Singapore - Stockholm Part 3.

Demonstrations and street fighting in Islamabad.

rockthrowers.JPG (61414 bytes) The action started instantly after arrival in Islamabad! Violent battles between demonstrators, who wanted to overthrow the Bhutto regime and heavily armed police.
islpolice.JPG (54546 bytes) The police force at first tried to keep the demonstrators calm in a quite peaceful way.

aabparacsgas.JPG (46979 bytes) When this tactic didn't work out, the started to fire teargas and plastic bullets in to the crowds. In the end of the day some parts of Islamabad was covered in clouds of teargas. The campsite were I stayed was a full on battlefield between the two forces.
teargasface.JPG (48421 bytes) After a full day in the middle of the mess, both eyes and lungs were pretty screwed up...

Cycling: Islamabad-Peshawar-Chitral-Shandur-Gilgit-Islamabad.

lowaritop.JPG (59408 bytes) The 3100 meter high Lowari pass was steep and after my break after the Nepali bus accident, I could feel my legs. The reward was the fantastic views from the top of the pass.
downlowari.JPG (82303 bytes) After ca 50 Swtichbacks on the north side of the pass I lost count. The whole mountainside was like a big snake of road going down into Chitral valley.
unluckytruck.JPG (72272 bytes) We made it down, but this truck didn't have the same luck. It went over the ledge and somersaulted three sections down. The driver and the passengers were really lucky and managed to get out out before the truck went over the side.
chitralmosque.JPG (81184 bytes) Chitral's beautiful mosque with Tirich Mir, 7700m,  in the back round.
stephan.JPG (70021 bytes) Stephan at the foot of the mountains before Shandur Pass.
z.JPG (93333 bytes) The, for cyclists, famous "Z" before Shandur Pass. Rough climbing on a wall of gravel.
shandurapproach.JPG (50549 bytes) In the end of the climb, we realized we had an oncoming blizzard rapidly closing in from the west.
whiteout.JPG (79435 bytes) We had no other choice than camping on top of the pass. - 19 C, inside the tent. The blizzard kept on palgueing us the next day and it was really difficult to find the road in the whiteout.
pakivillage.JPG (218311 bytes) The next couple of days were cold, down to -20 C and it wonderful to stop in the small villages to drink a cup of steaming hot tea.
meetinginsnow.JPG (91408 bytes) Finally, some clear weather. We welcomed the sun and the ride become a more enjoyable.
coldview.JPG (79586 bytes) Crystal clear skies and beautiful surroundings made us forget the cold.
downhillphander.JPG (80448 bytes) Downhill to warmer areas.
coolshooter.JPG (85164 bytes) The locals in the area is pretty "macho". The shepherd on the picture, refused to be photographed unless he could pretend to shoot at the photographer.
kkhview.JPG (70837 bytes) Everything became so much easier when we hit The  Karakoram Highway. Good road conditions, almost no hills and our progress towards Islamabad was a breeze after the cold and hard route in the northwest of Pakistan.


nokalashnikovs.JPG (56329 bytes) It was depressing to visit the bombed out city of Kabul. The people suffered from hunger and the draconic regime of the Talibans had prohibited everything from music to kite flying.
kabuliwomen.JPG (47990 bytes) The women suffered the most. They were not allowed to work and couldn't even leave their homes without a male "escort". Stories about women starving to death in homes was frequently told. Those who took the change to go out anyway, had to resort to begging in the streets.
brainmarketkabul.JPG (76282 bytes) The food situation was also pretty desperate, every part of the animals were eaten, intestines, feet and brains.
kabulmarket.JPG (87905 bytes) Those who had anything to sell was very proud, especially those who had fresh fruits or vegetables.
kabulifriends.JPG (50143 bytes) Those two men had learned English in school when they were kids. They said hallo to me and were very surprised when I answered. They had tried out their language skills, addressing snobby aid workers and embassy personnel and been completely ignored. Therefore they thought they had learned a dead language and was very happy to practice their English. 
bearded.JPG (36928 bytes) The strict rules also applied for men. When the Talibans took command of the country, the male population had 45 days to grow a beard. If they failed to do so, they risked being whipped in public or getting stiff jail sentencies. I thought it was better, not taking any risks...

More demonstrations, this time a bit more peaceful.

1demos.JPG (87679 bytes) Thousands and thousands demonstrated against the Indian occupation of Kashmir.
2burningdolls.JPG (61959 bytes) Hot feelings all around and dolls symbolizing Indians were burnt all over the place.

Speedcycling: Pakistan-India-Nepal.

3goldentemple.JPG (44318 bytes) The Sikh's Golden Temple in Amritsar.
4bikeinroom.JPG (45433 bytes) We had been informed that, the ferry over the Tsangpo river at Saga didn't operate winter time, so we tried to find an alternative way. There was a cable over the mighty river....Tried out our theories in a hotel room in Katmandu. The manager wasn't very happy about it...

A winter ride: Katmandu-Kashi.

5coldasfuck.JPG (63061 bytes) We left the relative heat of Nepal behind us and went into the intense cold of the Himalayas. Here on the way up to the first 5000m passes.
6snowbags.JPG (62277 bytes) Sometimes it was impossible to find water, everything was frozen rock solid. At some occasions we cycled with over 20kg of snow on our bikes, which we later melted. Ben and Cam on the way up to the last 5000m pass before Saga..
7cooking.JPG (217228 bytes) Cam suffered from Bronchitis and we had to take some days off now and then. Ben trying to make chapatti in the camp close to Xixabangma Feng.
tsangpo1ben.JPG (139770 bytes) We were not sure how to make it over to the other side of the Tsangpo. Ben is trying out the Tibetan was to cross, i.e. strap the feet together and pull yourself over. This proved to be impossible due to our heavy gear and the bikes, which also had to come over somehow.
tsangpo3camsbike.JPG (58133 bytes) Cam had an idea about how to make the project more adventurous. With a modified back axle he intended to "cycle" to the other side. The idea was to sit on the handlebars and pedal with your hands. Unfortunately, the distance between the frame and the pedals was too long and the tracton on the cable was not good enough.
tsanpo2camshub.JPG (38905 bytes) A close up of the construction.
tsangpo6viewsouth.JPG (30082 bytes) My bike almost ready for take off to the other side.
tsanpo4coraxfarout.JPG (31941 bytes) Halfway over, some of the scrap metal we had found along the way, started to creak and make ominous noises. Got a bit wary about loosing all my gear or falling into the river. 
tsangpo5coraxcloser.JPG (36945 bytes) I felt great relief when I finally reached the other side.
12resting.JPG (108161 bytes) A mid day break in the sun. After crossing the Himalayan Range it got a little bit warmer.
10emtycamp.JPG (50996 bytes) After leaving the southern route (Lhatze-Shiquanhe) it got more and more desolate and again colder. The crossing of the Trans Himalayan range was bitterly cold and it didn't get better entering the Changtang. No villages for hundreds of km, two-three trucks a day. One of the few signs of human civilization was the circles of rocks, where shepherds put their goats in the warmer season. 
11emptyben.JPG (17889 bytes) Ben on a sunny day.
8empty.JPG (51032 bytes) On the way down from a 5300 m pass.
13emptymountains.JPG (77460 bytes) Sometimes I got the feeling of being very small on the enormous plains.
11meeting.JPG (71851 bytes) On the journey we met two other cyclists who were on their way to relatives approx. 400km away. You can do without gear, if you're hard enough....
9emptycam.JPG (55172 bytes) Cam had had problems with his cheap Chinese bike from the very first moments of the trip. This picture is taken just before he had to give up the project and hitch the last couple of days to Kashi
tibetanssnow.JPG (38684 bytes) Sometimes we got visitors at the campspot.
sunhazard.JPG (40252 bytes) The at high altitude can be very strong, even in midwinter. Completely messed up my face, during a day of intense cycle repair. Too focused on grinding sprockets and splitting the cassette to fix up my screwed up drive train.
spokes.JPG (28045 bytes) I also had some problems with the back wheel spokes. If you're desperate, everything is a good solution and this "twinning" maneuver worked all the way to Kashi. Had to stop and tighten them up a bit now and then... 
palgonlake.JPG (31827 bytes) Palgon Lake after Rutog. Finally it started to get a bit warmer.
lastpass.JPG (27786 bytes) I had very mixed feelings when I looked at the lowlands far below. Of course it would be nice to enjoy civilization and warm weather again, but on the other hand it felt strange that our journey was about to end. This picture is from the last pass before entering the Taklamakan desert.
sheepmeeting.JPG (47631 bytes) The first encounter with the Uighir people in Xinjiang province. 
drinking.JPG (41022 bytes) It was fantastic to once again be able to drink warm water.
camels.JPG (35863 bytes) The yaks were all of a sudden gone and camels took their place as pack animals.
desperateben.JPG (37081 bytes) It was a difficult transition in many ways, we were not used of crowds of people... Ben in an desperate attempt to fix his bike in Yecheng. "I've never suffered from claustrophobia before, but...".
maleuighir.JPG (43027 bytes) An old Uighir in Shiache.
uighirfemale.JPG (34630 bytes) Many of the Uighir women wore veils, in Kashi it was sometimes 45 C....
72dayleg.JPG (22710 byte) What a leg can look like after 72 days without a shower, not taking of the bicycle tights one single time. The hair and skin was coming off and was stuck inside the tights....


teinshanyurt.JPG (35091 bytes) Kirghiz nomads setting up a  yurt. It took them the better part of a day and they were very impressed when they studied me pitching mine in 2-3 minutes. Tienshan.
sweden2.JPG (83461 bytes) Last picture form the trip. I felt like shit. 21 months of cycling was suddenly to an end, but I had no choice (more about that on another location of the site.

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