Up at 4.30am as Thomas, Agata and I are riding to Islamabad today. I didn’t sleep that well and although the ride wasn’t as hot I couldn’t get into the day, it wasn’t the best journey although we rode into the country and saw a great fort.
We arrived Islamabad at 11am and I had to apply for my India visa which I assumed wouldn’t take long as I had completed all the forms and necessary paperwork.
I parked the bike and as I walked to the visa centre I saw a long que of people, I was in no mood to stand out in the heat so I pushed my way to the front and after 5 minutes I was in the door. Another 15 minutes and I was given a ticket with a number to show when it was my interview, my number was 1061 and the counter was showing 1021. I sat down and realised that they were taking so long for each person. It was 4.30 when I got away.
My paperwork was complete, I paid the money and was told it would take up to 45 days! I calmly explained that this wasn’t acceptable as I needed my passport to travel up the KKH in a few days, I was told to write a letter explaining my predicament and call tomorrow afternoon.
I stayed the night in a massive, modern, designer house where Thomas & Agata are ‘couchsurfing’, yet again the people of Pakistan show their hospitality. Out for really great food with Sunny a Pakistan biker.
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan and unlike any city I’ve seen before and certainly nothing like any of the cities I’ve passed in the last 5,000km. It was built out of the desert in the 1960’s and is on grid system which makes it easy to travel around. Each grid has a ‘market centre’ which has the most modern up to date shops. There is no rubbish and as yet no sign of normal chaotic Pakistan street life / no poor people. Pakistan people still constantly want to help me irrespective of status.
I shook hands with a guy with two thumbs on one hand today.