr. Dilip Arora.
Traffic in India is crazy. Roads in Pakistan are terrible. In Iran we can not read the road signs. The toll is way too expensive everywhere we go. Everyone is honking at us, continuously, since we have left Europe. We can never find a service station anywhere we go. We are totally lost and it is hard these days, driving a car all the way to another continent.
“What about the Taliban”, I asked. “Are they still active in this area?”. The Levies officer, holding an AK-47, gave me a big smile: “No Taliban here. No Taliban. Taliban is in Afghanistan. Maybe northern Pakistan. Not here. It is safe here.” I looked puzzled at him, although at the same time relieved, while he kept on talking: “Even the prince of United Arab Emirates comes here to hunt special birds. Russian birds! It is very safe!” Well, if even the prince of UAE comes here to hunt…
We have arrived in Karimabad, the (tourist) capital of Hunza. After “loosing” quite some time due to driving with escorts, being forced to turn back after driving four hours towards Astore and because I spend some time in bed due to being sick, we are eager to go out and explore again. Rather sooner than later that is and seeing how I feel a lot better, we decide to go on a hike the next day.
Lately, we have been complaining a bit about our lack of freedom. Quite often we would go somewhere only to be told we could not continue due to safety issues. Or we would travel somewhere and at some point receive mandatory police escort, which slows the journey down tremendously, and at night we would be forced to sleep in certain hotels where we would be grounded.
This story is also available in 🇳🇱 | It is going to be a long day. We wake up early and quickly we prepare some coffee to-go. A truck driver, not the first one, walks towards us to greet us. He doesn’t speak English, we don’t speak Turkish. He walks back to his truck and gestures with his hands to say we have to wait. Actually, we are kind of in a rush because we want to arrive early at the border, but we do not want to be rude.
This story is also available in 🇳🇱 | We are sitting in our car. Josephine on the passenger’s seat, I’m behind the wheel. It is dark outside, and freezing cold. In the distance I hear the trucks and cars driving on the high way. In front and behind our car I hear some people walking. I try to fall asleep, but I can’t. I turn around again, trying to get comfortable. I pull the sleeping bag closer to my body. I think and think. I think about tomorrow, because tomorrow we will cross the border. We will go to Iran.
Turkey’s tourism industry has been severely impacted by recent political developments, such as the attempted coup, the war in Syria and several terrorist attacks. All of these events have been thoroughly covered by the media, so when we told people of our plans to go there, some where a bit concerned. We were less worried and our experience proved us all the more right. In the following we will explain to you why we liked Turkey. We’ll also tell you about some things we liked less.
This story is also available in 🇳🇱 | The music is blasting from the stereo, I am slouched back in the passenger’s seat and Josephine seems to have found the accelerator, this despite the sharp bends of the road. “Could you go any faster?” I say, just loud enough for her to hear, not trying to hide my bad mood. She stares at me. The tone is set.
Although David talked about #sunshine and #happiness in his last blog, we have not done a lot of actual reporting on our activities. We have been on the road for more than 5 weeks and to produce a story about everything we have seen and done during this time would be as horrible for you to read as it would be for me to write.
When I was in Istanbul I tried to start write our first ‘travel journal’. About how we are and what we have seen. However, I couldn’t write more than a few sentences before I got either disturbed or distracted. The busyness of Istanbul made my thoughts go everywhere.
Ok, hold your horses guys. Contrary to what this title might imply, we are still doing fine. This post it about the struggles prior to leaving and about the (in)famous arguments between David and me.
This is the story about how we got our car. As you might realize, the car was the most important thing that we needed. The car that we were going to buy would be our house for the next nine months. Just wheels and an engine wouldn’t do the trick.
During the last couple of few weeks I really started to realize what we are about to do. And it scares me. Driving from the Netherlands to Southeast Asia is quite a big adventure. Why are we going to make this trip? How did we get to this plan? Where are we going?