Shit town

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Flag of Pakistan  , Balochistān,
Thursday, November 10, 2011


We did nothing today but it was still interesting, for me at least. We woke up to the streets of Pakistan. Actually I woke up several times in the night o the drumming sound of heavy rain which made me think that the next day was going to be fairly unpleasant to ride in but had no intention of riding in any case.

We had been following two Hungarians all day, we kept seeing them signing into the checkpoint books and they were staying in our hotel in a strange 3 wheeled car. We had hoped to meet them but they had left before we got up.

Firstly we had the issue of having no money to address which was as straightforward as finding a cash-point. This actually turned out not to be anything like straightforward. Marcin still insisted on finding somewhere with internet access but I cared about nothing more than getting the issues sorted. Marcin has his illogical side, I'm more practical so we set out into Quetta to see where the day would lead us. It led us straight to a flooded street where the smell of shit threatened to choke the life out of me. The streets were running with water, water that had flooded out from the exposed sewers and was running inches deep through the streets. I was concerned last night by the lack of soap in what, we were assured was the best hotel in town but from the sight of the place in the morning cleanliness was not very high on the list of priorities in this place.

We carefully wound our way through the swamp towards gathering enough information to base a decision on. I wanted to stay put and use the internet cafe later to get everything up to date and contact the people who were probably by now wondering if I was still alive, Marcin wanted to pack the bikes and move to anywhere with internet access in the rooms. I tried to explain that we didn’t have the cash to settle the bill yet and had to check out by 12 noon. So we checked net cafes and around this time, Pakistan, or at least Quetta had not yet come fully to life. The first bank we went into was guarded by a man older than original sin packing a Remington pump-action shotgun over his shoulder. We went in through the metal detector and set off the alarms which didn’t appear to cause any concern but clearly Quetta was not quite so safe as we were led to believe it was.

We were sent to another bank further along and Marcin had news of a hotel with unlimited access to the net. We tried in every hotel, most didn’t have computers themselves, let alone Wi-fi and those who did said the rain was so bad that the internet no longer worked. To be fair, the rain was quite bad but how it managed to cut out the internet was an interesting question.

We found a bank that had a working cashpoint and enjoyed having money in our pockets, a feeling that lightened a good many issues. We found the fabled hotel with internet access. It was advertised as a fort with bedrooms and was guarded by dozens of men with automatic weapons. There was a sign on the door asking you to check your guns in but inside it was very nice. It was very expensive too, way out of our league but we bought some breakfast and chatted it over. We agreed to stay put and use an internet cafe later and head back to the nice hotel for an early breakfast tomorrow morning. We had found the one place with decent food in Quetta, a place where they fill you up instead of emptying you out. We headed back through the town and stopped in a few gunshops, mostly to browse annoyingly. People let us play with everything which was cool but they wouldn’t let me buy anything which was not. We were told that the internet cafes worked fine so we simply headed back to the room to prepare the stuff we wanted to upload. After 10 days with no access that took hours. We uploaded our data and I went back to the hotel to wait as Marcin would be hours. I put on some music, played solitaire on my laptop and just did nothing. The first time I’ve just done nothing in weeks and it was great. I hadn’t realised just how tired I was. The only good thing that is worth mentioning was that the roads were so flooded we couldn’t find a way across so a TukTuk driver offered us a lift. He took us in the back and two others holding on. It was only over the road but I tried to give him something for his trouble but he refused it to the point of being almost insulted. Another case of the people with the least giving the most.

In the end I went back looking for Marcin but he was just tying up loose ends and was on his way. We were both happier now we had got things up to date online. I grabbed some food to eat back at the hotel and agreed to settle the bill now so we could leave in the morning. We had bought 8 cans of lousy beer and now found we paid the price of the hotel twice over for them. The manager looked away awkwardly when we questioned him about it. We got excuse after excuse but the simple fact remained, he was ripping us off and he knew it.

We paid in any case and but I have to warn you to watch your step at the Bloom Star hotel. The police escort took us there telling us it was great, they had done the same to the Hungarian couple with the three wheeled Velox car. It is not.

So we drank the remaining beer and made the best of our last night in Quetta. It’s not a place I will be sorry to leave.
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Norm on

You should have done a shit on the hotel carpet and blamed the beer!

jtw000 on

Nobody would have noticed!

cimek on

We should do double shit on the carpet as the price was, actually, tripled.
"Must do" for next time.

jtw000 on

Why are you commenting on my blog? We were literally sharing a bed last night. Nutter!

cimek on

To others: we have it already seatled, he is still alive.

jtw000 on

Again... why? You're standing right next to me!

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