We finally get it together – bikes out of customs and visas for China sorted from the consulate here in Karachi, Pakistan. We are set to leave town, 3 days later than we’d planned but everything is in place, all 3 bikes and riders are good to go.
It’s hot in Karachi the day we start riding and a relief to get beyond the city’s teeming streets and out on to the road to Lahore some 1500kms north east. The armed escort remains until we’re 50 kms out of town and after the obligatory photos of uniforms, guns and bikes we’re off – tourists are a rare species indeed in Pakistan nowadays and so we can’t help but draw attention. Second days beyond Hyderabad is a real hotty and the mercury doesn’t sink below 47 as we skirt the Kachi and Thar deserts of this lowlands province of Sindh. Indeed the temperatures are too hot and I find I can’t ward off dehydration and high body temperatures and so have to retreat short of our destination of Sukkur, a victim of heatstroke. I find this is going to keep me off the bike for the next 4 days as I just can’t seem to regulate my body temperature when exposed to the ongoing 40 plus temperatures. For me the ride won’t resume until Islamabad, Jo and Dave however – while hotter than comfortable – are able to keep it together in the 40 plus temperatures that test them all the way to Lahore. Well done.
Lahore turns out to be a great city with some fine mosques and fortresses and tree-lined streets that give relief from the arid, unrelentingly hot desert lands to its southwest. We enjoy the local food although it’s quick to move through and none of us have been without stomach gripes and loose bowels since we hit Pakistan. In 2005 we had this continual affliction (that does help you lose weight) and we christened it the Silk Road Squirts. Little has changed – it comes with the territory hereabouts it seems, adaption of our stomachs to the local fare will take a few weeks.