Gilgit, Pakistan

Distance: 0 miles
Time on bikes: 0 hours

There’s a bit of excitement in the air today as Fabian is going to try and acquire a Pakistani Honda 125cc to ride from Gilgit down to Islamabad. The task starts immediately after breakfast, but the odds are against us as most of the shops are closed as Ramadan is ending and Eid is due to commence.

We take a walk along a couple of the streets that the hotel manager has recommended to us and try our luck just asking a few people that we’re in the market to buy a Honda 125 cc. Although almost every shop is closed, this goes surprisingly well and we’re soon being pointed in another direction and have a bit of a crowd forming as the first potential purchase is wheeled up to us – a guy carrying three kids on the bike, so it comes with seating for the whole family.

We discuss the price, but the bike is twenty years old and he wants about £500 for it. That seems expensive considering a brand new bike costs about £750. We’ve been told that the used bike prices are very strong and are traded depending upon condition rather than age. Our biggest concern is how much cash Fabian will potentially lose when re-selling the bike down in Islamabad; and paying more in Gilgit will mean a potential bigger loss when trying to sell. We try to negotiate, but the guy won’t budge one penny.

We get told about another guy who’s potentially selling and we go to his shop. This bike looks a bit more ropey, but is only nine years old and the chap is after about £350. This is more our territory, but again the guy won’t negotiate and we’re not too sure about its condition. We’re getting help from a few people by now and it looks a bit more promising after we get shown a third bike to look at. We leave Fabian to it at this point and we hope he’ll have some wheels shortly to be able to enjoy the ride down to Islamabad.

As it’s now after lunchtime, we decide to leave it until tomorrow to leave town. We’ve been told there’s a landslide 50 miles south and the road has been closed for seven days. It’s possible we can get through with the bikes, but it’s not sure. Maybe if we leave it until tomorrow, there will be a better chance of getting through.

During the afternoon we go from Fabian having a bike to not having a bike several times. Just when it looks like he’ll have one, it turns out the ownership papers don’t match the person that’s selling. We also find out that we’ll need a Magistrate to stamp any change of ownership; and that’s going to be impossible today or tomorrow.

We ask the hotel manager for some assistance again. At the beginning of the day he’d mentioned about possibly selling us his bike, but then retracted this offer. We decide to try again and suggest he hires us his bike and we’ll arrange for it to be transported back to Gilgit when we get to Islamabad. Thankfully this seems to be agreeable and it soon looks like we’re in business.

In the afternoon we take a walk around town and get some chips, pakoras and samosas to eat back in the hotel. We then just relax around and in the evening decide to have a movie night; using Carl’s computer and speakers to watch The Hangover.

We’re feeling quite relaxed now, and ready to start the Karakoram adventure again tomorrow.

Jour 145 – Vendredi 10 Septembre 2010. Gigli, Pakistan

Distance: 0 km – Temps a moto: 0 heures

Il y a de l’ambiance ce matin: les gars vont aller avec Fabian pour voir s’il peut acheter ou louer une petite moto pour venir avec nous jusqu’à Islamabad plutôt que de prendre l’avion. Nous passons la journée aux petites tables dans le jardin de l’hôtel à rattraper notre retard sur le journal et le cote financier du voyage. Vers 14 heures Fabian viens nous donner la bonne nouvelle : il a réussi à trouver une moto à acheter: une Honda 125cc. Mais peu après il apprend que les papiers ne sont pas en règles, il recommence sa recherche… et nous avons de la chance : le propriétaire de l’hôtel accepte de lui louer la sienne, une Honda 125cc aussi, si Fabian paye le renvoi de la moto d’Islamabad a Gilgit. C’est bien plus facile pour lui que d’en acheter une. Comme il est un peu tard, nous ne partirons que demain, et passons une après midi tranquille a l’hôtel.

C’est le dernier jour de Ramdam et l’ambiance est tendue en ville : il y a des postes de contrôle de l’armée partout et tous les magasins ferment tôt. C’est aussi la veille de l’anniversaire de 11 septembre, et aux informations nous avons entendu parler d’un Américain qui a l’intention de bruler, nous ne savons pas trop quels sont les risques, mais quand nous sortons de l’hôtel pour aller acheter de quoi manger nous voyons qu’il y a des tensions entre les locaux, et que la police fait fermer les magasins. James discute avec un officier qui nous dit que les tensions ne se dirigeront pas contre nous mais qu’il serai mieux que nous passions la soirée dans l’hôtel. Nous passons donc la soirée à regarder un film sur l’ordinateur à Carl en grignotant des biscuits.