In Quetta, I met Sarah and Rahul. They were staying at Hotel Bloom Star as well, or at least sleeping in the parking lot. They managed to get their hands on a rare 90's 4X4 Mercedes cube van and rebuilt it themselves. The result was amazing. Sarah and I were both suffering from Katmandu Quickstep so we ended up staying a day longer at the hotel than planned. Rahul and I worked on the van a bit, trying to find an irregular stalling issue. That evening, they invited me for dinner in their van, which was a lot of fun. Since we had roughly the same agenda for the next week or so, we decided to travel together for a few days.
A few hours after we left, the car stalled. Although the circumstances were a bit different than they had experienced in the desert, a vapor lock in the fuel line was still the most likely culprit.
Shortly after we started working on the engine, a police patrol came by and left an armed guard with us. We were on a "safe" road, but still in a tribal area. Earlier, when we bought fuel, we were warned that the road we were taking was not safe and although we were aiming for a shortcut, we decided to backtrack a bit.
The van had a fuel pump driven by the engine and a fuel backflow system, somewhat complicated by the additional fuel tanks built into the car. An intermittently failing fuel filter was the problem. Being Swiss, Rahul had a spare fuel filter along and shortly we were moving again.
By now, we were not able to shake the police escorts. Luckily only one handoff occurred and it went smoothly.
We were invited for tea at the police station. Remarkably, they had the greenest piece of grass in the middle of the desert.
Trucks here are personal works of art of the driver. This one had two seats on the front bumper.
Delicious spices, sold just behind the open sewer.
Cities in this part of the country don't have an underground sewer system. In Quetta the roads flood knee-deep after a monsoon downpour, mixed with all the other ingredients.
Deer are not a road hazard here.
Somewhere during the day, the trip meter ticked over the 20,000 kilometer mark since I left Canada.