Welcome to the Punjab and Sikhism
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
We had planned to stay at the Golden Temple itself which is free (as part of Sikhism's all inclusive nature) (Not that type of all inclusive). Due to the delay on the train the dorms were full and I think Lady E was a little relieved as there was essentially one huge bed which 20 people slept on in a free for all. This was how we proposed to live 'i.e. living and eating with the other Pilgrims however we ended up staying around the corner in a 'bearable' room (Lady E description) for about 4 pounds, but we did have a private bathroom.
Started to stuff clothes, underpants and socks into every hole in the outside wall and around the AC unit (which obviously doesn't work but we would have had to pay for it if it did)
Had a vegetable thali (wow we are back on root veg this is getting exciting). We then squeezed in with 8 other people into a 5 seat minibus and drove to the Pakistan border. A typical Indian welcome, get told different things by different people ("no queue for foreigners through that gate", "no foreigners through gate join the queue" etc etc. Ended up standing seperately Erica in a queue for women, me in a queue for men standing still in the baking heat for about 1 hour. Thankfully I seem to really get along with the Sikh's so had a good chat with the men around me. Erica just kept getting pushed in front of and stared at. The gate then opened, the women went through, then the men, so I met up with Lady E for the first time in an hour. We then joined two seperate queues again one for men one for women and did this another two times before we finally got to the border. All very frustrating in the heat and the flies all around us.
The ceremony was most definitely worth the wait though it was fantastic, starting with a little flag waving then came the audience participation before kicking off a big Indian dancing session with loads of women and kids bustin some real hot moves
We then went out for a quick bite to eat and had Veg butter masala and Mushroom Masala which was lovely. (You can't help but notice that up in the punjab the people are a little more rotund I think its a combo of oily dryer curries and the fact that you possibly eat more as the veg just dont fill you up as much as meat.
Then headed off to bed for an early start the next day. Lots to do.