Goodbye Multan and thanks!

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
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Trip End Nov 15, 2007


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Flag of Pakistan  ,
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lahore
9.9.06
Goodbye Multan, and thanks.

So much is crammed into our days it is difficult to condense for the Pod.

The Police Mess cook brought us delicious salty buttermilk, a thin yoghurt drink, I'm not sure which animal it comes from, but if you let it stand it separates to a clear fluid on top and thick yoghurt at the bottom. It's an acquired taste but very refreshing when icy cold, and the salt is very necessary in this climate. We were also given bread baked on the side of a Tandoori oven which we went inside the Police Station to watch the bakers in action. Everyone sits on the floor here to prepare things.

Our 'Scort', as its written on the Police vehicle, stared at 8am today, but longer distances were covered by fewer vehicles. Mohammed must have let the forward crew know that we enjoyed the sight seeing, because we were taken to the Harappa (www.harappa.com) museum on our way to Lahore. This is an extremely old burial site which is under restoration and many unusual objects have been uncovered. The museum was great, we enjoyed walking around it, but it was far too hot to walk around the burial site, so we sat under a tree and talked to our guard about the cost of cigarettes and the average monthly wage in Pakistan. I brought drinks and juice out of the camper and we had a nice break under the trees with the museum guard and a few young men who came over to chat.

On our arrival to Lahore, our four escorts asked us how much further we wanted to go or were we intending to stay at the Police Lines in Lahore. It was about 5pm and we indicated that we intended crossing the border into India that night. (We didn't want to be any more trouble to these kind people). There was a short discussion amongst the guards, they sprang into action, and set a cracking pace in the race to the border. We were extremely amped by the time we had taken many narrow side streets and too many heavily trafficked main roads at lightening speed, with the Police siren on and the guards gesturing to the people to get out of the way. We were almost over being escorted by this stage.

When we got to the border we realized what the rush was all about. We had to witness the lowering of the flag, a very important ceremony between the Pakistanis and the Indians at dusk every night. It was wonderful, a great show of gesticulating, ceremony and crowd involvement , lots of cheering, jeering and flag waving by the thousands of locals both Pakistani and Indian, chants across the gates of the border (there is only about a meter or so of 'no man's land' in between them) and the soldiers and police resplendent in their colourful uniforms. We were over awed and grateful to have witnessed this event. Luckily our four Escort Police were still waiting for us when the ceremony ended, they watched it too, we were able to share a drink and thank them for their care of us today.

We slept in our campers in the grounds of the Immigration and Customs department and were able to have a refreshing cold shower. The local dog whom Lynn named 'Grovel' because he was so good at it, kept us company during the evening and managed to beg a few biscuits and yoghurt out of us. It's tempting to touch the animals we meet, but for safety sake, we don't. There was a tiny chipmonk or squirrel, grey with lovely black stripes down his back, with a tail longer than his 12cm body, cleaning himself in the knot of the tree just outside my camper window. He could not see me but I was fascinated by his quick, nervous movements and his speed down the tree trunk.
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