broken fuel line in tribal area

Powercuts are common in Pakistan, so also in Quetta. Normally there is nothing to it. But when the fan on the room stops, it can become very humid and hot and therefor difficult to wake up. ‘Water, water’.. michel says with the voice of a man who has been wandering in the desert for weeks.

It takes us quite a while to get started and get our stuff packed. We have another long ride ahead of us towards Multan. There are however two options; the southern and much longer route over a reasonable road and the shorter road over a questionable road. We decide to ask a local and the first person we see is a hotel attendent. He advises us to take the northern route but not the main signposted route. Very good road to Loralai he sais. We are happy not having to head south again, deeper into Baluchistan where tribes rule.

We head into town, change some money at an ANZ bank and drive to the first proper petrol station we come across. When we finish filling the tank one of the attendents points to the back of the car and sais; ‘oh sir, not good.. leakage’.

I (michel) run behind the car and see that the leakage is coming from the engine department. Shit!!! I immediately know that this could cause a problem with the batteries and hope they will not short circuit and catch a flame. I act quickly by removing the rack on the back and in the meantime i shout to Elles to bring some tools. Within two minutes i have the battery removed and the wires taped so they can’t short circuit anymore. We wonder where the leakage is coming from and have a close look. An attendent who was watching sees it first. Its a pressure pipe on the left hand site above the battery that is leaking a lot of fuel. I guess we were right in time with removing the battery by the looks of the petrol stream. All we can do is replace a bit of fuel line and start searching our spareparts. Unfortunately we don’t have any which means one of us has to go back in the centre. The attendent knows a place and decides to come a long. 10 minutes later we return with a new one and install it. Pfeww, that was close.

The road to Multan was supposed to be good. Well it is reasonable untill you’ve driven one third. Then the road deteriorates fast and is unsurfaced for most of the time. This slows us down to about 20 k an hour. The car rocks heavily and so do we. But our VW is a sturdy one and keeps on going nicely. Just when Elles has enough of all the rocking and is irritated that the man had said ‘good road’, the road turns into a brand new road. We speed up again, fortunately, and reach Loralai an hour before dark.

The town is dominated by men with bushy beards and huge turbans. Everywhere we look men are starring at us in disbelief, wondering why on earth two westerners show up in ‘their town’ that has little to offer. We quickly park the car in a hotel parking lot and check in a room. Better not to go out on the street at night, better to eat close at restaurant whispers the hotel owner when we check our room. We will, thanks for the advise!

We are stunned by everything thats happening in front of our eyes. This is a wild looking true tribal (Pashtun) town, as explained over dinner by a local policeman. Most area’s are unsafe at night, we are told, and we can reason why. The few men that are eating there were not teached the western manners we try to uphold. In between bites, men are spitting in designated bowls on the floor and rip the meat of the bones like cavemen. This certainly kills our appetite. Every few minutes a men walks in pretending to check out the menu but is actually interested in us.Then they leave in silence. After a quick curry with some rice we say goodbye to the policeman and head back to the room.