Pickle

Aug 13th

I find myself in one hell of a situation at the moment. My car is stuck on natural disaster island, Pakistan embassy wont process my visa, or nigles, China route around Pakistan from Nepal is closed, China route via Burma is flooded and bridges decimated, my hair keeps falling out, China permissions, if we find a route, will take over a month to process and is 10k, India has been ravaged by landslides if we make it through, and I stubbed my toe today. Feel like I’m waiting for Walter from the Big Labowski to tell me I’m out of my element. Not quiet sure how to get around most of these issues. If I delay too long then I’m driving Kazakhstan in winter and the chariots heater is bush league. Lots of decisions to be made in the next few days so I’m headed to Mustang in Nepal where there is no Internet. That should help. Mustang is interesting though because it’s close to Tibet and is currently closed due to landslides, well unless you have a local guide that can pull some strings. Will be up there for the next 5 days and wont see tarmac for any of them. Apparently we cross a river which is fed by glacier run off and if its too high we might have to find a local truck to take us across. When I booked this trip my guide and I were talking and my question was “Buddy I want to get into some crazy areas of Nepal, I mean where roads are not passable, we make our own way, and people say what the hell is that Galloping ghost thing doing here.” His reply “then we go to mustang”. When he told his Bike Club he was going to mustang this time of year they all said hes lost it (and not the loving feeling). Tomorrow we boogie, should be fun.

Im currently back in Pokhara after a lovely day at the India and Pakistan embassies. Please note, don’t ask the guard at the India embassy where the Pakistani embassy is, he wont answer you and makes a “I would love to smack you in the kisser right now” face. If you have ever tried to apply for a India visa yourself you know it can be cumbersome. I was told by 4 different visa agencies and one India embassy that you cannot apply for a India visa if you still have a valid one, and you cannot extend a current visa. Mine is up Sept 1st and with the chariot in Myanmar showing off I needed to sort this out. So apply for a business visa right, problem solved. Problem not solved. Went to the embassy and if you are in Nepal on a tourist visa you cannot apply for a business visa. Awesome news. Lady was nice enough to allow me to apply for a tourist visa but then I needed to fill out my online form again. If any little thing is wrong you are asked to fill it out again online and this is not done in 5 min. I found an agent to help and I ended up filling up the form 4 times…I was the first in line yesterday and the last to leave. Know my way around the embassy that’s for sure.

On the way to the Pakisatn embassy Claudia and I took what might be the worst taxi in Nepal, and that’s a big statement because there are some doozies here. It had caught on fire before and only the outside had been painted. Trunk was, well there was no trunk so the exhaust fumes would come straight in the can which forced us to hang our heads out the window like two Labradors that were on their first car ride. Cushion was gone on my side and it felt like the only reason the car haddent fallen apart was because the driver was a fan of big league chewing gum and used the remains to weld shit together. After a 15min ride I was ready to lay down and take the long nap, no idea how he drives that thing. Since Claudia would have ceased to be if she had taken the little engine that barely could to the airport we had to find a new cab, but cabs are on strike in Kathmandu so that’s not as easy as we thought. After 45min searching for cabs and in danger of missing the flight we got despite. I started asking anyone in a helmet if they could drive my buddy to the airport. Figured Nepalese dudes would love to take a white girl for a ride on their pony, not the case. Eventually she would take the local bus that was only a half a notch better than the cab.

Once at the Pakistan embassy I was asked to fill out forms that took about 1.5hrs then proceed to the visa office. Once inside they looked at my form and asked if I was from Nepal. I said your holding my American passport soooo, no. Reply was that I can only apply in my home country. That was excellent information I could have used an hour ago when I was trying to fill in where my boss from Coldstar Ltd in 2004 went to college and how many brothers and sisters he had. Even tried to call the Pakistan ambassador in Nepal but for some reason he didn’t want to take my call. Anyway Mustang tomorrow and lets hope its dry.


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