Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Gettin a visa card, now a days isn't hard.

I have a dislike of travel blogs that just talk about how they got thier visas from this embassy or that embassy, and how they were all really inefficient and the system is maddness.

Having visited Lunar house in Croydon, to get Esther's visa renewed in her Canadian passport, and having worked in the immigration service (albeit undercover for the BBC) I'm less inclined to criticise other countries' visa systems because the UK one is down thier with the worst of them, but much more expensive.

I had planned on applying for visas along the route, but in the absense of working on the bus, I've turned my attention to getting a visas with a total failure rate.

The tricky ones are Iran and I thouht to a lesser extent Pakistan.

Iran have issued an online visa applicaiton service which allows you to apply, and if you get it, they email you a refernece number which you can take to an embassy of your choice where they will then stamp the visa into your passport. Alternatively you can use a visa service which I might give better odds of being accepted. It's more expensive and there's no way of knowing if it's more reliable, but that's what I've chosen to do.

At the Pakistan embassy I got the shock of discovering that they weren't issuing visas for overland travel from Iran. They deem that the region is too dangerous to allow visitors between Bam in Iran and Quetta.

I wanted to find out if the border was open to road traffic. If the border is open, there is a chance that I could buy a plane ticket, get the visa and then a refund on the ticket, then go by road.

At the end of the Grease to Greece we were invited by the British Ambassador to the embassy for an official reception. The ambassador has now moved and is ambassador to Iran. I emailed him to ask about the border and although reading between the lines it seems like the border is open he made it very clear this border region, Balochistan, is rife with bandits/terrorists and if I was kidnapped or robbed there is very little they could do to help. He re-iterated the a FCO travel advice for the region.

He cc'd in an embassy contact in Pakistan who replied with a litany of kidnappings and terrorist strikes that had occurred over the last 12 months in that area.

At the same time, I read about a motorbiker that has just ridden along that route, and described military escorts along the route from Bam to Quetta providing protection for traffic and while I am writting I've just heard on the radio about the death of Baitullah Mehsud.

Hopefully over the next 2-3 month by the time I get there the situation will have calmed down, and if not I'll have to look at an alternative route through, Turkmensitan and into Russia. This will be terrible as it will mean missing out India and Sout East Asia. Heading into the cold climate of Russia will cause real problems with the waste vegetable oil solidifying.

I'll know if I've been accepted for the Iranian visa in the next 2-3 weeks. I'll know about the Balochistan when I get to Iran.

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