I was so busy worrying about Iran, I forgot to worry about Pakistan. Having just read the FCO advice on Pakistan, I’m now shit scared. Since the bomb in a hotel a week or so ago, it sounds like chaos over there. British Airways have suspended flights to Islamabad, and the Consulate General of Pakistan in Istanbul are just not giving out visas for any reason at the moment. Even if I do get the Iranian visa, it looks like I can’t get a Pakistani visa.
The FCO advice is, as ever, very useful but difficult to comprehend with lists of names, but no map. So I’ve created two maps on Google, mapping out the FCO advise for Iran and Pakistan, so I can see the advice on a map instead of reading random names (the FCO should do this themselves…). The map for Iran is here, and the map for Pakistan is here. (edit: maps now removed to avoid confusing travellers with out of date information).
I was feeling pretty OK about Iran – the risks were there, but by exercising caution and using common sense, I’d only be in the “danger zone” for about a week. For Pakistan though, the FCO are advising against staying in Western hotel chains, from travelling at all to major cities, and the Balochistan “danger zone” is twice as big (and sounds scarier on John and Sally Watson’s website), and so would take twice as long to cross, as the Iranian side.
It’s all really putting quite a dent in my plans.
The only real alternative is to go north through the ‘Stans and China, and back south through Laos and into Thailand, or to fly over as originally planned – but I now think that’s cheating! But, to go through the ‘Stans and China now, the weather is getting colder by the day, and I wouldn’t be through for a few months.
Oh what to do!? Decisions and dilemmas!