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Monday, 21 October 2013


14th June 2013
I checked out early this morning as I had a long way to go. My plan was to ride to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, about 8 - 12 hours riding, depending on the road condition. Unfortunately, not long after I exited Mazar, I was stopped at a check point and upon knowing that I am heading to Kabul and was all alone, the border guards didn’t let me pass. They warned me that the situation in Kabul was unstable and that there was a bombing there just a week ago. I told them that I knew about the bombing, but I stubbornly dared to take my own risk. My principle was very easy – If you are scheduled to die, it will happen even in the comfort of your own matter where, no matter when.....not one minute early, and not one minute delay. If you are destined to suffer, it is going to happen no matter what precaution you took. So, why the fuss? Didnt you believe in qada and qadar? Leave it all to Him. He’s the best protector.
However, the guards still didn’t want to let me pass. After some appealing which led to argument, and back to appealing again, and I was still not permitted to pass, I had no choice but to head back from where I was coming. I was very frustrated. The last words of the guard were, “as brothers and sisters in Islam, it’s our responsibility to make sure that you are safe while in Afghanistan. Going to Kabul is very dangerous for a man riding solo on a motorbike, what more for a woman!!!” There’s nothing more that I could do, so with a heavy heart, I turned back and rode all the way to Hairatan (the border). While on the bike, I silently whispher to myself that one fine day.....with or without DREAM, I will set my foot in Kabul. Thats a promise.

Since Kabul was no longer possible, I had to make a new plan now. I decided to head to Bukhara instead. The sand storm happened again while I was on my way. I had to ride very carefully.

Sand storm
Unlike the other Stans, there were lots of motorbikes in Afghan
Upon reaching the border, it took me only 5 minutes to clear my passport at the war country side, and 2.30hrs in the Uzbek side. It was the same border which I had passed and it were the same officers who had checked me thoroughly yesterday. Instead of getting a quicker check because they recognised me very well, just because I was entering from Afghan, the checking was stricter than ever. I was very annoyed, but rule of the thumb when doing border crossing was to keep your cool. I told myself to be patience and keep smiling sweetly, or else they can give me trouble. Not only my bags, myself, and my top pannier were checked, they even asked me to take off DREAM’s seat and opened the lid of the fuel tank to check what’s inside!!! OMG, I can’t imagine how long the checking will take should I had not kept some of my stuff at the hotel in Termiz. They were laughing  at me (even though I smiled and obeyed). I knew that these guys were having fun bullying me and attempting for a bribe, but I just remained calm. In the end, when they couldn’t find any fault on my side, and didn’t get the money that they wanted (they clearly and verbally mentioned “Euro” @ “Dollar” to me which I ignored), they let me go. God knew how pissed off I was that I can’t help screaming once I had left the border for about 50m.

I rode back to the hotel in Termiz to get my stuff and fixed my side panniers to the bracket which I had repaired in Mazar yesterday. The road from Termiz to Shurobod via M39 was fine, but started to deteriorate soon after. I had to ride on gravels on and off for about 70kms. The strong wind from Afghan seemed to be following me all the way into Uzbek, but with more powerful blow. It was a nightmare to ride DREAM on gravels in this condition. I felt so exhausted but I must reached Bukhara today, no matter what. When I managed to ride on paved road again, the wind started to come from the sides, and with every blow, within seconds, the cross wind pushed me either to the side or to the middle of the road, that I almost collided with other vehicles coming from the opposite way. This was indeed a scary experience. The view of Hisor Mountain Range, near Boyson was spectacular with orange and brownish mountains and gorge, but it was impossible to take pics in this strong wind. I dare not get down from DREAM, afraid it will topple anytime. Even though I had parked DREAM by the road side, I can’t even stable the camera in my hands while sitting on the shaking bike (due to the wind). 

I thought that after the road construction part was over, the road will improved, but how wrong I was. The paved road via A380 was very bumpy, sunken to the sides according to the heavy lorry trail and with lots of pot holes everywhere, some as big as the size of a motorbike. It was a stressful ride to me, especially when the sun was going down and its shine shone directly into my face and my eyes, who were heading exactly west to my destination. In the end, I reached Bukhara, totally exhausted after 13 hours on the road (including border crossing and picking up my stuff at the hotel), covering a distance of 560kms from Mazar E Shariff.

p/s: A more detailed story about my journey will be told in my upcoming book. More beautiful pics of course. STAY TUNED.....



Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')