I have to say this was not one of my best days………after a very disrupted nights sleep in our single beds….thanks to housekeeping waking us up to deliver water we didn’t order…..we had a bit of breakfast and packed the bike trying to be on the road for the long day ahead by 8.00am. I have not slept properly for the past two nights thanks to invasive hotel staff, and the combination of being sleep deprived and unable to have a proper shower (due to the disgusting state of our hotel bathroom and lack of hot water or pressure – despite paying Euro 80) had left me very cranky and uncomfortable. So much so, that after about a half hour of putting up with the hotel staff all taking photos (without even asking) around our bike as we tried to get packed….I ended up snarling at two of them who tried to push between Vince and I to get to our bike seat for more photos. Not the best start to the day….but it sent them on their way and let us get on with our packing. I do appreciate we are a novelty and everyone loves the ANIMAL….and mostly I do tolerate it with good grace…..but sometimes I wish they would all just leave us alone and give us some space to get on with things.
Vince’s prep in navigating our way out of busy Islamabad paid off and we soon found ourselves fuelled up and headed North for Murree. Moving up into the mountains was lovely as the temperature dropped and the greenery surrounded us…..magical and more tranquil. As we weaved our way up the windy roads we still had to contend with a multitude of crazy traffic, animals, landslides and rockfalls… which Vince negotiated expertly…..but it did slow us down to an average of about 25km per hour…….very slow going. As we passed through small villages we were slowed even further by even more traffic and people. Still mostly men and boys….but the odd colourful woman could also be seen…….albeit hidden behind her veil. We were very excited to see wild monkeys for the first time.
Without an escort we could stop as we pleased and, although we wanted to press on as we knew we had a long day ahead to get to Naran (270km or so), we did stop for a cool drink around 10.30am, a toilet/coffee break and lunch in Abbottsabad around 1.00pm. We continued on our journey, enjoying the change of scenery and welcome cooler weather…..but it was a long, grueling day in terms of physical toll on both Vince and myself. By the time we arrived at Naran around 5.30 pm, our butts no longer belonged to us and our knees were in agony. We pulled up at the PTDC Motel, recommended by our friend Iqbal and tried to check in.
The double room (Euro 50) offered was right near a music festival, so we were shown to an alternative Cabana (Euro70) a bit further away…..but still noisy. There was no hot water or water pressure …..so I had to remain dirty again and to top it off my “tummy trouble” is back……could it get any worse….but wait… yes it could! As we walked back from viewing the Cabana to the reception I saw someone on the ANIMAL… holding her upright like he was going to ride off…..I yelled out… but he ignored me so I started running…..yes guys….I CAN RUN….. I was furious and told him to get off my bike….he continued to ignore me like I didn’t exist… as his mate took photos on his phone! I had to really control my urge to grab the phone and smash it to pieces….the ordacity of them was just outrageous! Eventually he got off….no remorse or apology….his only explanation was “We like your bike” with a big stupid grin on his face……I yelled at him… telling him that I didn’t care if he liked it or not….it was private property and he had no right to sit on it or touch it. I asked how he would feel if I sat in his car or came to his house and just came in and sat down without permission…..he said nothing and just kept smiling. I wanted so badly to slap that stupid look right off his arrogant face! I told him to get away from me and my bike before I called the police. By then Vince had arrived with the hotel manager…..Vince told him to stay way from his bike or he would knock his $%#@ block off! The Manager also said something to him in Pakastani…..but the guy just kept smiling and walked off checking his ill gotten photos…….NOT HAPPY JAN – SO RUDE! UNBELIEVABLE!
NOTE: The following morning, whilst having breakfast, we met some of the Communications Company Executives who brought 90 people here for the team building music festival. They saw what happened with our bike yesterday and they wanted to let us know how angry they all were about the behaviour of one of their staff…..they are making enquiries and said they will sack him when they find him, as that is not the Pakastani way. I told them that I would be happy with just having him delete his ill gotten photos from his phone so the behaviour goes unrewarded. They are both from Islamabad and have offered to host us if we pass through on the way back….very kind. It was very reassuring that Pakastani people condemn this kind of behaviour just like we do……guess there are “tools” the world over….I wonder if I can teach the ANIMAL to bite!