I am currently spending hours waiting at the Indian border as we make our way to the holy Sikh city of Amritsar, so it's a good time to relieve the boredom and look back on the best week so far. Week five in Pakistan has been a delight; from the wondrous people and culture to the breathtaking views - this country really is a hidden Asian gem. Our week began with the most extraordinary journey. After crossing the Iranian border we began a mammoth 18-hour non-stop bus trip through the most unforgivable terrain. Our bus merely lurched forward as much of the road either collapsed into the wilderness or proved almost impassible due to sand drifts.As the sun reached its peak in the midday skythe air conditioning on board inevitably broke down causing temperatures inside to sore to an unbearable 50 degrees. This coupled with the road disappearing into a dirt track led to the most difficult and uncomfortable journey I had ever faced.It was almost 3am before we arrived in Quetta, where a cold beer (the first in 10 days!) was most welcome. Quetta is the first major settlement on this side of the Afghan border. Thus it has proved a training ground for the Taliban, is a strong hold of Islam and has many refugees fleeing the current conflict. So it was hardly a surprise that our walk through the centre to reach our restaurant received a mix reaction.Again the whole city literally ground to a halt as some locals were inquisitive and welcoming however others spat on us and even throw stones at our group. On the advice of police we were not allowed to stop but the rush of adrenalin from the unknown hostile throng did prove exhilarating. After being fed and rested in Quetta we were on the road again to Sukkur. Driving through the villages where most Pakistanis live, the level of deprivation and almost primitive way of life was eye opening - almost everyone was fighting to survive. And because so few westerners ever venture this far (only a few hundred ever year) our bus attracted much attention. This along with the obvious precarious security situation meant we required around the clock protection from the country's elite forces. It was a rather daunting yet exciting experience to be constantly surrounded by heavily armed guards. Our next stop marked probably the most surreal moment of my life. Our guide had organized a visit to an outcaste Hindu settlement in Sukkur. After a horse and cart ride through the town, where hundreds lined the streets we traveled by boat to their island. It was there we were greeted like rockstars as a crowd of thousands gathered. They were a community shunned by the majority of Muslims and apparently saw our visit as vindication. As the crowd chanted in excitement, many would literally grab out to touch you and had to beaten back by our guards. It was an incredible moment and one I am not likely to forget.With temperatures well into the 40s, worsening hygiene and spicy food meant illness has now become widespread on the OzBus. Every morning more would feel unwell (so far I have thankfully escaped) but our growing sense of camaraderie saw everyone rally around.Our stay in Pakistan ended in Lahore, a massive city of 6 million people. We visited the spectacular Red Fort and a beautiful mosque on par with those in Iran. But it was the hustle and bustle that proved fascinating; the sounds, tastes and smells. This was epitomised by the meat markets where all sorts of animals were caged and slaughtered on the streets in the most horrific conditions.Pakistan was a real highlight, from the most colourful freight trucks to the many wild camels. For a country perceived as extremist and more associated with terrorism it was infact quite liberal and diverse. Talking with the locals though it became apparent that most demanded the removal of Musharraf as President. Just like in Iran the consensus appeared to chime with the words of the widely mourned Bhutto 'democracy is the best revenge.'And so another week another border, though this one proved very special. Each day on the Pakistan/Indian border thousands gather to watch the lowering of the flag. In an atompshere much like a football match, each side is divided by massive iron gates. The ceremony almost tribal in nature, which involved rather aggressive marching was highly entertaining.And so its on to India, a country of much colour, spice and of course lots more people ...