2 miles south of Jaglot to Raikot, Pakistan

Distance: 13 miles
Time on bikes: 1.5 hours

Most of us sleep quite well considering we’re camped next to a major landslide and we’re all up and about quite early as the sun makes its presence felt on the tents. We use the tarpaulin between the tents and the bikes to make a shelter and manage to acquire some water from the Chinese workers which we can use to make tea and filter for drinking.

We hang around while the works to create a new road continue. It’s still quite fascinating to watch, but the best bit is when they blow a load of dynamite they’ve drilled into the side of the mountain to help dig a new road. Everything goes silent leading up to the blast and there’s even a sense of Health and Safety as a siren sounds one minute before the blast so that the locals can put down their cup of tea. We all stand there with our cameras waiting to catch the moment.

After the big blast, the digger gets back to work and the furious pace of building a new road continues. The landslide has had the road closed for the last eight days and we appear to have arrived when tensions over the reopening of the road are very high. The guys stuck with their trucks at either side have not been able to make it home in time to celebrate Eid and this is a major problem which has resulted in a high ranking official to be flown in and to ensure the road is opened without any further delay.

The Chinese workers are seemingly able to make the new road at quite an amazing pace, with a tipper truck dumping gravel and soil behind the digger as it creates a new track in the side of the mountain. We do feel sorry for them when we hear that they’ve lost one of their colleagues earlier in the week when his digger lost control and went down the side of the mountain. We feel especially sorry when we realise he’s still down there as there’s no way of getting a rescue vehicle to get access down the side of the mountain to recover the body. Sobering.

At about 4 pm the road is declared open, about 24 hours after we first arrived. There’s a bit of a melee as the lines of trucks on either side of the landslide jostle to get across the 100 metre single lane section of new track. We’ve taken the tents down in preparation about thirty minutes before and sit there waiting for an opportunity to get across. About twenty minutes of waiting pays off and we’re guided by one of the policemen trying to control the trucks to make a dash for it. There’s only a short gap to get through, but we make it.

On the other side we have to pass many trucks coming the other way and have to stop a few times as the track is only wide enough to get one vehicle through. A few times we have to jump off the bikes and run ahead to beg the trucks to stop and let us pass through before they get stuck in a line and block the road for us.

We manage to get going, but we’ve only ridden about ten miles before it starts to get dark. We get to a police checkpoint adjacent to a hotel and hope they’re open. Unfortunately they’re not, but there is a patch of grass we can use to pitch the tents and after a while the Policeman agrees to let us camp.

Soon enough, the caretaker of the closed hotel turns up and tells us we must pay to pitch the tents. During our discussions, Fabian has managed to get access into the hotel using a credit card – although not in the ‘paying for it’ kind of way, more like the ‘’slipping it down the side of the lock’ kind of way. Signs of a misspent youth possibly.

After some discussion, we eventually manage to agree a price, which includes the use of a hotel room for Fabian and Juan to sleep in, while Carl, Béné, James, Emily and Stefano camp out in the garden. There is a competition held to see who can erect their tent in the quickest time and the medal is clearly awarded to Carl & Béné.

For dinner, the Spaniards are quite hungry so we get the cooking kit out to make a pot of rice which is kindly accompanied by a tin of chicken curry that Juan produces out of the bag. We add a few spices and a small bottle of Tabasco sauce from one of the ration packs to make a tasty meal for everyone. We’ve got to know one another quite well, which is reinforced as we take turns taking a spoon of the concoction from the pot in front of us.

Jour 147 – Dimanche 12 Septembre 2010. De près de Jaglot a Raikot, Pakistan

Distance: 20 km – Temps a moto: 1.5 heures

Nous ne sommes pas pressés ce matin comme nous ne savons pas quand la route sera passable, nous passons une matinée relax, observant les progrès des travaux. Ils font sauter d’autres explosifs et continuent à travailler, ils nous disent que la route sera passable a 2 heures cet après midi. Nous rangeons doucement nos affaires, les camions commencent à faire la queue de chaque coté du glissement de terrain, les camions Pakistanais sont superbes, ils sont couverts de décorations de couleurs vives et des chaines sont suspendues aux pare chocs, quand ils passent le bruit des chaines fait comme un bruit de verre cassé, ca cache presque le bruit du moteur.

Vers 4 heures les premières voitures passent, puis les camions, les policiers présents essayent de faire passer des gens de chaque coté a tour de rôle, mais une fois que les camions commencent à venir dans l’autre sens ils n’arrivent pas a les arrêter. Ils finissent par réussir à nous faire passer, et nous arrivons à nous faufiler entre les camions, il y en a plus de cinquante et quand ils passent le passage difficile, ils klaxonnent de plaisir, mais la aussi, ce ne sont pas des klaxons normaux, ils font de la musique, il n’y en a pas deux pareils, c’est un plaisir a entendre.

Une fois de l’autre cote, nous essayons d’aller jusqu’au prochain village, mais comme la nuit ne vas pas tarder a tombre, quand nous passons un hôtel nous décidons de nous y arrêter, mais pas de bol, comme il n’y a pas beaucoup de touristes cette anne suite aux degats de route, il est ferme, après de longues discutions avec un policier qui est present et un local qui semble être en charge du batiment, nous nous mettons d’accord, il y a une chambre qui est ouverte, et commme Fabian et Juan n’ont pas de tentes ca nous arrange bien, ils peuvent y dormir, et nous campons sur le gazon. Nous preparons une petite portion de riz et et y ajoutons une boite de poulet au curry et nous partageons ca entre nous 7 et décidons de nous coucher tôt pour partir au plus tôt le lendemain matin pour essayer d’avancer un peu plus.