Saturday, 29 September 2007

It's a hard life - even for camels!

There can't be many places on earth which look as empty as this from above.. Mark is currently cycling through the district of Chagai, in the north west of the province of Pakistan. If you click on the hyperlink, you will link to a huge database of facts about the area. The section which deals with climate contains the following which goes a long way towards explaining the barrenness of the aerial photo....

The climate of the district ranges from extreme hot in summer to severe cold in winter. The difference between day and night temperature is considerable and the climatic conditions vary from area to area. Since the district falls outside the sphere of monsoon currents, the rainfall is irregular and scanty. The annual average rainfall in the district is 104 mm measured over the years 1993 - 1995. In the same period the average minimum temperature was 2.4 0C in January and maximum temperature 42.5 0C in July.

In these extreme climatic conditions even the camels must struggle

This is another photo from the journal of the couple who cycled to India last year , much of the way along the same route as Mark is following. I have been reading extracts from their diary in the last couple of days and the parts which deal with this leg of their journey are very illuminating!

According to his GPS tracker, Mark overnighted in Dalbandin.. It is hard to imagine how people sustain themselves in a town like this in the middle of a desert. With hardly a scrap of vegetation, there is clearly little cultivation possible. Having said that, there is some evidence that housing avoids the areas most prone to sheet wash when sudden rains in the surrounding hills will bring torrents of water through the town.

Dalbandin is one of the towns along the railway line through this part of Balochistan and a search on Flicker produced a photo of the station!

The search also produced an interesting menu from a 'hotel' in Dalbandin..

There is some choice for vegetarians though you may have to use a bit of imagination to work out what 'Aamlate' is!

Back on the road today, the going may be tough if this photo from another travel blog is to be believed

Earlier today, however, Mark passed close to the first real signs of cultivation in the region..The torrent course entering the view from the left obviously sustains cultivation in flooded fields on the surrounding flood plain.

Just south of Mark's route today and rising steeply from the desert plain to a height of over 3000m are the Ras Koh mountains, infamously noted as the location of Pakistan's nuclear bomb tests in 1998.

And finally (for today!) if proof were needed of the importance of water, albeit seasonal and infrequent, this view certainly has it!

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