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  • Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish

    by Sunny
    17th September, 2008 at 7:46 pm    

    … though, not permanently. This Friday I’m travelling up to Manchester for the Labour Party conference. I’m back on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning I’m flying to India.

    My original plan was to go to New Delhi, buy a motorbike and ride it back all the way to London. I even had the visas sorted (to Pakistan and Iran). Last week I found out the Indian govt doesn’t allow foreign residents to buy vehicles and register it under their own names unless its for export (or something like that). In other words, I could have paid a bit extra to get the right paperwork, but it wouldn’t have worked in Europe. To travel across countries you need a document called the Carnet. Unfortunately, a Swiss authority not an Indian one controls that. So my trip back would have been illegal through Europe. Bastards.

    Instead, I’m now going to backpack around India and then head to Pakistan after Eid (beginning of Oct). Don’t know where I’ll be going around India yet (I have a map, I usually just pick a city and catch a bus/train there). In Pakistan, for the first time, I’ll be going to Lahore and then travelling down to Karachi.

    The upside to not being able to ride a motorcycle back is that I’m planning to come back earlier (13th Oct) and then flying to the United States a few days after. There, I plan to learn about how the Obama field operations work and what local organising has been going on (west coast).

    So you’ll be reading more from the other Picklers, notably Shariq, Rumbold, Leon, Sid and Ala. If there are any disputes or major issues, then Leon is in charge. Otherwise, each writers is reponsible for their own words.
    Update: If you want to contribute to PP, ask Rumbold.

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    47 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. MaidMarian — on 17th September, 2008 at 7:49 pm  

      Well, as long as you don’t write any Max Gogarty style articles!

      Best of luck to you.

    2. BenSix — on 17th September, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

      Have a great time :o )


    3. Don — on 17th September, 2008 at 8:07 pm  

      Enjoy. Send pics.

    4. Amrit — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:10 pm  

      Good luck, and please make sure you do actually ENJOY YOURSELF and HAVE SOME FUN, not just networking all the time! ;)

      Oh yeah, and I second Don - PICTURESSSS, PLEASE.

    5. platinum786 — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:12 pm  

      Sunny if your going to Pakistan spend a few days in Azad Kashmir, go to Mirpur, Dadyal, etc.

      Apart from the Natural beauty, you’ll also understand us UK Paki’s much better.

    6. Sunny — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:16 pm  

      Kashmir, with all the fighting going on right now? Not sure about that dude. I think I’ll stay in the (relatively) safer areas of Lahore and Karachi. Though, earlier I was planning to go through Baluchistan. Heh.

      What’s there in Mirpur?

      cheers everyone!

    7. marvin — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:37 pm  

      Have good one. Hopefully you’ll come back as a pragmatic fresh faced young Tory after your journey… :p

      Any reference to Douglas Adams cheers me up anyhow. I’m looking forward to the new ‘Douglas Adams’ novel!

    8. Rumbold — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

      We can calculate carbon footprints when we get back. Good luck.

    9. Vikrant — on 17th September, 2008 at 10:35 pm  

      Bastard! Gawd it makes me realise how much i hate my life in big flat cornfields of the mid western US >.<.

      What’s there in Mirpur?

      Well practically ancestral family of every third Pakistani in the UK lol :D .

    10. BenSix — on 17th September, 2008 at 10:52 pm  

      Oh, and may your maps be of the finest quality and supreme trustworthiness.

      “I’m looking forward to the new ‘Douglas Adams’ novel!”

      O/T, of course, but what what what what what? New ‘Douglas Adams’ novel?

    11. sarah — on 18th September, 2008 at 12:30 am  

      Karachi is beautiful, Lahore is Sunny. :)

      Seriously, enjoy your holiday.

    12. Laban — on 18th September, 2008 at 12:43 am  

      Very nice. Have a lovely time. Hope you’ll posty occasionally as there’s an awful lot going on over there.

    13. Sid — on 18th September, 2008 at 1:15 am  

      I don’t want to get grouchy on our farewell, but have you left someone with instructions on how to update the video on top of the page? It’s stuck on the hound dog in lipstick.

      Enjoy your trip!

    14. Sunny — on 18th September, 2008 at 3:11 am  

      Sid - I sent a mail about it a few weeks ago!

    15. Desi Italiana — on 18th September, 2008 at 3:43 am  

      I am soooo jealous, you’re going to have a blast. I’d really love to visit Karachi, mostly because I have a thing for coastal cities. I must have been a curse spittin’ and uncouth sailor in my past life.

    16. DavidMWW — on 18th September, 2008 at 8:17 am  

      Have a great time, Sunny. Godspeed! ;)

    17. Desi Italiana — on 18th September, 2008 at 8:38 am  

      Hey, Sunny, why not make a trip to the Bamiyan region in Afghanistan? The Bandh-e-Amir lake is beautiful, absolutely stunning.

      Don’t worry about NATO raids and all of that. Everyone’s going to die one way or another, and if you do get caught in the crossfire, at least you will go down as a martyr of think tank liberals ;)

    18. Desi Italiana — on 18th September, 2008 at 8:40 am  

      Oh, I KNOW: do the Grand Trunk Road and Khyber Pass- ON FOOT!

    19. cjcjc — on 18th September, 2008 at 8:45 am  

      I’m very jealous - exactly the kind of thing I am too timid to do.

      Enjoy yourself.

      (One hell of a carbon footprint you’re creating though with all this flying…!!)

    20. Jai — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:17 am  

      Have a fantastic time, Sunny. Very brave of you to do this — well done. And cjcjc is right — a lot of people think about doing this sort of thing but either never get around to actually doing it or don’t have the nerve to turn their dream into reality.

      You’re going to have some amazing experiences and gain some wonderful memories for the future. Quite an adventure ahead of you :)

    21. Jess — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:40 am  

      Have a great time :-) Sounds brilliant…

    22. Leon — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:56 am  

      Have fun mate, and keep us updated whenever you find an Internet connection. And don’t worry PP will be in mine and Rumbold’s safe hands (mwa haw haw!).;)

      I’m looking forward to the new ‘Douglas Adams’ novel!

      Eh? Isn’t he dead?

    23. Sofi — on 18th September, 2008 at 12:33 pm  


      Have a safe trip. I’m sure you’ll have a smashing time. Take lots of pics.

      BTW I’m sure youll be secretly logging on and checking progress of all your sites, hoping the likes of muzamil havent brought them down. But you leave a good bunch in charge, so dont worry too much [..!!]

      Azad kashmir isnt the fighting region, Sunny (i think youll find Lahore and Karachi are safe havens for those terroists at the moment!) over half the paki population visit it every year from the UK -thought you learned a thing or two about south asian politics!

      Anyway, have fun.

    24. platinum786 — on 18th September, 2008 at 1:19 pm  

      Azad Kashmir is 100% safe, you can’t go wrong.

      It’s got a lot of mountain scenery, you can see how families of British Pakistani’s live (most of us…lol)

      See a few forts, a few darbars etc… Mangla dam (don’t try to photograph it). It’s completely different to the bigger cities like Lahore and Karachi.

      You’ll also be surprised at the attitude towards Britain compared to British Pakistani’s. Britain is a fashion label there. If you can spare a couple of days, I’d suggest you do it.

      Don’t go to SWAT or FATA… we need someone to control your power mad admins on Barfi, with you dead Faddy will take over.

    25. El Cid — on 18th September, 2008 at 2:04 pm  

      Shame plan A didn’t work out, sounds like a crack.
      Still, plan B sounds good.
      Can’t you set up a facebook/diary or summink with photos so we can keep track and a get a feel for the cultural differences aorund the Indian sub-continent? On second thoughts, why add to your holiday burden.
      You can always return to the theme once you have cultivated your celebrity status (isn’t that what people do nowadays?) and then get the BBC to pay for it.

    26. Riz — on 18th September, 2008 at 2:07 pm  

      Sounds like a hell of a break….have a good one Jim Bob.

    27. justforfun — on 18th September, 2008 at 3:01 pm  

      Too late to go up into the mountains - it will be the beginning of winter. Its is the beginning of winter through out the way back - what were you thinking? I know the summers can be hot and the winter is cooler, but the weather can be atrocious as you would have made your way back to Europe on your moped.

      the above - this would have been a great trip - but the passes will be closed by snow soon ,if not by now already.

      As a Buddist you would have loved Leh and this half of Kashmir , and it would have been an amazing trip. If you can ride a horse - its also a good place for trekking - but its definately a Summer trip.

      So get off the plane at Delhi and then go South Sunny -I would suggest seeing a Tiger before they are all dead , but I think the parks will all be closed because of the monsoon. They open in October.

      Who recommended you go to India at this time? Too late for the Summer in the mountains but too early for the dry winter - the monsoon has just ended/ending. Is Bihar still under water?


    28. Anas — on 18th September, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

      Wow sounds like an amazing trip. Have fun! Are u gonna be visiting Rawalpindi/Islamabad at all? I’d recommend Taxila + Murree (not as amazing as Kashmir but still pretty breathtaking) if you’re round that way.

    29. Sunny — on 18th September, 2008 at 4:02 pm  

      thanks everyone!

      i’ll be posting from there, and also occasionally sending in pics too, dont worry!!

      i’ll see where I can travel… I haven’t made up my mind yet.

    30. marvin — on 18th September, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

      I’m looking forward to the new ‘Douglas Adams’ novel!

      Eh? Isn’t he dead?

      Yes, he’s still dead :(

      But his widow has sanctioned the next instalment in the Hitchhiker’s Guide

    31. BenSix — on 18th September, 2008 at 4:53 pm  

      “But his widow has sanctioned the next instalment in the Hitchhiker’s Guide…”

      I’d blog about this, but then I’d risk making DK sound like Queen Victoria in comparison.


    32. halima — on 18th September, 2008 at 6:14 pm  


      Come and visit me in the Du…it would be really cool.

    33. Sunny — on 18th September, 2008 at 6:52 pm  

      Halima? in Nepal? I was thinking about it briefly, but its too much of a mission! I don’t want to keep flying everywhere in India…. I prefer the buses and the trains - keepin it real ;)

    34. halima — on 18th September, 2008 at 7:25 pm  

      No, no , no, NOT a mission! Very easy.

      From Delhi/Lucknow, just a bus journey to the border to nepal and then another bus to kathmandu - if the hippies can do it, you can, too, you can, too, it’s environmentally friendly..;)

      Plus… folks who visit India all over, end up coming to Nepal and saying why didn’t i come here earlier.. it’s so peaceful …. I promise - won’t meet a Maoist unless you want to!

      Check my FB link on mountain pics for inspiration, won’t see those anywhere else in the world - unless you plan to visit Hindu Kush which REALLY is a mission.

    35. Rumbold — on 18th September, 2008 at 8:06 pm  

      Trains are the way to go, especially the ones with armed guards. You have to have a few screws loose to travel more than short distances by road.

    36. Sunny — on 18th September, 2008 at 9:25 pm  

      hmm… how long is the bus journey to nepal? and do I need a visa before I get there?

      I mean… it certainly sounds like an interesting idea. hmmm… but I only have ten days to kill in India.

    37. halima — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

      Let me FB you … can usually pick up visa on arrival.. trying to remember, perhaps 7-8 hrs via Lucknow to border to Nepal, but then 10 hrs to Kathmandu.

      Interesting idea? Hm. Try this. Oct time is the time to come here, and a 1 hr away trip to Nagorkot, according to Lonely Planet, is where you will see the best sunset in the world.

      will facbook u.

    38. Sunny — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:23 pm  

      ohhh… stop tempting me halima!!!

    39. Nyrone — on 18th September, 2008 at 10:50 pm  

      If you get a chance, Kerala is indeed beautiful.

    40. douglas clark — on 18th September, 2008 at 11:36 pm  

      Sounds good Sunny. Have a great time.

    41. Sofia — on 19th September, 2008 at 9:07 am  

      Your trip sounds amazing..pity the motorbike thing didn’t work out…hope you take a trip on a shatabdi…they play music on long distance journeys…

      I went to Pakistan for the first time last year and wish I had seen more of Lahore…but getting to Murree was worth the wait…if you get a chance…go up to Nathya Gali…it’s absolutely breathtaking…literally cuz you’re so high up…but well worth it for the views…

    42. Sofia — on 19th September, 2008 at 9:14 am  

      oh and there’s a place in lahore called ‘Butt sweet house’ (it’s pretty popular) …try it out if you ever need a sugar rush…
      anarkali just for the experience…and try to pop into some of the bookshops…

    43. Jai — on 19th September, 2008 at 10:10 am  

      oh and there’s a place in lahore called ‘Butt sweet house’

      Sounds like Peter Stringfellow’s expanding his empire to the subcontinent. Lots of leggy ladies teasingly dropping their dupattas, that sort of thing.

      (it’s pretty popular)

      I bet it is.

      (Stop frowning everyone, you know you were thinking the same thing ;) )

    44. Sofia — on 19th September, 2008 at 12:56 pm  

      Jai…not so much leggy ladies, as pot bellied men having one cake too many…the leggy ladies in Lahore don’t sweat…they stay in their ac cars and let the plebs endure the heat…

    45. Steve — on 19th September, 2008 at 4:20 pm  

      The other upside to not being able to ride a motorcycle back is that you might actually come back in one piece.

      I found being driven around the Delhi ring-road in a taxi unnerving enough.

      Even the prospect of riding one one of those wonderful Royal Enfields wouldn’t get me biking through Delhi.

    46. Fiona Bruce — on 20th September, 2008 at 10:50 am  

      If I was doing your trip i’d defo do Nepal esp as you have a friend to meet who will look after you. Might meet some Gurkha’s.

    47. sonia — on 24th September, 2008 at 10:52 pm  

      dear sunny i hope you have a nice trip. there is always some unforseen indian bureaucracy, isn’t there. such is life..i’m sure you will have brilliant experiences in any case.

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