Nail biting in Quetta

The view from my hotel window in Quetta Pakistan.

Sometimes overlanding gets really tense. I still didn’t have my visa for Iran, but had just a couple of days left on my Pakistan visa… I’d already been told that an extension wasn’t possible.

To the north, over the border in Afghanistan things were bubbling. Quetta was full of refugees; their faces lined with tired desperation. Blank glazed eyes of hopelessness stared out into the shimmering heat of the city.

To the west, the Baluchistan desert was between me and Iran. The region was famous for its smugglers, bandits, rope across the road barriers which allowed the locals to collect some ‘revenue’, and for the lack of petrol.

To the south, 500 miles of hectic road to the port of Karachi; 9 hours of full focus riding, and still the chase to get my bike and I out of the country. I’ve never forgotten the sensation that at last I knew what nail biting was all about. The clock ticked faster each hour I had left. But still no visa…

I was determined to get to Iran though. I wanted to see this country, for myself. Even if it was just a few weeks worth. Strangely, I had the sensation ticking in the back of my mind that all was going to be ok. I would get my visa for Iran…

Quetta from my hotel room

Outside in the street, as life went on, the heat hammered from the dusty rubbish strewn roads and from the paint peeling walls. Multi coloured trucks, buses and rickshaws belched fumes into the hustle of street traders, brightly dressed women and the children playing with bits of rope, wire and old bicycle wheels. If it wasn’t for the Japanese pick up trucks I could have stepped back in time.

The full story of course is in my book ‘Under Asian Skies‘.

Sam has the skills of the story teller and this book easily transports you into three years of journey across Asia. He manages to bring the sounds, scents and heat of Asia to life without wordy overkill and he has obviously researched his historical facts carefully. … In places Under Asian Skies is sad, and in others it’s outrageously funny – look out for his battle with the Sydney port officials and the bus ride in Indonesia. All in all this is a really good read, whether you have been across Asia, or are planning a trip.
This is true travelling on the cheap and not your everyday story.Horizons Unlimited