It was now getting late in the day, the darkness hadn't set in yet but evening was on its way and I was thinking that these are small roads connecting through villages and until I touch N5 (GT Road) to Pindi I may not be able to ask for directions very much longer as people in the villages empty the streets rather early.
From Chiniot I went directly towards Pindi Bhattian, from where I aimed towards Jalalpur Bhattian, and then to Rasul Nagar because those were the towns I had planned my route on through Google Maps prior to leaving Karachi. They were the most direct and straight route to get me to N5 Highway in the shortest possible time.
As I approached Pindi Battian, instead of heading to Jalalpur Bhattian, I instead was put on a bypass which took me towards Hafizabad. By the time I figured that out I had traveled a good half hour and so I pulled over and quickly viewed the road map I had stashed in my backpack. I came to a realization that I was not too far off route and could still make my original route by going through Hafizabad and aiming for Alipur Chatta which would place me at Rasul Nagar and onward to Wazirabad which would be on the N5.
A second option that appeared was that instead of heading North from Hafizabad to Wazirabad I could head East from Hafizabad towards Gujranwala which would also put me on the N5 earlier. But when I did the math, it was taking me in a different direction since my aim was North West and not to head East to Gujranwala.
Upon reaching Hafizabad I was faced with total traffic jam. And I mean not even a pedestrian could walk through this traffic. It was totally stopped. Bikes and Chin Chins were face to face in all directions, front tires of bikes and cars were hurdled amongst one another and it seemed as there was no way out. I got off my bike right in the middle of the road where all traffic was jammed up, turned off the bike and tried to squeeze myself in between cars and bikes to walk up to the two traffic police officers standing only 15 feet in front of me trying hopelessly to navigate traffic which simply was in no way going to move in any direction.
I told them my situation that I had come from Chiniot and was heading to Islamabad, what do I do and where do I go? One of them said to stay on this road ..... ROAD???? You mean Parking Lot !!! And a half hour ahead there will be a sign leading me towards Gujranwala. The other officer disagreed and said the same dilemma exists further ahead with traffic so I will not be able to reach Gujranwala. Its best I turn around and go back a few yards and then turn right onto another street which will get me around this town and then put me on a road straight towards Alipur Bhattian.
What got me kind of worried was the response I heard from the first officer;
"Is waqt late nai ho gya os taraf se jana?" And the second officer responded, "han he to lekin agar ap sham se pehle pehle par kar lo to sahi ha".
I now asked what do they mean sham se pehlay. They both tried to speak at the same time, but what they said was there are muggings that take place in the dark in these regions. They said its still another 45 minutes to maghrib and this area will take you at least a half hour to clear in order to get to the other side so just drive fast. I said how do I get out of this mess?
One of them walked back to the bike with me and helped move the vehicles around me so that I was able to turn my bike around, got me to the side of the road near the shops and guided me through traffic and bikes that were facing me as now I was going on the wrong side of the road heading into traffic. But soon I cleared this section and turned right onto a smaller road which had a bit of traffic but was moving.
I pulled over where I saw a clearing. Opened my back pack while the entire community was sitting in shops like small street cafe's with charpais everywhere watching me closely. I quickly pulled out my jacket for the night drive, as well as changed my helmet visor and put on the clear visor for the night drive. I had to unscrew the dark visor off the helmet and screw the other clear one on so I had to be careful not to drop the screws on the dirt below.
As I was done, I took a quick small bottle of water down and mounted my bike to burn some rubber.
I drove as fast as I could as safely as I could until it began to get darker and darker. More and more mosquitoes kept hitting my visor, and they were BIG. The cars coming towards me would have their high beams blaring and it was tough to see but I knew if they were coming from that direction then the road is straight and no need to worry about it turning until I pass them. What began to worry me now was when the other cars came towards me I was not able to see any bumps or holes in the road as it was already bumpy but I simply could not let down my speed.
It was a thin road connecting between villages.
Then by shear luck, a white Mitsubishi Van passed me by from behind and was traveling rather fast blowing dust in my face. I took this opportunity to chase it since he clearly knew his ways in this area.
It was dark now and that van drove left and right going around the road as it turned and I followed at a very good speed keeping a safe distance for sudden stops.
This went on for quite some time, as we drove madly through those villages. I was hoping he didn't stop, or that he didn't live in these areas as I would just end up chasing him into his village.
But luckily, he kept going as we passed little rivers on our one side and then passing over the river to the other side until we came to a town called Ali Nagar, which was a few minutes from the N5 at Wazirabad.
I finally stopped at a petrol pump and fueled up. Took in some water and cleaned my helmet visor from all the dead mosquitoes and dirt and then mounted the bike and got to the N5.
Not sure what time it was but it was pitch dark for the past 2 hours as I drove through some rough villages but relieved to be on N5 (GT Road) which was very smooth, well lit and a pleasure to drive on.