A different awakening this morning for the team: in a few hours Overland will enter Afghanistan. A particular news concerns a beat the guys. Near Mazar I Sharif (destination of today) a military base has been blown up. At the breakfast table no one seem to want to talk about it, but the anxiety it’s written in the eyes.
We start the engine and drive for about ten kilometers when we have to stop at a Uzbek checkpoint where everything (when we say everything we mean every single thing) is inspected. All the personal suitcases, the food, the cameras, the computers.. It looks like they want to find something out of the order, but unfortunately for them we have everything on point 😛 So they have to let us pass through. It’s been a tough and rough (at times) Uzbekistan, until the end.
After three hours of waiting we can finally get back in the vehicles, but Stefania cannot be behind the wheel anymore. On the other side of the border, especially in some areas the laws are very strict (especially on women), so we better respect this culture in every single aspect of it. At least she will have more time to write the diary and take pictures. In the end it’s not bad at all 😉 In the meantime she covers her head with a veil, in order to be consistent with the religion and culture of this place.
We can see the gate of the border, which is a couple of hundreds of meters ahead of us, that opens. We meet our guides: Nur and Gull that will accompany us during our staying for the next few days. They are very kind and help us with all the paperwork, passports, stamps, visa and luckily they don’t have to check again the vehicles! This is a positive welcome.
Time goes by, it’s already 3 pm: we prepare a quick lunch with; olives, ricotta cheese (thanks to our Giannino), some crackers and a cup of coffee that we offer to guards! It’s something they don’t usually drink, so it taste funny but, with a little bit of sugar they seem to appreciate more. In the meantime Stack, Giannino, Enrico and Roberto plays cards. Everybody observes with curiosity and with a smile upon the face, this strangers playing.
It has been a very pleasant welcome!
It’s 5 pm when we leave the border: we are officially in Afghanistan! A police car will escort us during our journey for our safety, especially when we will enter some of the areas “at risk”.
After a couple more controls we get to the hotel. Another check to enter with all the vehicles (we better get used to all of this checks).
In the hall, waiting for the team, two dressmakers ready to take measurements to make us tunics to wear, in order to blend a bit with the population!
Early dinner and straight to bed! The alarm tomorrow is set at dawn!