Rajar Bazaar, No! Sadar Bazaar!

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We got a 4WD out of Chitral and were on our merry way when, just as I dreaded, there was a loud noise from underneath the vehicle. The driver got out, looked underneath, got back in and proceeded at a turtle's pace. We'd only just made past where we'd broken down getting there. Must be Bermuda town! He drove into a mechanics where they removed a long metal bow shaped thing that David called a 'leaf spring'. I wasn't impressed and stood with my lemon sucking face on for what seemed like an eternity. But in actual fact it was probably only about an hour or less before they had a new one attached. We set off again and I hoped that we would make it to Rawalpindi without any further hitches. We were coming towards the Lowari Pass where it had bucketed down with snow over the last few days. It was everywhere! As we climbed, I opened the window and let the freezing air in. I could see that my fellow back seaters were not pleased but I didn't give a rat's arse. I love snow and wanted to get as close to it as possible. As we got closer to the top it became really thick. I hoped they would stop at the top for some sort of regulation thingy with the Scouts so that I could get out and play. No one else seemed to share my sentiments though. Spoil sports. It was still quite a hairy ride though. Much more mud because of the snow and, like I've said, single track, no barrier, mud not dirt now and very, very tight hairpin bends. I kept the window open and enjoyed the views. So much snow! As we came down the other side the temperature slowly warmed up. The views were spectacular. Terraced fields were everywhere with houses peppering the mountain sides. I could't imagine how they could stand the winter up here if there was already snow on the passes.

We arrived safely in Dir and jumped into a mini bus going to Timargarha. When we got there the little shit bus boy tried to double the price for the journey. So David told him to either take the 100 rupees or get nothing. We let him think about it while we found a mini bus going to Rawalpindi. He tried to tell us the fare was 200 rupees but we'd already been told by a local the correct price. We gave him the options again. 100 or nothing. 100 is was.

Everyone was quiet and subdued until the sun went down then as per usual the fruit came out and was passed around. We stopped for dinner and as we went up to pay a man came up and insisted on paying for us. Lucky it's a cheap country! The bus was full of the joys of the breaking of fast for another day and the man who had paid for our dinner started chatting to David. He was a doctor (with no uni degree!) and had his own practice. He got out one stop before us, a few hours outside Rawalpindi and offered to put us up at his house. We had to decline as we had to be in Islamabad the next morning to pick up our passports but we swapped emails. Maybe we'll look him up when we're next in Pakistan. At this rate we won't be needing any hotels at all during our next trip! We finally got to Rawalpindi and had to negotiate some sort of transport into the city to our dive hotel. All the auto rickshaw drivers were being idiots. We knew the real price so marched off to find someone with some sense. We thought we'd found one and jumped in. Then some sleazy little bastard went for a handful (lucky I only have small boobs!)!!!!! I couldn't do anything because my hands were tied up holding my backpack and daypack and trying to balance on the back of this rickshaw thing. He did kind of touch the side and even though it wasn't the worst thing that could have happened, I still felt really revolted and violated. Then the dirty slimbag came for me again, even with a poiceman standing next to me! Luckily his attempt was foiled by the copper's stick. This was all happening whilst David was negotiating our fare. All of a sudden we started. I told David what had happened. He stopped the rickshaw and raced after the guy who took off like an olympic sprinter. The police man got the rundown and said he would beat the man with his stick when he returned! In reality they would probably have a chuckle over a cup of chai but at least he had the decency to tell us he would beat the shit out of the bottom feeder. That over we were bumping our way along the streets towards our hovel. We started to recognise the area when the driver stopped and got off. 'Rajar Bazaar.', he says. 'No.' I said. 'We want Sadar Bazaar.' 'Rajar Bazaar'. 'No, Sadar Bazaar.' 'Rajar Bazaar.' 'No. Saaaaaaddddddaaaaaaarrrrrrrr Bazaar.' We'd had enough. It was late. He just wasn't getting it. I had another go. 'Sadar Bazaar. We want Saaadddaaarrr Baaazzzzaaarrr.' Glazed look from driver. David lost it and told him where to jam Rajar Bazaar. We picked up our bags and stormed off. He followed for a while then came running over to me waving his hands in the air. He gave up after a while and we found a little bus thing to get us the rest of the way. Another night in the dive hotel but the reception guy was so pleased to see us so I felt happy.

The journey back wasn't quite as bad as going, but still long, tedious and squashy.

Next morning up bright and early-ish we made our way over to Isalamabad, grabbed a hotel and hung around until early afternoon when we made the trek over to pick our passports up from the Indian Embassy. It was such a circus to get in to the enclave, so we gave ourselves plenty of time. We had been given a time of between 3pm and 5pm to pick them up. It was nearly 4 when we got there but it was all closed up. Some guards verified this and also the street sweeper who mentioned something about 'party'. Another tourist turned up with the same pickup info. He had managed to get his mobile phone in so made a couple of calls to the embassy and said that apparently during Ramadan they close at about 2pm. Right, so, tell people to collect their passports after 3 and they close at 2. Mmmmmmm. Got it. Makes sense. NOT! You really have to wonder sometimes. He finally got someone to come to the window and we were given our passports back. Only problem was that we had requested multiple entry visas and they had issued single entries. Bastards!!!! I hate embassies!! We tried to reason with them but it was no use, of course. If you get a bastard your rooted basically, and we got a bastard! Bloody inconsistent bastards. Bugger. We'd need another visa after Nepal. We tried to make ourselves feel better with a trip to the bakery (donuts and biscuits!) and to the beef curry man for dinner. At least he was happy to see us.

We decided to bugger off back to Lahore for a relaxing couple of days at the Regal before heading into India.
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