Overland 1972 - Day 42


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Middle East » Iran » East » Mashhad
March 24th 1972
Published: April 19th 2013
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Day 42 - Friday 2th March

My sleeping bag was soaked with condensation from the sportsman blanket, which I had used as added protection to keep out the cold - sadly no much chance of that but at least it had added a few degrees. My stomach had started to be affected by the deteriorating quality of the diet - with a bit of luck two tablets would be enough to help me survive the day (lets face it, there would be distinct lack of comfort breaks on the bus journey). I had been taking vitamin tablets to add some vitamin C to my diet but alas where was the bottle ! My cold was still pretty bad and a significant number of the passengers on the bus seem to be suffering with the same problem - not a pleasant atmosphere.

The border was close by and first stop as Customs. The officials did not check any of the baggage but contented themselves with recording any valuables such as cameras on the passport. Next step was the Police Office. Here the police checked the visa, stamped the passport and entered my details in their ledger - another border with no problem. The road was in reasonable condition with the exception of sections by streams or rivers. Here you could see lots of debris from the floods. There appeared to be more villages and a hint of green in the pastures where for most of the journey since Turkey it had been just a bleak landscape. There were also Bedouin tents by the side of the roads and a few camels. The journey was not too long and the bus arrived in Herat at midday. The bus had been fairly full and we were crammed together with the locals. Our two American friends were staying in Herat but our Pakistani friend was travelling to Kabul. We had already been advised in Iran that the best choice for the next part of the journey was the Qaderi bus company which of course was based the other side of Herat. We hired a horse drawn taxi (cart really) across town and quickly bought tickets for Kabul. The cost was 200 Afghanis (approx £1) and the bus was due to leave at 3pm and would arrive in Kabul 24 hours later.

We found a restaurant but sadly another problem - I had to return my omelette so that it could be cooked for longer. Funny really as they warned me to be careful in Kabul as meat can be undercooked in some restaurants there.

The food over, it was back to travelling. Our seats were spread throughout the bus and my seat was at the back away from all of the other westerners - it would be a quiet journey and sign language only. In fact, I sat next a youngish local man and his son. They were very friendly and smiled a lot. The journey was uneventful. As night fell, you could see numerous Bedouin tents by the side of the road and their fires. The scenery was very rugged with lots of high plateaux in the distance. There was only occasional evidence of the floods, which according to the Kabul Times had killed over 100 people in the Herat region. The bus stopped for a meal break in early evening but alas I could not face eating the food on display. The rice was bright yellow and full of black bits (husks probably) and the meat looked very poor quality - just so unappetising and not the best after a stomach upset. Luckily one of the travellers, who we had spoken to in London, had recommended that we should buy an emergency food ration for the journey! As a result, I had two tins of tuna tucked away safely in my rucksack. I sat at the cafe table with my cup of Afghan tea and pulled back the lid on my can of tuna much to the surprise and interest of the Afghans near by - it entirely delicious !

The bus arrived in Kandahar after midnight and you had the choice of a few hours in a hotel or alternatively just to sleep on the bus. I choose the later but alas the loudest snoring I had ever heard in my lifetime meant a sleepless night.

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