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Published: October 29th 2005
The Inevitable Flat Tyre
The road from Sost to the chinese border at Kunjerab Pass is not to bad. Some parts are still paved. As soon as you are in China it is only a partly frozen mud track. We had to jeeps as our transportation which is already much better than a bus. Still we had a flat tyre just ten kilometers before Tashkurgan on the chinese side.
Further up the KKH, Sost is the last town in Pakistan. From here you can buy a ticket to Tashkurgan, the first town in China. The price is rediculous high (about 23$) compared to other Pakistani Bus fees (usually 5-10$). But the Bus goes back empty to leave the people going the other way to the Chinese company (that charges even more).
Because it was late in season already, not so many people were gathering at the Pakistani coustoms. So the company decided to send two jeeps instead of the bus. Later, when we saw the road conditions on the Chinese side we were quite happy about that. I have strong doubts a bus would have made it at all.
I have the feeling, the officials at the different coustoms in Sost, at the border, and in Tashkurgan are bored to death in these days, only so little work to do. So the enjoyed having a look at the front side and the back side of all those traveler underpants they could find in the nicely stuffed backpacks of Nick, Ko How, Gu Le, and me...
The Khunjerab Pass itself is rather unspectacular. You wouldn't quite notice it if it wasn't
Camels in the Wild
In the highlands after Khunjerab Pass the weather got really unfriendly. Freezing cold and snow strom. But the camels living in this area grow a very good isolation.
for the big Chinese borderpost building. The landscape looks more like a high plateau than like a pass in the mountains. The altitude at the highest point is about 4900m. But this did not present a problem since we had been well above 2000m almost ten days, do not need to walk up there, and stay only until the Chinese soldier is finished with our underwear.
In China we met some long-haired camels troting through the snow before we finally saw Tashkurgan at the end of the plateau. But it still had to wait for some time, just ten kilometers before the town we had our flat tire, something inevitable on this road we had been told.
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