Apr 01

A sense of perspective

by in Pakistan

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.

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13 Responses to “A sense of perspective”

  1. From wal haylock:

    hi ron———–tried to send an sms but it would not dial————nice toknow that you are still ok but obviously with plenty of difficulties——–FN stands for Flaming Nusience HA HA——-i am having dificulties getting 54mm pistons but have other things on the go right now but will persevere can get pistons but not with a 26mm compression height———i certainly would not have the stamina to do what you are attempting “how about a boat trip for yourself and effie to turkey———–i wish you all the best and will try a phonwe call some time————–cheers wal

    Posted on April 9, 2012 at 1:03 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Wal
      I have a new phone number now for Iran. Email me and I can send it to you. Sounds like you’re being kept busy with your restoration.
      Cheers, Ron

      Posted on April 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm #
  2. From Rosco:

    Hi Ronnie
    Thanks for the SMS… I really don’t know what all the fuss is about…it’s just a little cross countries jaunt, and why you can’t afford a more modern bike I don’t know.
    ps. can you pick me up a couple of carpets in Iran before your daughter goes off to the shops and spends all the money…

    be safe & enjoy – looks like a great trip

    Posted on April 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Rosco
      Yeh you’re right, it’s just a walk in the park. A few weeks from now I’ll look back on this and be saying the same as you I reckon. Plan to get away early in the morning – police escort all arranged so that should be interesting. Don’t have much room for a carpet, but I’ll see what I can do! LOL

      The Old Bloke

      Posted on April 8, 2012 at 8:50 am #
  3. From Charlie101:

    I got a smile and warm feeling, reading about a friendly unselfish action like that! It really puts the focus on friendship and how valuable and sometimes essential it is during a travel, and in life for all that. Kudos to Ali and Akbar!

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Charlie

      Yes, without the kindness of these friends I wouldn’t have got as far as I have.

      Caio, The Old Bloke

      Posted on April 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm #
  4. From faisal amin:

    Hi Ron,

    We met you in the auto-show in Lahore, held on 26th April. As lots of people were there around you, hence you will not remember me. But here I would must say that as a Father I have seen the “light” of inspiration on my 12-yrs son when he shook hands with you and then no doubt your bike was the “speciality” of the whole auto show.

    Thank you sir for stopping by in Lahore and providing inspiration to our young ones. And also I hope you would get a chance to correct the impression which is created by the media about our lovely country.
    thanks again

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 10:05 am #
    • From faisal amin:

      (Correction: it was 26th March not April)

      Posted on April 2, 2012 at 10:06 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Faisal
      Yes, it was a large crowd at the show. Terrific to hear your son was inspired and thank you for your kind comments. Pakistan is a lovely country because of its people and I’ve many fantastic memories to take with me from here. I saw the sunrise over Spezand, near Quetta this morning – what a sight!
      Thank you for sharing in my journey Faisal.


      Posted on April 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm #
  5. From Tony Herd:

    G’day Ronnie,

    So pleased you & Effie are back on the road and best pals again!

    Getting new spokes made for a 102 yr old motorcycle where you don’t speak the language takes resourcefulness and tenacity to a whole new level.

    Keep at it, Ronnie,

    Love Tony & Susie.

    Posted on April 1, 2012 at 11:00 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hey Tony my old mate

      Broke another spoke yesterday and had to replace the rings. Hanging out to get to a place I can get the wheel straightened, maybe now not til Quetta. Map coverage no good at the moment so having to get directions relayed. Apart from that, all’s well.
      Love to you and Susie.


      Posted on April 3, 2012 at 1:41 am #
  6. From Ngaere and Wayne Thomas:

    Hang in there Ronnie! It was always going to be a challenge and you will appreciate the smooth days all the more. We are thinking of you
    Love Ngaere and Wayne

    Posted on April 1, 2012 at 6:26 am #
    • From The Old Bloke:

      Hi Guys,

      Good to know you’re in the wings cheering me on. The next few weeks will be the toughest but for sure there’ll be highlights. Weather’s hot and hazy with not much to see. A cool beer wouldn’t go astray. Got to remind myself sometimes I’m having fun!

      Love to you too, Ron

      Posted on April 3, 2012 at 1:32 am #

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