I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to write this post, as it’s perfect cannon-fodder for those who try to generalise an entire country as ‘a bunch of terrorists’ or other such nonsense.
But I’m rather committed to my warts-and-all view of the world so here it is.
‘Hmm, must be a very bad accident’ I remarked to myself as I weaved throw the rows of cars parked sideways across the highway.
Suddenly I found myself in a crowd of people, who, as usual turned to look at me with interest and smiles.
They pushed to the fore a man who spoke English.
‘I am sorry,’ (he didn’t look sorry at all) ‘This is a strike against the government, you cannot go anywhere.’
‘I’m just trying to get to Zhob’ I pleaded.
‘You cannot go.’
At this point a man appeared on my right carrying a bamboo stick, then another appeared, and another, they were collecting stones from the ground.
‘Shit…’ I thought to myself, adrenaline racing.
There was an energy running through the air, the kind which lets you know that the crowd you’re in is about to turn into a mob.
Suddenly two small guys burst through the crowd in front of me and bodily push the people standing in front of my wheel to the side and gesture desperately for me to move through.
I stare dumbfounded at them for a second before desperately trying to start the bike.
The gap closes up again, god I’ve missed my chance!
The men reappear and reopen the gap, this time I’m ready.
I rev the engine hard and dash forward, scattering people left and right.
As I force my way through the crowd sticks and stones bounce harmlessly off my armour-padded motorcycle gear.
I duck in and out between the trucks and buses strewn across the road, 6 months of riding with this setup serving me well as I dive through gaps inches wider than my bike.
‘Shit.’ A pick-up blocks my path, I can’t go back and I can’t go round.
Amazingly the two men who cleared my path the first time come to my rescue once more, convincing the onlookers (who appear to simply have been inconvenienced by the whole strike and were milling around outside their bus) to push the pick up out of the way.
Open road before me at last I open the throttle and run as fast as I can, adrenaline pumping and tail between my legs.