In Obey we passed by an armed unit of 10 armoured vehicles full of extra scary heavy-duty weapons. They didn’t even glance at us as we drove into town, so no-one from Chisht had bothered to contact them, despite what they told us. Our Chisht security detail had been a scam to get money out of us. Ce’st la vie.
Rather than hang around and attract attention, we chose to drive on because having an army escort from Obey would have made us a very obvious target. If we’d managed to slip past them without being identified as tourists then we had a good chance of making it on our own.
We had stop at a service station for us all to dash behind walls for bathroom relief. The driver was very nervous and didn’t really want to stop for any reason but needs must…. Cameras had to be put away and our profile kept as low as possible.
After 6 hours we reached the outskirts of Herat and we stopped at an army checkpoint. They were adamant that we couldn’t continue into town because it was too dangerous and G did his usual argument about it being far more dangerous for us to go back. Our driver complicated matters by telling the checkpoint about A’s professional camera kit and made binocular gestures to imply that we were spies (getting his own back for being humiliated at Chisht).
Eventually we got an army escort across the Herat plain and negotiated our way through several other checkpoints in town. Our driver then tried to dump us at the bus station, not our hotel and it took an argument to make him drive us halfway there before transferring us to another van.
When we got to our hotel it was closed for refurbishment, despite having confirmed our rooms earlier in the day. Luckily a passer-by recommended another one nearby and they booked us into clean rooms with hot showers. Fantastic.
We were so exhausted the hotel staff ordered take-aways for us and we ate together in P’s room.