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Old 10-25-2013, 07:49 AM   #166
RoninMoto
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Originally Posted by Tourist View Post


Riding through Baghlan District.

You’re never traveling alone in this country, the moment you sit down by yourself, locals will join you to exchange story’s and even though it is mostly done through hand gestures and a few phrases from a small book it’s a truly rewarding travel experience.
Amazing picture! Amazing story. Gotta love traveling alone for this reason.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:17 AM   #167
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Inspiring

This is more inspiring than any thing else. If I would be 30 years younger, I would do this. In my age I thing the zivilisation is more to shoot for.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:33 AM   #168
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Amazing

Mate, amazing ride, incredible photos, fantastic commentary. You've shown a part of the world most of us just see on BBC with bad things happening. It's hard to believe you're actually in the same country!

RoninMoto has some competition....Sorry Noah...
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:32 PM   #169
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I have driven this road so many time from Kunduz to Taleqan. We use to stay in an small outpost in Taleqan. You have to love those tank tracks and other speed bumps the Afghans put out on the roads, could only imagine how those felt on the Ural.

Can you post some pictures of Kunduz?
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #170
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These photos are worthy of another round of applause Tourist. The stories that these simple, humble and grateful people could share with us, would without a doubt, blow our minds. Thank You for fueling our wanderlust - can't wait for the next chapter...


Little Bo Peeps.


In Nepal kids ask for pens, In India everyone asks for money, But here the oldies ask for Ibuprofen.


Collecting fuel for making the Tea.


Homestay.

[/SIZE][/FONT][/QUOTE]
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:16 AM   #171
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I agree and need to keep this report near the top.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:56 PM   #172
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Sticky needed

I said it before and say it again - truly amazing travel story. Even Bruce Chatwin would tip his hat at your descriptions.1

I would like to think that it was the Fuji x100s that took such great photos since I too have just acquired one. However, I bet you would take great photos with an iPhone as well!

Keep going.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:48 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoverMike View Post
I said it before and say it again - truly amazing travel story. Even Bruce Chatwin would tip his hat at your descriptions.1


Keep going.

+1

amazing stuff!
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:52 AM   #174
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I'm in! Awesome travel. Onya!

I'm in! Awesome travel. Onya!
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:24 PM   #175
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Wow

Awe inspiring pictures and narrative! I'll be first in line to buy the book. Thank you for posting your report.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:04 PM   #176
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There is an interesting article in todays Wall Street Journal (Oct 28th) about motorcycles now being banned in parts of Afghanistan. They say the reason is motorcycles are the transportation of choice for assassins and kidnapers. But, they also say that motorcycles are the sole mode of transportation for some families, with it not being uncommon to see whole families using them to move around. Riding two up is suspicious too according to the author. It just struck me as odd that you were viewed with such suspicion. Some of that suspicion could have been due to the Afghan 1% - ers running amok!
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:48 AM   #177
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Distraught!

What can I look forward to after this superlative report? Surely it will never be matched. Life will be empty and meaningless.

Thank you.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:20 AM   #178
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I know it´s a seriuous matter, but that sentence right there, cracked me up!


Quote:
Originally Posted by waturz View Post
the Afghan 1% - ers running amok!
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:46 AM   #179
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Crossing Salang to Kabul


It was a hot and busy morning pulling out of Pol-e-khumri. I managed to get away just after 9am after sleeping in. I’m on the Asian highway now, which is a link road that runs around all of Afghanistan or more directly this section; Mazar to Kabul. Buses were now the majority on the road; From Germany, Poland… French and Spain, I assume they have been gifted or sold on cheaply as they still had their own tour company’s markings all over them in their respective languages. Just over 240km to Kabul and I had been told 8 hours, Why so long? Salang pass I’m told.
The Highway is in good shape, just the vehicles running on it are performing death defying maneuvers, trucks & buses passing completely packed Toyota corollas that in turn are passing me, I stick well to the shoulder and keep an eye to see what’s coming behind. Most trucks let me know they are there but buses are just out of control and not much slows them down.


I come to the first police checkpoint of the day, most traffic gets waved through, I don’t as wearing jeans kind of sticks out here or was it the Ural. I show my passport and he remarks with “Tourist” “ha-ha, (yes-yes) “ I say. He asks if I speak Farsi and once I say no, He quickly loses interest in searching me any further other than my shoulder bag in which he see’s my camera and asks for “ax” (photo) people here are so happy and thankful for someone to take their photo so I oblige. Later that day I had another checkpoint and decided to keep my scarf up around my head covering my face aka, “terrorist style” and I got waved through with just a second look from the guards nothing more.


The road leading up to Salang pass is under re-construction at the moment, dust chokes the air with cars running 3 abreast at times up the heavily corrugated and rutted road. Kebab restaurants line sections of the 14km of road up to the soviet built tunnels. It’s after 11 and so decide to stop for tea and kebabs. I pull into one of the bus stops that’s being sprayed with water to keep the dust down and park the Ural up at the entrance to the restaurant. After washing up I order a plate of kebabs, bread and tea and sit down along with 6 locals now joining me. One speaks Russian and tells me of the times when the whole mountain was busy with soviets building the road and tunnels through Salang and that they would always be in the restaurants eating kebabs. I’ve talked to many about when the soviets were here and they all look favourably on this time as their country was developed with highways, roads and power to their villages.

I make good time up the Salang using the full width of the road up to the first of many galleries’ before the tunnel. Traffic grinds to an almost halt before entering, its very slow going inside with dust being stirred up giving no more than 10m of visibility only just seeing the brake lights directly in front of me. As I exit one gallery I only need to look ahead to see another one waiting, 5 in total coming out of each one a lot more dustier and unhealthier than when I entered. Next is the tunnel, its just been re-sealed but that’s the only thing positive I can say about it. It’s 2.5km of hell. Very poor lighting and ventilation, Only one extraction fan halfway so it didn’t take long for my eyes to sting from squinting through the clouds of built up of Co2. I tried to half hold my breath under my scarf while passing through, It felt like an eternity with available air getting less and less, I really thought I had come all this way only to be beaten by a tunnel. The tunnel is on a decline and traffic moves quickly despite the poor visibility. Once I see light penetrating the end of this dismal place my hopes rise and I twist the throttle round just a little bit further to end this as quickly as possible. Its not until I am completely out of the tunnel which I feel a rush of thick clean oxygen to my lungs again, I pull over to take in some fresh breaths for awhile. I dust myself off remarking at the new vistas before me and continue on.


The other side to Salang.

There are some more gallery’s to pass through on my descent but they all have construction roads off to the side which I take instead. I’ve had enough of tunnels for one day. Descending to river level through a narrow twisty canyon, villages are perched up on the hill sides seemingly around every new turn and so are restaurants with their dining platforms hanging out over the white water below selling BBQ Trout. I stop for Petrol and after filling up I am invited for some bread and tea with locals that run a small store beside the pumps. Once afternoon tea draws to an end, I ask; “Kabul, Chand Km?”… “Sad (100) km”… not long to go now. I thank them and push the Ural off the centre stand ready for our last leg to Kabul.


Following a Pakistani Jingle Truck.


Villages perched on the Valley sides.

The Narrow valley opens into a much larger one now with low mountains on my right and the Shomali plains to my left, I spot a pair of Black Hawk helicopters and follow them with my eyes until they are out of sight, landing in what I presume to be Bagram air base. A short thunderstorm passes overhead, It’s not enough for the traffic to adjust to the conditions so they continue to break every rule in a western driving handbook while I stick well to the shoulder. Traffic only slows for either police checkpoints or merging traffic big enough to cause a problem and so I undertake along the shoulder passing cars that have just passed me and once traffic moves again they minutes later pass me back.


As I approach Kabul, traffic is bumper to bumper the Ural only just slim enough to pass between the cars in their lanes. I stop at a Taxi rank to ask for directions to my guesthouse located in the “green” zone of the city on Wazir-akbar Khan. It’s a well known avenue with many embassies and contractors guesthouses, “green” because it’s the safest area in the city protected by armed guards on every block along it. Once an English speaking passenger is found and brought over he has no problems giving me the directions. A simple Left, right straight right right, turns into an hour riding around the new district asking for directions from many helpful people in the now fading light, something I didn’t plan on doing. I eventually find the right door to knock on and a latch is slid across to see who’s knocking before the sound of a bigger bolt being shifted to open up the main double doors allowing me to push the Ural inside the secure yard. Mahmoud the Owner is a Pashtun in his early 30’s and has spent much his life in the Netherlands, he can’t believe it when I quickly run through the events of the past 5 days since Eshkashem, really neither can I and with 20$ left!. I’m just happy to have accomplished something totally unexpected this summer. The Guesthouse is completely empty; I’m given a comfortable room and he informs me of where the nearest ATM is and that I need to get my new visa sorted tomorrow morning asap before I can leave the country. Tomorrow the Afghani Bureaucracy was something I was going to experience indeed.

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Old 10-29-2013, 11:16 AM   #180
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From Wiki....

"The Salang tunnel, which opened the famous Salang Pass (or Kotal-e Salang) to motor traffic, was built by Soviet engineers and eased traffic across the Hindu Kush mountain range that separates northern and southern Afghanistan.
Very few facts are known about the fire. All information available constitutes little more than hearsay, in part because the Soviet Army was not inclined to reveal massive losses during wartime. Most sources agree that it involved a Soviet Army convoy traveling southward through the tunnel.
Initial reports described fuel and ordnance explosions, and estimates of the death toll were as high as 2,700.[1] The death toll was subsequently revised downwards many times.
FROM SOVIET MILITARY DATABASE: On 3 November 1982 two military convoys (2211 and 2212) collided in the Salang tunnel causing a traffic jam. There were no fire or explosions. 64 Soviet soldiers and 112 Afghan people were killed by carbon monoxide emitted by idling engines.
Another report from a traveller, who has been to the region, sounds very different from this official version: A fuel tanker in a military convoy exploded inside (the cause of the explosion remains somewhat in doubt with the Russians still claiming it was an accident and the Mujahideen still claiming it was a successful attack) the Salang Tunnel, unleashing a chain reaction of fiery explosions and death. Drivers of cars, trucks and buses evidently continued to enter the tunnel after the explosion. Soviet troops, fearing that the explosion might have been a rebel attack, closed off both ends with tanks, trapping many inside. Some burned to death; others were killed by smoke and by carbon monoxide escaping from vehicles whose drivers kept their engines idling to stay warm in the freezing cold. As many as 700 Soviet troops and 2,000 Afghan soldiers and civilians may have died.[2]
On 23 February 1980 another similar accident killed 16 Soviet soldiers in the Salang tunnel.[3]"
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