LOG ENTRY 28

I arrived to the lovely province of Goa where everything seemed just better than other parts of India. Unfortunately I missed out the beach parties and ended up sleeping on a sofa after the storm took my bungalow's roof.  
It is an understatement that I was excited as the tropical sun woke me up in my berth. I jumped out of the bed and headed for the morning shower, which basically meant wiping my body with wet towels in the lavatory and then a quick breakfast. I didn't know what to expect in Goa so I wanted to be sure that I am prepared. As the train rolled into Vasco de Gamma station I noticed that people are not pooping anymore between the railway tracks like in Delhi and Mumbai, no shanty towns either instead, the last two hours the train rolled through the most scenic countryside since Dharamsala. 
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Vasco da Gamma train station
Vasco as the locals call it founded by the Portuguese in 1543 and remained in their hands until the 1961. This explains a lot, the architecture, the cleanness and the relatively low and non dense population which is predominantly Christian. It was such a refreshing feeling to walk out of the train station without the hassle of jumping over people who are sleeping on the floor or the endless amount of beggars, both are really a pain in the bigger cities. In fact, I haven't seen a single beggar in or around the train station or anywhere I went in Vasco. The city is not the capital of this lovely province thought but I yet to visit Panjim which is the actual capital and administration center. 
I picked Calanguta beach from the Lonely Planet as my base as it sounded like pretty good with a long sandy beach and a few party spots. I found a minivan surprisingly easily from Vasco with a driver who spoke decent English with a good sense of humor. The humor came handy about ten minutes into our ride when we burst one of our tire. He just set next to his minivan and laughed at the disabled vehicle which I ended up changing it's wheel. My good deed actually earned me a free ride as he didn't charge the 150 rupees agreed price in the end and he also took me to a guest house. I know he must have been associated with them but the place looked very decent, stone throw away from the beach and it contained about 30 hut with bamboo looking roof. First I expected the price to be high but they only wanted 650 rupees for a night which I managed to work down to 250 rupees. What a bargain I thought and quickly headed down to the beach. Unfortunately July is not the best time to visit Goa. The sun hasn't been really up since the morning, clouds took over the sky and the ever increasing wind made the beach quite an unpleasant place to lay. As bad things always comes with good things, the strong wind turned the beach into a real surfers paradise which I enjoyed for over 2 hours. Apart from the time to time appearing vendors the beach was empty. Some of the vendor warned me that many people died lately here as a result of the storms and strong current. 
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Not the best beach weather in Calangute beach
On the way back from the beach I have been approached by two well dressed and friendly Indian guy with perfect American accents. We got into a little chat and they invited me to the bar next to us for a beer. At first they friendliness surprised me but about ten minutes into the conversation a little red flag raised in my head. They guys claimed to have an international jewelry business and they mentioned me that other foreigners made lots of money just by transiting diamonds for them. Sorry boys, I thought, I am not your typical broke backpacker who in need for some cash would smuggle anything so I finished the beer, politely excused myself and went back to my bungalow. They invited me for a house party but of course I did not join them later on.  
After a great Portuguese style dinner I decided to check out the party hot spot of the beach as it seemed that no beach party will happen here during the rainy season. The club was nice, something similar I seen in Kenya, just on the other side of the Indian ocean. There were no walls, just a huge bamboo roof supported by concrete pillars and a half circle bar. The music was a bit low when I got there and hardly any people were drinking cocktails. This changed very quickly thought, around 11 pm the party kicked in and people from all over the world turned up to dance for the latest Indian dance hits. Punjabi MC was the most popular of them. I met all sorts of people, an Afghan tourist was the most interesting out of all but I had a few drinks with a group of American soldiers, Indian gap year students and Danish bikers.  
It was around 3 am when the party stopped and I haven't even noticed the developing storm which caught me on the way back to my bungalow. The heavy rain turned into a proper storm by the time I reached my waterfront little house. At first I managed the water what was dripping through the roof with the buckets I found in the bathroom but later on the wind blown some part of the roof away so I had to relocate myself to the less beachfront main building and slept on the sofa with a few other unlucky guests.  
 
 
LOG ENTRY 27

A more or less uneventful day on an Indian rolling stock down South to Goa, my first South Asian flirt and changing cabin mates while Dad is hunting for the Carnet de Passage in Slovakia. 

The old rolling stone of the Indian Railway company tirelessly making its way down south with me. After the relatively bad and eventful day yesterday I am fully enjoying the peace of my cabin with my three other cabin mates. As we are getting closer and closer to Mumbai our breakfasts were served which stayed inside me for a record one hour before my stomach gave up on keep it for any longer. It was still great and I am really thankful for my cabin mates to introduce me to this local delicacy.  
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Goa Express, my home for 41 hours
I spent the rest of the morning on my phone, searching for reception but unfortunately luck was not travelling on the same train with me. More so as my friendly cabin mates got off the train and instead of having the whole compartment for myself, right away three others got on and made themselves comfortable without the urge to speak to me which was not a very bad thing after all. Luckily the reception caught up with my not so fast rolling train later in the afternoon and managed to get Mom's text message that Dad is home safe and it looks like he will get the Carnet from Slovakia within a week. This means I will have at least one week to spare in Goa. Hurray,  I read a lot about the beach parties in India's smallest province. When I was a teenager we always talked about Goa parties back in Hungary but growing up without Google or Youtube I could only imagine what is going on there. I guess I wont have to imagine for much longer, less than 24 hours and my beloved, slow and definitely not smooth train ride will end in the Vasco de Gamma station and my anticipated beach party week will begin.  
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Not so bad sleeping berth on the way down to Goa
A little addition to my party dreams. Just after my evening toiletry, a very cute looking Indian girl chatted me up in the dining cart of the train. She was about my age, a 19 years old pure cuteness. Unfortunately as it happened to all of my quickly made buddies and mates on this train, she had to get off. Feels like no one really goes further than Mumbai, especially not until Goa.  
 
 
LOG ENTRY 26 

Experiencing my first overnight train ride, the chaos of New Delhi and by the afternoon I am already on a 41 hour train journey down to Goa province while Dad is flying back to Hungary for the Carnet. 
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Good morning New Delhi
This was the first time in my life that I traveled on an overnight train. Hungary is way too small to experience this feeling and whenever we traveled to another country we either flew, drove or rode, never took a train. I didn't think that I have to come all the way to India for this experience but to be honest, the location of my first overnight train ride just gave an extra to it. Overnight trains in India have many classes, some are private cabins which you can lock and basically super comfortable. There are also the berth classes, one with air conditioned cars and the rest with fans. Four and six person cabins are also available but I only found this out a day after.  
The ride was surprisingly smooth. The food was probably the best Indian meal we had so far and falling asleep in a gently moving train after all the hassle only took us a few minutes. Just to complain about something, the air conditioner was set on such a low temperature that we both woke up a few times shivering and we had sour throats by the morning. 
The train arrived to New Delhi station at 4:30 in the morning. One would think that the station is empty in this un-godly hour, well, not just not empty but so crowded that just getting out to the street was some sort of adventure. We kind of expected chaos already, as the train slowly approached to it's destination we seen hundreds upon hundreds crouching on the tracks next to ours and doing their morning big toilet. Being inspired by the masses of pooing Delhiites I had an un delay-able urge to do the same as soon as the train pulled in to the platform. Lightly speaking, the public (mass) toilet at the station is not where you want to spend your morning crouching, without any dividing wall between the holes on the floor.  
After getting out of the whirl of morning commuters we headed to the ticket counter to buy me a ticket to Goa. During the ride last night I decided to go down to Goa while Dad is flying back home to get the Carnet. From the next LOG ENTRY I will write parallel stories, about his experience back home with the Carnet and also about my trip down to Goa. Buying the ticket to Goa seemed slightly easier than buying the ticket a night before in Amritsar. However, in the big mess, crowd and chaos 2000 rupees lost. Whether it was dropped or picked up by one of the people who kept pushing in the line we don't know, at least I got the ticket, that's all it matters at this point. 

After the interesting morning experience at the station we headed to the Hungarian embassy. We got there around 6:30 am so the guard promptly made us sit front of the compound for two hours until the embassy opened. Surprisingly the embassy employees were very nice. This was the first good experience with any Hungarian foreign mission. The embassy compound is huge, it was designed for over 500 people as it used to accommodate a small army of electrical and radar engineers during the Cold War when we sold all those military equipment to India, now there is only a 6 people contingents including the son of the consul as well. No surprise they were very accommodating and helpful. Finally we had a good shower and most importantly a great Hungarian meal prepared by the Indian embassy chef. 
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Afternoon craze at the New Delhi train station
Feeling fresh, showered and a tiny little pampered and our mood is back to its fullest. We even got a driver to get us back to the train station where we had a last meal with Dad. Well, we tried to have a last meal but after paying for the food, what had to be done before actually eating, you can guess the food never arrived. Oh well, as the saying goes, bad feelings and memories are fading with the time so I won't go into endless lines how mad I got and how cheated I felt when my ticket was not accepted on the train and had to buy another one but as it goes, all the bad feelings faded away. Dad sent me away to Goa and continued his journey on a different path back to Hungary and I laid back and enjoyed my 41 hours train ride down south to Goa province.  
 
 
LOG ENTRY 25

After a short visit in the south slopes of the Himalayas we are on the race back to Amritsar and then to Delhi to finally get our confiscated bikes back. 
Last night we managed to talk to Mom and we received the good news that we can get the Carnet from Slovakia but somebody has to fly home to get it and bring back the registration books and other papers for the bikes. This semi good news made us excited and decided to go back to Amritsar with the first possible bus from Dharamsala. It was 4:45 when the 5:00 am bus rolled out of this heavenly town, leaving all the Buddhist shrines behind and facing a 6 hours trip without headlights or working vipers in a tropical morning rain down the serpentine of lower Himalaya.  
Nevertheless, the trip was more than scary. The first hour and a half we traveled in complete darkness with heavy rain hitting our windowless bus from the side we sat which was more uncomfortable but seeing our driver racing down the hill without headlight or viper was rather terrifying. This time we decided to make the whole trip with the bus, saving some time as the train isn't much faster and it seems like a massive hassle to buy tickets there. The trip took us over 6 hours to get back to Dharamsala and it wasn't a smooth ride. Whenever the bus stopped people jumped off to do they toilet business right next to the bus, some using their hand to wipe. 
As soon as we arrived to Amritsar we got on a Rickshaw and headed to the border with our paper from the embassy. Little we hoped that it would work but it does worth the try. When we arrived to the border they seemed to ignore us and no one wanted to talk to us. We asked for the head of the custom department but they claimed he is on the holiday. This hassle went on for about half an hour when we seen him walking into his office. Well, that was it for us, we walked in to his office after him which caught him off guard and really surprised the bugger. When we presented the paper he did read it through then laughed, "Carnet or the bikes stay here" . At this point we tried everything, all the promises and different papers but surely, the only solution is to get the Carnet. On the way back to Amritsar Dad talked to Mom who booked a ticket for him, back to Budapest from Delhi, tomorrow afternoon so all we have to do is to make it back to Delhi within 20-ish hours. 
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Amritsar Junction
The overnight train to Delhi is about 8 hours and it leaves in early evening. We arrived to Amritsar junction station in the late afternoon and it took us a while to buy tickets. After a few unsuccessful attempt at the ticket counter we asked a local guy to buy us tickets. He knew the techniques how to push and grab and squeeze in and around the crowd front of the ticket counter and the seller actually accepted the money from him and gave him what we needed. The train of course left almost an hour earlier than it was scheduled but luckily we still got the tickets in time. All we have to do now is sit back, relax, pick out the bones from our chicken tikka massala train food which taste surprisingly good and have an air-conditioned night on the way to Delhi. 
 
 
LOG ENTRY 24

A brief visit to McLeod Ganj which was a home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile in a rainy and foggy day 
The main reason we came up to Himachal Pradesh province is to visit the village which hosted the Tibetan government in exile from 1948. Dharamsala as it's name translates to "sanctuary" really gave us the so wanted peace, a little refreshing from all the stress and hassle we encountered in the first month of our trip. However, the main attraction is not Dharamsala but the village just above it, McLeod Ganj. 
McLeod Ganj or as the locals call it "Little Lhasa" is 1800 meters above the sea level just where the Himalayan mountain begin. The bus cost only 6 rupies from Dharamsala and it takes you up on a scary serpentine, even scarier than the one to Dharamsala. The village itself looks and feels like a giant monastery. People here looks nothing like Indians, majority of the population is from Tibet or another hill tribes and share little or no similarity on the look department with South Asians.  
Unfortunately we picked the worst time to visit, the rain just couldn't stop falling even for a minute. This made not just our life harder and definitely wetter but also it made photographing impossible.  We had problems already with our Fuji camera already, it does not want to turn on in the humid climate and when it rains a lot it's lens gets all foggy.  As we wandered around the endless small pathways between Buddhist temples and shrines we received a text message from the Indian embassy that there is a way to get our bikes back from the border and they will fax the paper which required by the custom as soon as we give them a fax number. I can't describe how excited we got and of course our little trip cut in short to go and find a place which has a fax machine.  On the way back to Dharamsala we were already agreed that if we get the paper we will go back to the border straight in the morning. We hoped the best but didn't expect the difficulties what the next few days had for us. 
 
 

Log Entry 23

The first time I laid eyes on the slopes of the Himalaya and felt its cold, shivering breeze after weeks of tropical heat I felt that we found the real sanctuary. Our long trip to Dharamsala fulfilled every expectation we ever had about the past home of the Tibetan government in exile.  

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Overview of Dharamsala town in Kangra Valley from the Dhauladhar range Credit: Planemad
We didn't wait for the first shines of the sun to leave our hotel. The rickshaw arrived with us to the train station when the sun decided to wake up so as the thousands of commuters which made our job to buy a ticket even more difficult. Traveling to Dharamsala, which is about 220 kilometers from Amritsar to the north isn't that easy. First you have to take a train which goes about half way and takes two and a half hours and then another three hours of bus ride. 
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On the way to Dharamsala
Soon after we managed to get the tickets we boarded the train. It was chaotic and since it is a commuter train we ended up travelling on the only one class they had, third class. It wasn't that bad and definitely doable for a few hours, it gave us some insight how people commute in this part of the world. Later on we found in Delhi and Mumbai that this little crowded commuter train was almost empty compared to the ones servicing India's two largest cities.  After we got off the train we met a Russian traveler. She was about thirty years old, dusty, obviously on the road for a long while, that is why we surprised when she came over to us and asked whether we can look out for her bag until she visit the toilet. Desperation or just the lack of routine made her leave all her valuable with us, I don't know. She joined us to Dharamsala but for the rest of the trip she was quiet. After about three hours on the scariest bus ride in my life we arrived to our destination. We planned to stay the night here and then continue up north to McLoed Ganj in the morning. 
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Street of Dharamsala
The weather together with our mood is absolutely great here. Chilled 18 degrees Celsius in the afternoon with obvious signs that it will get much much colder during the night. Dharamsala is small, no crowds and craziness like in Amritsar or other Indian cities we passed so far. Interestingly everyone seemed to chew on "Paan" or as commonly known Betel leaves what turns everyone into a spitting machine. Looking at some of the younger chewers I am pretty sure that there is something else in that Paan apart from Betel leaves as they looked drunk and disoriented. We seen an accident where a guy hit the electric pole with his motorbike, laying on the ground but still conscious. Surely everyone are staring at him, so the other two motorcycles who came from the opposite direction and hit each others while looking at that poor dude on the ground. What happened after shocked both of us. The two guys who just collided started to have a go with the one on the ground and kicking him. We assumed that they both claimed him as the reason for their accident. After this little show we decided to lay flat on our not so clean guesthouse and recharge our batteries for the coming day. 
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Dharamsala
 
 

Log Entry 22

In our first real day in India we went to explore  the great city of Amritsar and its main attraction the Harmandir Sahib or as informally referred the Golden Temple. 
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Loving the turban
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The Harmandir Sahib
Since we left Hungary Dad was keep going on about India and how much he wanted to go there and he just cant wait to arrive. We both had countries in the beginning where we wanted to go the most, mine was Australia, all I wanted is to ride across the Nulabor, covered in red dust and watch kangaroos jumping across the setting sun's last shines. Dad on the other hand was all about India. I can't blame him, he grew up reading books from old time Hungarian princess and expediters who came to this magical -or as the Ministry of Tourism refers to it now "Incredible"- land and rode elephants while hunting for the biggest game here, tiger. 
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The square shaped corridors inside the Golden Temple
We made a few necessary phone calls in the morning. Chances are slim that the bikes will be released without the Carnet so Mom is spending hours daily on getting one. In the meantime we decided to explore the city a little bit. Amritsar the capital city of Punjab was always a very important hub of this area and also the spiritual and cultural center of Sikhism, one of the most fascinating culture and religion. The Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple is right next door to us so after the morning "chai" -spicy Indian tea- and some lamb "vindaloo" for breakfast we headed to the entrance of the temple. In 1984 for the order of Indira Gandhi who was the Prime Minister that time the Indian army stormed the temple under the "Operation Blue Star"  which resulted in around 5000 deaths on the Sikh side. The scars of the massacre was still noticeable at some parts of the temple even after twenty years. 
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One of the four entrance to the temple

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I did enjoy their company, Dad just captured the wrong moment

To enter the temple you have to wear a turban, no uncovered heads are allowed and we also had to wash our feet. We entered the temple complex in one of the four doors which meant to symbolize the openness of Sikhism towards other religions and cultures. Inside the temple complex -which is resembles a square in its layout- there is a lake or holy tank "Sarovar" and the golden temple "Harmandir Sahib" is at the middle of the lake with a small bridge as a connection to the temple complex. Approximately one hundred thousand people visit the temple daily so the walk bridge to the Golden Temple can get really crowded but it worth the time to wait. The temple is amazing and really mystical with Gurus sitting and reading inside. 
After the temple we spent the rest of the day relaxing, visited a barber, bought some shirts and slippers to really mold into the city and kept planning the way forward with some cold Kingfishers. 
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Harmandir Sahib
 
 

LOG ENTRY 21

A perfect looking day turned into a series of bad luck, money wasting, extra trips and eventually our bikes got locked down and confiscated by the Indian custom
We left Hungary on the 23rd of June for a round a World trip and with smaller problems but we managed to reach the Pakistani-Indian border without having a Carnet de Passage but we couldn't enter India and stranded at the Wagga border post on the Pakistani side for almost a week. Thanks for my Mom's and other friends help we managed to obtain an official letter from the Hungarian embassy in Delhi which would act as a substitution for the Carnet and it is accepted by the Indian custom.  
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Welcome to the Worlds largest democracy
Waking up today was sweeter than in any other day so far on this trip. Knowing that today is the last day stranded here and finally we can continue our trip to India made us forget about the angry mosquitoes deep diving Stuka style all night or the unbearable humid and hot air stuck in our room after the last fan broke down last night. For those of you who just started to follow our trip after the holiday break let me some up the situation. 
Our perfect looking day did not have a good start. We knew that the paper from the embassy will only arrive to the Indian side of the border in the afternoon but just in case we checked out from our hotel, make sure we have enough time for everything. It was a great decision as it turned out we don't have enough cash to pay the bill and they didn't accept our cards so one of us had to go in to Lahore to pick up some money. I volunteered for the trip and let Dad pack the boxes and do some checks on the bikes. 

I took the usual overcrowded bus and headed to one of the biggest city in Pakistan to pick up some rupees. We needed an extra 2000 rupees  so I headed to the Citibank ATM to withdraw the money. Whether because of the heat or my silly happiness or I am just stupid but instead of 2000 I withdrew 15,000 rupees. Great, I spent another half an hour to exchange the extra rupees for dollars. Silly mistake, paid the price for it. 
In the meantime Dad fastened every possible bolts on the bikes, adjusted the chains, packed all the panniers and got everything ready to leave. When I arrived back to the border he had a big grin on his face from the satisfaction of getting everything smoothly done. Well, that smile was off immediately after I told him my little accident with the money. Nevertheless, noon turned into afternoon when we received the call from the embassy that they faxed the paper to the Indians and also to the hotel where we stayed. At this point we agreed with Dad that since the border closes at 4.30 pm we will cross just a little bit before so in case anything go wrong with the paper we still won't be able to come back.  
Leaving Pakistan took longer then we had anticipated at first. The border guard who we spent the past week started to ask money for many little things such as storage fee for the bike, exiting tax, stamp fee and other extra charges. We didn't have enough rupees so gave them what we had and finally said good bye to the damned border station. As we crossed over India the first thing they asked is the Carnet. They knew us and our problem already so we wasn't surprised. As we entered the custom office the highest ranking officer was already holding the paper from the embassy in his hand and telling us that this paper is not good enough and we wont be able to enter India without the Carnet. No matter what they said earlier to us and to the consul at the embassy, now they changed their mind. As we were unable to produce the Carnet they asked us to leave and go back to Pakistan. By the time this happened the border gates were closed. The Indian soldiers tried to convince their Pakistani counterparts to let us back, rule is rule, also our single entry Pakistani visa was used up so we didn't understand what they are all about. 
We didn't know at that point but the longest afternoon of our trip was just about to start. Endless phone calls to the embassy where numerous people tried to convince the custom officers that they agreed yesterday that this paper what we have is sufficient enough but no luck. After hours of discussion we had a few options. The Indian officer wanted 10,000 USD at first as a deposit. He said that after we leave India, fax him the exit stamp and he will send the money after us by post. This amount later reduced to 3000 USD but this is still laughable. Other funny solutions came up to, of course all involved a few thousand dollars in cash for them which the embassy warned us not to do so, not as we even considered it though. In the meantime the custom officers locked down the bikes, searched our panniers for drugs and any illegal substance and allowed us to take a few clothes out. We received the documents that the bikes will be released when we are able to produce the Carnet. 

Our big anticipated day turned out to be a disaster, nothing worked out as we planned, still can't use the bikes but at least we are on the other side of the damned Wagga border. We took a taxi to Amritsar to spend the night there. The time way passed 11 pm when we arrived to Amritsar and we had little power to argue with the taxi driver when he offered us a hotel of his "friend". Luckily the hotel was decent, right front of the Golden temple and they even had cold Kingfisher beers, the first alcoholic beverage since we had since Turkey. 
 
 
LOG ENTRY 20
We have been stranded at Wagga border for five days and it is coming down to the point when someone will have to fly back to Europe to get the Carnet. 
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The gate of the Wagga border crossing from the Indian side, where we so want to be
As we are waiting for the papers from the Hungarian embassy in Delhi we have really nothing to do. At this point it is all about waiting. It turned out that the embassy will send the letter directly to the Indian side of the border, address it to the head officer there to make things easier. The only problem is the communication. We have no internet connection nor reception on the phone in the hotel. We found a place about 10 min walk towards Lahore when we have reception so we set the time with Mom, twice a day and then we walk out there and wait for her call. 

Around noon we heard the rumor from the Pakistani rangers that our paper arrived to the Indian side so we got super excited and walked to the border. It took a while until we explained the Indian soldiers what do we want, even thought they knew us almost by name. Anyway, no paper today, makes me wonder whether it was just a joke of the rangers. 

The next few days passed by in the same way. Stay at the border, watch the Beating the Retreat ceremony again and again and play cards with Dad. He kind of got bored of that too because I always win. 

It is 14th of July, 2005, we are on the way for 3 weeks now, oh well, we were on the way, now we are just waiting. The daily alerts from both side of the border that our paper has arrived give us the daily dose of adrenalin but that's about it. However, today we got the phone call from Mom that it looks like the paper from the embassy won't work so no matter what we need to get the Carnet de Passage. If you are a new reader you can read the whole story about the Carnet here.

It has been 5 days passed with waiting and since we received the uncertain news about the Embassy warranty we decided to go back to Lahore and find some other solution. In the main time Mom was working on the Carnet and it turned out that we could actually get it from Slovakia -since Hungary doesn't issue them- so hopes are up again. 

It was refreshing to leave Wagga border after days of doing nothing there, even if we only went to Lahore. Finding an internet cafe was a little bit challenging as the one we went before was closed. I expected that in the end one of us will have to go back home but still nothing was sure at this point. Mom told us that the Slovakian Automobile Association is willing to issue the Carnet with as little as $500 deposit per bike but one of us has to go to Bratislava. As it is the only viable solution so far and we really need that Carnet someone has to go back for sure. The only problem is it is still uncertain when they are able to issue the Carnet and when Dad -as we decided- should fly back home. 

On the way back to Wagga we received a text message from Mom that the Embassy just called her that they sent the paper to the border and it will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Great, all we have to do is spend another day watching trucks loading and unloading as they can not drive through the border and the Beating the Retreat festival for the sixth times. 

Will it solve our problems and can we enter India tomorrow or will it be another disaster. LOG ENTRY 21 will tell the story. 
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Freight truck at Wagga border, Pakistani side
 
 
LOG ENTRY 19
Wagga – Lahore – Wagga

A long bus trip to the Pakistani Automobile Association just to find out that our effort to get the Carnet here is chanceless. 

The night was terrible in the little hotel in Wagga. Maybe because we were exhausted and kind of devastated from the day before but neither of us had a good night sleep and we kept waking up in sweat. We had plans to visit the Pakistani Automobile Association today in an attempt to get the Carnet. Little we knew that it is impossible at that time so we had big hopes.

The bus ride to Lahore was about an hour. We wanted to get to the office as early as possible as we already had experience with the local bureaucracy and the last thing we wanted is to stuck there for the whole day. Traveling into one of the biggest city in Pakistan in the morning rush was an experience itself. We all used to crowded and smelly public transport in our countries, Lahore wasn’t much different, expect the heat and the smells were a bit stronger.

The office was downtown so we had to interchange once on the bus and then from the bus station we had to take a rickshaw that of course lost the way so an extra 15 minutes of walk came on top of our little journey. Still, we arrived there half an hour before opening. Surprisingly no one was there even when the big grey gates opened front of us. Looking smooth huh? Not so much inside thought, the staff were pretty friendly and helpful with very good spoken English which meant he could tell us in the shortest possible time that it is impossible to obtain the Carnet here as we are not Pakistani citizens. However, he said that if we can find a high ranking official who would guarantee that we take the bikes out of India they might let us in. Sounds like a good advice. We roamed around a bit in Lahore before returning to Wagga as there is no internet connection at the border and we really had to talk with Mom about what happened.

As I wrote in the earlier LOG ENTRY how the Carnet issue solved I won’t be writing endless lines about it. We talked to Mom and she was on it to find solution for the Carnet and also try to find a guarantor as it was recommended to us at the PAA.

Having Mom as a backup is probably the only reason we got this far but her help again is needed. It is incredible what she can organize and achieve in a very short period of time. Let it be organizing half of Citibank’s leadership in Lahore to help us in a shady storage room or in this case getting a letter from the Hungarian ambassador to India in which he guarantees that we will take our bikes out of India. Believe it or not she managed to organize this within a day and all we had to do is sit on our backside for four days to receive it.

Before heading back to Wagga we decided to go and look around –again- in Lahore. This time we walked around with less stressing and stuff, only a small bag with our most important papers. Lahore is a large, one of the largest city in Pakistan and in electronics wise it is much updated. We had seen mobile phones in rickshaw driver’s hand which was hardly out in Hungary yet. Surprisingly, whenever they hear that we are from Hungary they associate us with Nokia as most of the handhelds on the Pakistani market is manufactured in Hungary. In these occasions many of them actually flesh out their new 9110 communicator which was the top of the line mobile phone back in 2005.

Our way back to Wagga was much more pleasant than the way into Lahore in the morning. Hardly any traffic apart from the stray buffalos and we did the whole bus trip with interchange in a little more than half an hour. Crowd wasn’t bad at all and the weather got a little bit less humid which is easier to take even thought the temperature rose since the morning.

For dinner we ordered a full chicken in curry which we waited for about 4 hours to complete and it had 4 wings and 1 drum stick. Must have been a weird chicken. 

 
    Picture
    Aurel Jr. and Sr.

    The Riders:

    Aurel Maracsko and his son Aurel Maracsko jr. 

    We are a father and son duo who loves riding motorcycles. Aurel Jr. or Tom is an enthusiast enduro rider and Aurel Sr. is more of the adventure rider. 

    Me, a combination of Tom Sawyer and the Little Prince, adventurer, dreamer and a crazily enthusiast rider. Jules Verne was the ultimate hero of my childhood, his foresight's of the future and exotic adventures fascinated me to a level which still influences me today. I believe the constant thirst for exploration and the need for learning is the key engine for every adult just as for every child.


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