The Road to Bangladesh - Taz Makes It
The Road Issue 7 - November - December 2006
Continued from last issue where we left Taz about to fly to Kabul having shipped his bike on the roof of a coach through the impassable parts of Afghanistan.
He needs a part for his Wing which he hopes will arrive in Kabul, Yetti is his email correspondent from the Goldwing club in the UK...
I am in Kabul. My parcel is not here. And I heard that TNT wouldn't take it. I didn't want to use them anyway. Also DHL or UPS wouldn't take it, so it had to go Parcel Force World Wide? I am in the Intercontinental Hotel at the moment. Will they ship it out? If not I will come back to the UK and fly back with it. It's £100 a day here. Oxygen is free, everything else is treble. So many UN people and American company reps making lots of wonga, prices are high.
Dear Wingers. Tomorrow I hope to get the Bike running. I got the case welded and I think it will get me to my last destination. Weather here is cool in evenings and 75F during the day. There are so many dirt roads in Kabul that there is a constant dusty haze. The people that made my gasket up were using 10 year olds to service and repair motorbikes and cars. I think they start them off once they are weaned. This is the last bit before Pakistan. I won't be sorry to say goodbye. At least I can use my visa and it is more up to date in Pakistan.
I couldn't wait for the part any longer as I could wait 'til Christmas for all I know. Very large thanks to all who have helped me with advice and all at HGB, also Keith for technical advice. I have been told it's 5 to 6 hours to get to the Khyber pass. I will keep you all posted.
Bike seems to be fixed thank God.
Tomorrow me and Tango are ready to rock and roll. As long as I get out to Pakistan, new adventures and people. At my hotel I met a bloke from Switzerland with a 1500 winger, he's working on a power station for Kabul, small world eh?
Rain all day in Kabul, so much mud here. After taking Tango out she looked like a tractor covered in mud. One hour just washing it off (mud is good for your complexion, I told her).
It's a good job he had the part welded, as today the part was sent back to HGB. Parcel Force will not deliver to Afganistan either!
Day 24 - Yetti
I spoke to Taz, all is well the bike runs ok, but no reverse or cruise control. I don't think he needed the cruise control today! He covered 120 miles from Kabul to the mouth of the Khyber Pass - in 9 hours? Mud roads and closed roads that he went down didn't help. The closed road, that he didn't know was closed, led to a bridge that was not there! With help he managed to get Tango along a path to the other side. The pass closes at night so he is on his way tomorrow morning into Pakistan. Then he will email all the gory details and hopefully some pictures.
He is definitely cracking up! He told me himself! He kept apologising to Tango 1 for the bad roads and all the mud. Only another 2000-odd miles to go.
Go on my son, we know you can do it.
Dear Wingers, one and all.
Thank you for hanging on in here with me. I left Kabul and headed towards Pakistan thinking I would get there in 4 hours tops, but it took me 9 hours non stop. Barely at walking pace for half an hour at a time. Got blisters on my left hand. The road is not for any thing bar 4-wheel drive, or Honda Motocross XT500s. To say it was difficult is an understatement.
As there is so much dust they regularly spray water from big tankers onto the road which is the main road East going out of Afghanistan. It's chaos, people overtaking, big craters in the road and mud and more mud. Tango (bless her) doesn't like mud. She does the hippy shake as she fights for traction. She barely made it up one incline as she couldn't get a grip. All this at never more than 20 mph at the best. The engine seems OK, no oil drips. I think out of the 150 + miles today, 10 were on tarmac. Anyway I got to Torkham, a border town with Pakistan, just as it was getting dark.
"Where is Passport control?" I asked.
"Gone home," was the reply.
"It's only 4.45pm" says I, "you are supposed to be open till 6pm."
"I know, there is nothing you can do, come back tomorrow" he tells me.
So I am in a little grotty place, no hotels or anything. Everywhere I go I am followed by a small crowd, so I went into a little office and asked to see the manager who showed me where to put the bike somewhere safe and gave me his bed and supper. What Kind people.
We are right next to the mountains that the allies bombed looking for Osama Bin Laden with the B52 bombers.
Seven am, I cross into Pakistan which takes 2 hours.
"You must take a guard on the bike." I am told.
"Well he can't sit on the bike, I have no room" I tell him.
"Put it on a truck"
It weighs 450 kgs, not possible."
"Well you can't go."
"I haven't come 5000 miles for you to tell me I can't carry on."
In the end they relent. The roads are good,
Tango is happy and she is singing as she whispers along.
Back to civilisation. Hoorah!
The Khyber Pass is awesome.
I am in Islamabad going to the Indian crossing in 2 days time. I have nothing but admiration for Tango, she put up with a lot of shit but made it. The fact that she didn't fall apart after the hours of severe vibes is a real testament to her construction, but Afganistan is not ready for travellers yet.
Day 27 & 28 Yetti
Taz is doing some site seeing in Islamabad, tomorrow he's off to visit Lahore then it's off to India, destination this time is New Delhi.
Tango is in a locked compound for safety. She draws such crowds when he stops, its quite amazing. The people are even coming from the surrounding area just to see the Wing, sounds like a poser's heaven?
He did say that he might try and get into Burma as well, that will make it another country and another £1 for the charities? I don't know why he cannot pop into Tibet and China while he is at it?
At my reckoning he has about another 1500 mile to go to his goal, Dakha, Bangladesh. He is back on his original mobile number now, if you ring or text the Afghanistan number one you will probably get an Afghanistan person answer, as he gave the sim card away to one, Bin something or other his name was??
I am in Amritsa, West of Delhi. Weather 75F, roads OK.
It took 2 hours through Indian customs. as they love red tape here which they learned from the British!
Looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal. Petrol about 65p a litre. Pakistan was very crowded. Just Bangladesh to do, and Bingo! I will try to get into Myanmar, Burma, we will see. Lots of Enfield Bullets here. And locally made Honda Heroes, 125cc bikes.
Day 30 & 31 Yetti
I spoke to Taz who is in Delhi now. Staying in a cheap $250 a night hotel. I always thought that it was cheap in India? He did confess that one of his fears was realised-he ran out of petrol on the way to Delhi! In seconds a crowd of about 60 was round him. Luckily one of his new found groupies got him a litre of petrol and 50 Rupees later he was on his way again.He was having a day in Delhi then off to the Taj Mahal.
He has managed to get his pictures put onto CD and is sending them to me. Tango is still going great and Steve said "she is a lot happier on tarmac roads, I think she loves me again!"
I am getting worried about him and "HER."
Day 32 & 33
Dear Wingers and bikers.
Thank you for your good wishes. Not long to go. Done 600 miles In 2 days.
I hope to be at the Taj Mahal in Agra. I am in Jaipur, (the pink city), with Delhi Belli and a chest Infection. I am locking the bike away and using tourist buses, as I cannot leave the bike anywhere.
I had an accident with a bus that hit me in traffic while I was stationary. He had no insurance or wing mirrors, which they fold in in case they get struck. Light damage only.
I just toppled over onto an adjoining car.
I asked the driver why the bus driver didn't stop.
"What for?" he asked.
It's a very exciting Continent, the roads are well tarmaced and most of the people are charming and helpful.
Tango has had a wash and tidy up. She is looking sexy and a lot of elephants want to date her. No chance, she's mine. There is a problem with my phone server here after 10am British time, I cannot receive or make calls. It seems that everywhere that I am about to go, bombings happen. I see in the news that Bangladesh has had some bombings with 6 people killed. India has also closed the border so I don't know if or when I can cross. Who said winging is easy? But I will get there I am sure
Thanks again to all the regions for your support, hope to be back before Xmas.
The Taj Mahal.
Awesome, beautiful, and I managed to see it for nothing (it cost 750 Rupees) but my taxi driver showed me from the other bank. It is on a bank of a very low river.
Still got chest trouble but something like Benalyin is keeping the bronchus open.
Still have to keep the bike under cover as it causes traffic jams. It gets a bit too much in this heat. I suppose Tango likes it cos she's a tart really. Foods OK if you like curry with everything. But no moaning it's an adventure and I'm getting a tan.
Day 39 & 40
I left Varanasi (the holiest of Hindu places) and rode for 13 and a half hours to cover 540 miles, my arse was tender.
Tango has been happy as some of the roads have been tarmac. We still cannot get used to people coming the wrong way on a dual carriageway, especially at nights with no lights on and no street lighting.
We are now in Calcutta for 2 days, Tango is locked away resting. I believe the border with Bangladesh has closed because of the bombing. We will see.
There is a petrol strike here at the moment. I have done 7300 miles not counting the Channel crossing and the 650 miles Tango spent on the top of an Afghani coach getting past the Taliban, - BASTARDS!
Anyway I hope to do the last 500 odd miles soon and get home for Chrissy.
I spoke to Taz today; he is not getting a signal all the time on his phone and the Internet is very slow, when he can find a place that has it, that is. He did say he sent an email a few days ago but I never got it. It was about Varanasi where he stayed. He said they do cremations by the river 24 hrs a day. He just cannot keep away from work can he? (Taz is an undertaker).
I never knew that he was born in Calcutta, he visited the place he was born (I think it was a hospital) and said it looked like a B&Q!
He was caught out by the petrol strike and had to buy some from a local to get him into Calcutta. If the border is open he hopes to get to Dhaka in the next few days, about another 500 miles, then after Tango 1 is safely on her way home he will come home.
Day 41, 42 & 43
He's done it.
The Road to Bangladesh has been completed. I have still not got any emails from Taz but I spoke to him on Saturday and he was about 150 miles from Dhaka. Mileage to date was 7800 not including Tango's 650 mile coach ride.
Tango had another run-in with a man on a pushbike. this time she lost a wing mirror. And after a row with the rider it was on the road again. What insurance details?
He hopes to get Tango crated and flown back to the UK before he leaves Bangladesh but if he cannot sort this quickly she will be left there and he will go back in January to sort it then.
All in all I think that for a man who gets lost in England and Europe, and even managed to go to the Dutch Treffen a week before it started, (he looked at the previous year's Wing Span right venue wrong date). He has done fantastically well. I wonder if he would do it again with another 5 or 6 wings with him, I have his phone number if you fancy it?
Well done Taz, we are all looking forward to gathering round with a beer or two to hear about the stuff that we couldn't print, if you know what I mean!
Day 44 & 45
As you know I've made it. Thanks for all the emails, texts and support. You all kept me buzzing. Thanks all of you, you are all very special Bikers and make me feel privileged to be associated with you all including the ladies that put up with you, and vice versa.
Tango now is going on a cruise to sunny Felixstowe and will be arriving back home in about 40 days.
I couldn't join her but she deserves a rest.
Her tacho is past the 20k mark now. She has been bloody good to me. Hope to see you all in the new season.
Full story and pictures : www.freewebs.com/capitalwin