Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Another awful road day, though fortunately mostly down.

I was definitely regretting the gung-ho decision to go over the Shandur pass. It was the worst road that I'd ever experienced & it seemed to go on forever. Having said that the scenery was magnificent, from the desolation of the top of the pass to the villages nestled on ledges between the steep mountainsides & the fast flowing river.

In the morning we passed through a police checkpoint where all foreigners were obliged to write our details, including their mode of transport. This gave me a chance to see how popular this route was for cyclists. I counted 4 other cyclists in the last 2 months. This was not a well worn path. It was clear from the wide eyed stares of the locals that they weren't used to seeing many foreigners or cyclists. As a pleasant side effect the local kids seemed too gobsmacked to big for things as I passed by.

Towards the end of the day the rough road thankfully turned into asphalt & I promised myself no further such tortuous excursions on this trip. Tomorrow promises a nice roll down into Chitral.

Exhausted we stopped at a cheap but friendly dirt & concrete floored guesthouse. Soon after we arrived I got wind of the distinctive smell of burning hash. From then on it became quite difficult to communicate with the owner, smoking seemed to have reduced his comprehension to the point that simple requests for tea were comically misunderstood.

I cycled 56 km in 5 hours & 15 minutes
Total so far 11304 km in 175 days

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