Ride Overland With Kanchan & Nick

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August 20, 2011

Love thy neighbor

Originally when we planned our tour, we thought we’d start in Europe and come through Turkey into Iran, then Pakistan and come through the Wagah border into India.  Our plan changed due to the weather in October.  Instead we decided that we’ll go the opposite way once we’re done with Asia.  We’ll go from India into Pakistan, then Iran and onto Turkey and Europe.

Sooo this is tricky.  We’re US citizens of Indian descent.  How the hell do we get a visa to Pakistan?  Let’s just say the whole process took a good month.  First our application was sent to DC for security clearance which took weeks, ok they gave clearance to us.  But we were asking for a 2 year multiple entry visa—we’re always really pushing it, we’ll be on every consulate’s shit list by the end of this!  They basically ignored that first request and said okay, we’ll give you a 3 month visa.  Okay, not going to work…we explained to them what we were trying to do.  Ok, we understand maybe our timing sucks…the US just capped Bin Laden a few months ago…but my maternal grandma is from Gujranwala and I wanted to see where she came from and just explore the country that we Indians share such a ‘colorful’ history with…and I want to get to Europe overland.

A couple of hours later, Nick gets a call from the Consul General himself…he too wanted to know, who are these crazies and why do they want  this visa so bad?  I have to give it to him, Nick got us that 2 year visa after talking to the CG.  Ahhh! Spoke too soon– ‘Give us an address of your family’s old residence’.   Hmm…that was over 60 some years ago… “Haveli…near some big ghar…in some gali…Gujranwala, Pakistan???”  I don’t think they expected us to come up with an address, but my Uncle pulled through and got us the info.  That visa was a group effort.

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