Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
555Trip End Ongoing
Show trip route
Once in town, we found a hotel, and luckily for us, it had satellite tv. Have I told you how great tv is here. No. Well, for the people who don't know me, is that cricket is the love of my life, and they have a channel, direct from India, dedicated to cricket, and as it was a Saturday, I knew I had a long weekend of watching cricket. The only downer was the fact that there were no beers to be had !!! Such is life. Lucy understood this, so she settled back with me to take part in my weekend of sitting in front of the box !!! We did have a walk around Islamabad, and basically, it is a capital city, built into squares and is not a very exciting place. We did however make one important discovery. We found a Nike shop. As I was now wearing my new rubber sandals, they were not very comfortable, so I splashed out and bought a pair of Nike sandals. Lucy, who has had hers since time began, decided to follow suit and buy a pair as well. The only difference being, my old ones went in the bin, and her new ones went into her bag as she is having difficulties in giving up her old ones !!! Following morning, up early and off to the embassy compound to drop off our passports. The officials, will not let bags in, and you need to buy a ticket to get to your chosen embassy. Since 9/11, there is no walking to the embassies. We did this, and was soon speeding to the Indian Embassy. Being Pakistan, we were told to line up in men/women lines. Whilst lining up, I was speaking to a homie, and I told him I had been to Iran. He was shocked. He could not understand, as he said that it was a dangerous country and we should not have gone !!! I explained that it was as safe as Pakistan, and maybe, he should go visit it himself. After this took place, I was dragged off by the guards and told to go to another window. A window for foreigners !!! Straight to the front of the queue, we dropped off our passports and said goodbye to Islamabad. Not the most exciting place, but our job had been done, and we decided to go the 14klm's to Rawalpindi.
Packed the bags, jumped into a taxi, and headed for Rawalpindi. Home of Shoab Akhtar, so not really a very important place. Hotel found, and whilst going through the paperwork, Lucy found a book with travellers comments about the hotel. Apparently, 5 years ago, our mate Tadek stayed here. Had to be him, as how many Tadeks from Brisbane can there be !!! As he gave it a good write up, it had to be good. Only time would tell. After looking at about 5 rooms, Lucy chose one, cursing Tadek that obviously the rooms were better in his day, then we dumped our bags and went to the bazaar. It was quite full on compared to the quiteness of Islamabad. There was loads of vehicles intermixed with the street sellers. We were awaiting for an accident, but none never materialised. Eventually, as it always seem to happen, all roads lead to the Jami Mosque. It was quite nice in a falling down sort of way. There was some nice paintings inside, but it is the lack of money in this country, which can be quite hard. However, from a distance, we could make out another mosque, so we went traipsing through the markets trying to find it. Along the way, we found a whole load of baby chickens in cages, awaiting to be sold, but these were different, they were painted with water colour paints and were fluro green, orange and pink !!! Fuck knows why, but maybe when I was younger and I used to do loads of drugs, I never thought of doing this to our chickens. Maybe I should have taken something harder !!! Around the corner, we found our goal. It was a temple, not a mosque, but as we walked in, to take a closer look, a bunch of homies grabbed us and explained that this was the home of the Special Police. I pulled out our only trump card out. Australian cricket team. Because we were from Australia, we were given a guided tour of this old Gudwara. We were not allowed to take photos, but it was quite an amazing old temple, complete with old murals. Apparently, it had been built by some Sikh called Rai Bahadur Sardar Soojan Singh, but now it was being left to rot here in Rawalpindi.
That was pretty much the end of our twin city tour. Our passports were being processed and as we now had a weeks wait ahead, we have decided to push up north to Peshawar