Pakistan : Lahore to the Iranian border 



Through Pakistan : Lahore to Quetta and the Iranian border (29 August - 17 September 2001)
Our journey through Pakistan has been a strange one, our travel plans being constantly interrupted with trying to get our computer fixed, attempting at have work done on Troopie and figuring out what could happen following the terrorist attacks in the US. We were happy to leave India and return to a country where we had had such a good time when we drove over from China last May. After a few days in Lahore, we took the marvelously smooth 6-lane motorway linking Lahore and Islamabad in order to visit IBM and our embassy where a package and a welcome chocolate praline were awaiting us. Having decided to send the computer to Karachi to try to fix it and tensely awaiting the arrival of a new mother board from Europe, we decided it was time to do some sightseeing and continued the Grand Trunk road to Peshawar.


Everyday life in Peshawar


Peshawar lies just across the border with Afghanistan, the first major city in Pakistan on the GT Road that links the Afghan capital Kabul with Lahore, Delhi and Calcutta. Because of the war with Russia followed by the civil war (where the 2 opposing sides were sponsored by Russia and the US) Afghanistan has long been closed to overland travelers like us and Peshawar is the closest we could hope to get. Over the years, more than a million Afghan refugees have come to settle in Pakistan receiving Muslim hospitality as well as the Pakistani passport. Many of them have settled in or around Peshawar. We spent hours wandering through the old city, watching men at work or selling their goods. We wish CNN and the BBC would also show the world current pictures of Peshawar and the way Pakistan has welcomed refugees from its civil war thorn neighbour instead of alarming library pictures of Taliban soldiers. 



Old wooden buildings can still be found above the stalls of the bazaar, Peshawar


Khyber Pass
During our visit to Peshawar, we went to the Khyber Authority to arrange to visit the famous Khyber Pass. Despite several other famous mountain passes in the region that have seen history walk by over the centuries (most notably the Kojhak and Bolan passes), none is as famous as the Khyber Pass that leads to Kabul. Early next morning and with a little anxiety, we returned to the Khyber Authority to pick up our gunman who was to accompany us ! Were it not for being able to "sit" down like all Asians, we could have mistaken him for a perfect Englishman !



Troopie and her escort at Khyber pass


To Quetta
From Peshawar, we returned to Islamabad and the smooth motorway to Lahore. At a traffic light on entering Islamabad, a small boy was selling newspapers. With the newspapers dangling from his front arm, he tried to lift up his shirt and look at his shoulder. I was fearing he wanted to show me a horrible scar for which he would have extended his hand and asked for money. What was our surprise when he liberated a small grasshopper from under his shirt and gave us the broadest and happiest of smiles !


On our way to Quetta over the Bolan Pass 


To Taftan and the Iranian border
The road from Quetta to the Iranian border was mostly through desert, not the dune variety (although we did see a few), more the vast emptiness variety !



Dunes stretching over the road, on our way to the Iranian border, South Pakistan


Car and Camping in Pakistan (a few extra pictures we want to show you but don't know where to put)


As seen on the road : big trucks and huge trucks (left), a car being "towed" away on a clark forklift (centre), modern petrol stations in Pakistan (right)


Fellow overlanders : 2 French guys on a RTW trip on 2 wheels (left), 3 French guys on 3 wheels, Enfield sidecars, right



Living in your car : taking a "public" shower in a Muslim country (left), flowers in our car or "un peu de douceur dans ce monde de brutes" (right)


At the border post between Pakistan and Iran, we noticed our first mechanical problem on Troopie : 3 broken suspension leaves.  We were lucky roads in Iran are mostly as flat as a billiard table. We had the broken leaves replaced in a Toyota garage in Zahedan. The work was only finished by 8 pm and as the border town of Zahedan has a less than friendly reputation, we decided to sleep on the spot in the Toyota garage. We did feel better after having been told by an overland expert that suspension leaves are consumables  !




Here is the first of our extra pages on Pakistan : Lahore !

Lahore, cultural capital of Pakistan


Despite what you might see on TV, we are doing well ! 


Coming from India Back to Trip page Heading to Southern Iran