Central Asia: The Pre-September
This is where it gets fun. I head east through Turkey hitting some
little beach towns till I land in the village of Dogubayazit. It's
on the Iranian border and right next to Noah's own Mt. Ararat, which
I hear you can climb if you can get a permit.
If I can get a visa, I cross into Iran visiting Isfahan
and Teheran, and if all works out, cross north into Turkmenistan,
through Uzbekistan visiting Samarkand, and into Kyrgyzstan where
I may volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for a little while. Then
into the mountains through the Torugart Pass into China. Theoretically,
all this is possible but difficult.
From Kashgar in Western China, south on the Karakoram
Highway through the Himalaya into Pakistan. I hope to stop for some
extended treks into the mountains around the KKH on my way south
to Islamabad. From there west to Peshawar and, with the required
gunman at my side, into the Khyber pass to the Afghanistan border
and back, Insha'Allah.
Then I turn back east to Lahore, on the Indian border.
Ya know how Pakistan and India are like a raised eyebrow short of
thermonuclear war? Lahore is home to the only border crossing between
the two countries that's open to foreigners. Supposedly there's
a ceremony every afternoon to close the border where soldiers on
each side rattle the gates, fake sneeze at each other, then shake
hands while deliberately not making eye contact. Sounds really cool,
Who the hell knows what to expect in India. In fact,
I think that's their tourism slogan. I want to visit Goa, the birthplace
of Trance but apparently now a tourist trap, and the beaches to
its south. Then you've gotta do Delhi and Agra for the Taj Mahal.
I also hope to get to Darjeeling, a remote mountain town high in
the Himalaya near Nepal. You've heard of the tea.
I could spend some serious time in Nepal. It's cheap,
beautiful, and has enough trekking to last you a year. I hear the
Everest base camp trek isn't the most beautiful, but how can I go
to Nepal and not see Chomolongma? That trek's about three weeks,
as is the Annapurna circuit, which I might do also if I'm up to
it. That's like two months right there. But at around ten bucks
a day, I could stay forever if I wanted.
Some stuff I look forward to in Central Asia:
Boats in the desert where the Aral Sea used to be: Moynaq, Uzbekistan
The nomads in the Kyrgyz mountains (recall eyeball eating on
The Karakoram Highway, blown through the Himalaya by the Chinese
and Pakistanis, and called the ultimate feat of civil engineering.
Being scared shi*less visiting the Khyber Pass.
Just letting India have its way with me
Not caring how long it takes to trek to Everest
China and Southeast Asia
OK, I've thought the least about this part. I backtrack into China
and, if I'm lucky, get to Tibet for long enough to be depressed
by what the Chinese have wrought. Then somehow get to Beijing for
the Wall and whatever else. South into Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
I haven't read up much on this part of the world, so I'd be totally
talking out of my ass (even more than the rest of this section)
to say I have a plan for this part.