Day Fifteen – The Checkpoint Charlie of Balochistan

I’m back in the UK now so hope to update you with the remaining blogs over the next few days.

10th November 2010 – 266 miles

The not-so-good hotel that we stayed at the previous night arranged a police escort on our behalf to the border with Pakistan at Taftan, the only recognised border between the two countries for foreigners.

At the outset, we were quite grateful by this prospect but were then left waiting around Mirjaveh for the next 4 1/2 hours to register with the police and to complete security checks. 

Finally, we were taken to the first check point where we then waited for a military escort to take us to the border.

After yet more waiting (in high sun), a young army rookie (with no gun) accompanied us for the ride, where we stopped off at countless checkpoints on a 2.5 hour journey that would otherwise have taken an hour!

At the border, we were fast-tracked by Iranian officials to process immigration and customs formalities and treated like VIPs once we entered Pakistan, as Islamic Relief had informed them of our arrival.

We had tea and drinks with the Pakistan border chief and allocated a armed security guard to accompany us to Dalbandin.

Then on to Customs to get our Carnet stamped where we met their Bengali cooks and treated to Dhoodh Patti (traditional milky tea).  Bodrul Alam, formerly from Chittagong, has worked as head chef there for the past 30 years and visits his family back in Bangladesh every 18 months or so.

On the way to Dalbandin we stopped at Kashan Hotel, a truck stop, where we had a traditional meal comprising gosht curry, rice and roti.  With the colourful trucks parked outside and the great food, it felt like we’d arrived in Bangladesh.

Like Iran earlier in the day, we had to register at each and every checkpoint along the way and finally reached Dalbandin, where we were greeted by Anwar Adil, the District Co-Ordinator of Islamic Relief, who had organised overnight accommodation for us at a very nice government guest house.

Dalbandin’s atmosphere is borne by its geographic isolation and so the government provides subsidised generators that provide electricity from 9am – 4pm and 8pm – 11pm.  In the abscence of electricity, we went straight to bed for a well deserved rest.

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