A few days ago things were looking bleak, but within 24 hours all that was behind me. Life looked pretty good again. I know I’m repeating myself here, but waking up after a good night’s sleep and enjoying a hot shower certainly changes ones outlook and it helps to see the solution more clearly. After the futile struggle of the day before I felt the only way to fix the problem with the bike was to call on my friends in Lahore, who not only speak good English but who would know exactly where to locate what I needed.
Without hesitation, Ali & Akbar scoured the markets for three hours, found the only two right sized tubes available and arranged to have them sent to Multan. What is remarkable about this is that both these men had already set off on their holiday, yet without hesitation on receiving my call, went back to the city to help a friend in need.
Those who’ve traveled abroad know how frustrating it is to not speak the language, to struggle to be understood and to try to be patient when everything seems impossible. Multiply this tenfold when you have a bike that’s in pieces, and everything that’s tried only makes the problem worse. Being stranded in a place that’s chaotic when all you want to do is crawl in a hole and sit in silence and be able to think clearly is exhausting & stressful. It’s the loss of control that is so hard to handle and yet I wonder if I’m ever truly in control? On the days when all’s going well I think I have a handle on it. Effie’s bopping along nicely and I feel I can achieve anything. But then we hit a pothole, break a few spokes and all that changes.
In retrospect, there are things I could have done differently before the day turned to crap. I didn’t need to spend hours chuffing needlessly round a city looking for an address. Covering 250 kms in a day is a recipe for disaster – and I needed a reminder that this sort of lunacy doesn’t bode well even on a good day. What was I thinking? After an hour of fruitless searching I could have said stuff it and ticked that one off my list. But, I was carrying a photo with me of a guy I’d met by chance in Hay, NSW. Nasir is in Oz for four years studying and I wanted to give the photo of him posing with the FN to his family, (including his new wife), who no doubt all missed him terribly. But it wasn’t to be.
Well, true to their word the heavy duty tubes arrived safely from Ali & Akbar. I managed to fit them and the new spokes without any hassles, though I was pretty worn out by late afternoon, ending it with an interview for The Sadaat News. Rather than return with the bike to the hotel I left Effie in the newspaper office for the night given this was the direction I’d be heading out of town in the morning. No doubt she felt safe with a heavily armed presence guarding her.
Itching to get on the road again, I was all packed and ready to go at daybreak. Winter thermals are stowed away and aren’t likely to see the light of day for some months to come. It’s not even 6am and already the day is hot. Everyone says summer is on the way and I know I’ve some of my toughest still to come. It’s expected I’ll have a police escort once I leave Multan, though how and where that will occur I’m not too sure. The plan is to make it to Bahåwalpur, a nice easy ride if the roads are good. It feels exciting to be heading south towards another country thanks to Ali & Akbar. My heartfelt appreciation for your kind assistance….again. Have a safe and wonderful holiday brothers!
Bahut, bahut Shukriya.