It's been another busy week, and we are marching slowly on with things. We now have very little stuff left in the flat, and are loving it! It really is amazing how much rubbish you can accumulate in a short space of time, and how little you actually need. I suppose this is a good start though, as we are going to have to travel as light as possible once actually on the road.
The time left in Manchester is absolutely flying by, and we are trying to see as many people as possible before we disappear. Friday saw us enjoying a fabulous meal and a lot of wine at Steve and Denise's flat, and Saturday we were again wonderfully spoiled at Helen and Gareth's.
Route wise, sadly we may have to adapt our plans, as we have not yet been able to get our Pakistani visas. Apparently there is a new rule, and the visa sponsor company (tour operator, i.e. anyone with a Pakistani tourism license) have to apply for you to be cleared by the Interior Ministry. As the visa agent couldn't tell us how long this would take (or even if we were likely to be successful), we have had to withdraw our application. Technically you are supposed to only be able to get the visa from your home country, but we will try to get them again in Turkey or Iran, so fingers crossed!
Presuming we can't get the visas, the new route would be the same up until Iran, where we would get a ferry to Dubai. From there, we should be able to crate the bike and fly to Nepal. It will mean missing Pakistan and India which is a shame, but looking at the roads and traffic in India it might be a blessing in disguise! We will aim to have our Indian visas before setting off anyway though, as that gives us the option of heading in from Nepal if we please.
Aside from that, we have both been spending a lot of time in the garage. I have been assisting Oli with the more fiddly jobs, and have surprised myself by not being as incompetent as I expected. It's actually really interesting and I am enjoying picking up some (admittedly very basic) mechanical skills! Hopefully by the time we finish the trip I will have learned a lot more. When I mentioned this to Oli, the response was “I bloody hope so!”... what a sweetie.
For the next post, I will badger Oli again to write a more detailed bit on bike modifications / checks etc for those who are interested in such things!