|15. October 99 - A RIFLE IN THE VAN BRINGS YOU SAFE TO PAKISTAN|
though faxing from Kerman took over 2 hours! We were
still on time to make it to the Iran-Pakistan border
before it shut. But then 10 km down the road we were
stopped at a police checkpoint and told we needed an
escort for the next 400 km to the border. The bad news
was that the escort would leave in 2½ hours, so we
Eventually it was time to go so we followed the pick-up truck filled with armed soldiers, but not for long. After ½ hour they stopped at a checkpoint. We wondered if it was time for tea & biscuits or just a pray break but without a word they turned around and drove back, happy in the knowledge that after keeping us waiting for 2½ they'd managed to safety escort us 40 km?
So we waited again then two soldiers climbed in the back of the van, armed with their machine guns and it was time to go again. But only for another 40 km, then it was time to change over and so it went on. On reaching Zahedan we'd already had 7 different escorts ranging from a high-tech pick-up truck complete with a massive machine gun bolted to the floor, to a shaky old van with no lights (this was of course the last escort so it was already dark and we trundled down the road at 20 km/h watching our escort missing oncoming trucks by millimetres with nothing but his hazard lights to guide his way.)
Needless to say we didn't make it to the border before it shut, but we did get there safely!