donderdag 26 juli 2012

Saved from a disaster on the road from Srinagar to Amritsar

For the distance from Srinagar to Amritsar is not that big and we have time for we have to wait for our visa, we didn’t leave Srinagar that early. Maybe not very clever of us…… What a traffic and they were riding as idiots, We’ve never experienced it like this in India; even the big trucks and busses overtake in blind curves so we had to use our brakes in those curves very often. And as usual, everybody wants to be the first and tries to get squeezed in, no matter what. We called the National Highway between Calcutta and Varanasi “ The Suicide Highway”  but this one beats it! 

So far so good, we stopped for lunch just before Baboti. It was very busy and I parked my bike after a few trucks and Mirjam first parked her bike after mine but then she decided to park hers just before mine. That was a great decision seemed later on…….. We had lunch and paid the bill and just finishing that we saw an truck coming down the road, driving very fast, towards our vehicles… WTF is going on????????? The bikes!!!!!!!!! Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The truck hit my bike and crashed down the mountain. In the few seconds that I only saw the truck and not the bikes it was like time stood still: What happened here????? The truck got down the mountain and we saw both our bikes laying on the ground. In the meantime Mirjam already ran to the bikes shouting: the bikes!!!!!!!! Of which she felt later sorry about because the driver of the truck was crashed also and her (and mine also) thought was the bikes. The driver and assistant survived the accident fortunately; unbelievable that some can survive this kind of crash but they did. As I said, the truck hit my bike and the frame was bended and my trunk was damaged also. And if Mirjam didn’t park her bike before mine her and my bike were down the mountain also. It was crazy like hell…. The truck down and our bikes still up. It was crowded with people and in no time the frame was bended back and the trunk was hammered back in shape. The owner of the restaurant was the one who was very helpful and offered us tea or coffee. You have to know that Mirjam said, just before lunch was served, it’s quiet here, no local press or anything, as a joke of course. But the press came and we were interviewed again about the accident. 

Anyway, we headed on, easy going for we were shocked and my bike showed a warning sign. After 30 km’s approximately we’ve found a nice hotel, Pine View, where we stayed We were offered tea by a group of 20 Indian friends and it was very cheerful!! The scenery today was very beautiful but due to the crazy traffic and the nearly-disaster you should almost forget it. Jammu and Kashmir is very beautiful; it’s beginning to look like The Alps in Europe. In this hotel it happened again; the barging in of the personnel in the hotel room. If the door is not locked, they come in without waiting for a sign from us that it is OK to come in. Unbelievable…… 

The next morning we left for Amritsar. The first 20 km’s we took the NH and then we took a smaller road through the mountains, what beautiful scenery here again. Like all over India, the same here, every state you cross, the landscape, the people, everything is different. You feel/smell/see it in everything, like you cross the border of the Netherlands and Belgium for instance. It’s amazing, we are in Punjab now and we have to take the National Highway again. We are going well and in the early afternoon we reach Amritsar. We find a hotel in the Old City at 10 minutes walking distance of the Golden Temple. The bikes we parked in front of the hotel, it’s safe for there is a guard in the evening and night time. 

We hear the next day hat our visa for Pakistan and Iran are in our emergency passports and are being send with DHL to Amritsar DHL office, Joehoeeeeeee!!!!!!!! We visit the Golden Temple which is very impressive. It is so hot that we had to sit down in an alley where some wind blew, a lot of Indians did that too of course, it was almost unbearable so hot it was. A Sikh man tried to explain us things about the Sikh faith but we lost the story…… we were offered water and tea, so very nice, but then we moved on. 

We had an appointment at 16.00 hrs at the tourist office with a taxi driver. We went to the Wagah Border for the Ceremony. Imagine this: 2 large ladies with 6 other people in a small taxi for a 30 kms drive in the heath. Anyway, we arrived there safely. It was great what we saw: an enormous crowd at the Indian side and far much less at the Pakistani side of the border. Border guards with beautiful outfits, women, young and old, carrying the Indian Flag around, nice music, people dancing shouting out loud, building up the tension at both sides of the border. And then the tall border guards enter the court and the show begins. Each marching with big steps and high legs towards the Pakistani border and at the other side the same. When all the guards took their position the 2 national flags were going down and the border is closed. After that we headed back to Amritsar

The next day we went for a swim. The hotel manager said that in Amritsar is a club where they have a swimming pool. Before that we went to a computer repair store. Mirjam’s laptop maybe can be repaired there. We walked to the big garden where the Club was but we could not get in for a swim. Some lousy, no English speaking guys said so. We were not amused how he treated us and asked for his boss. Waking up there a man came towards us and brought us to the President of the Club. We got water and a soft drink and a cigarette and he made an exception for us. We had to pay 200 roepies each but got a refund of 100 later. We were a circus attraction I think here. Man and women came to look at us but later, the man who took care of the pool, send them away and we could swim without being disturbed. Incredible how the women raise their sons here…… they are getting their sons to the pool and showed us to them. In their eyes, what are we???? 

After the swimming we went to the Mac Donald’s to grab a bite and after that we went back to the hotel. I was not feeling well, the burger was twisting around in my stomach and Mirjam went down to the reception of the hotel to write something for the blog. After the night rest we both had sore backs, we lay in bed too long thru Track and Trace of DHL we found out that our documents are in Delhi, We are hoping we get them today so we can leave for Pakistan tomorrow morning.

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