Published: August 6th 2010August 6th 2010
A Tomb in the Graveyard
Day 27 Karachi to Hyderabad (Fri 30th July)
So a few of us decided to get up early today to utilise the gym at the hotel. LJ, being a personal trainer, had extracted promises from us the night before to meet there at 0630. I blame the alcohol! We spent an interesting hour in the gym and all promptly decide that exercise was inherently evil and to be avoided at all costs in the future!!
It was a refreshing start to the day though and we finally left our hotel in Karachi at 0830. Our first stop today was at the Makli Graveyard, which spans about 600 years and 8km, with some very important tombs in it. The place was amazing and I would have liked to have spent a bit longer there to have a good look around, but unfortunately a few of the group really didn’t want to be there so we only spent about 20 minutes.
Our lunch stop today was at a small holiday resort on Lake Keenjar. When I say holiday resort you probably conjure images of beaches and chalets and such like. Well, don’t. It was nothing like that. The views were
LJ entertaining the kids
really nice from the lake shore, as long as you don’t look too closely at the colour of the water - and definitely don’t look too closely at the accommodation. If you ever go to Lake Keenjar for a holiday - take a tent!
Oh, and Happy Birthday Cat! I even remembered to borrow Jo’s phone to send a birthday text...not sure if it went through though.
It was a good place to stop just for lunch though and we watched as all the kids in the area kept posing for Jo to take their pictures. And a few of the teenaged girls came over and chatted with us, wanting to practice their English and satisfy their curiosity at the same time. It was actually rather nice.
Then on our way. We only had to backtrack once, when the road disappeared. I don’t know how our driver did it, but he managed to turn the bus on a road that was exactly the width of the bus length. One side had a small wall but the other side was just cliff. Most of the girls closed their eyes, but I just couldn’t look away - and I
Stop the coach - the herds have right of way
decided I really like this driver!
There is not a lot in Hyderabad. We were on the outskirts of town and decided to go for a walk. The same rules apply here as in Iran - always walk in groups and make sure there is a guy with you at all times. So there were 9 of us in the end who walked down to the bazaar, which was of course closed with it being Friday (weekend seems to be Friday/Saturday in Islam). We really only wanted a shop though to get water and snacks for the drive tomorrow and that we managed to find. Coming out of the shop though, we discovered that we had collected something else - a police escort. Our guide came in to explain that they would be following us everywhere whenever we left the hotel from now on. LJ had tried to get them to leave us alone but it was impossible. Having them there just draws even more attention to us and apparently they sometimes use us as an excuse to mistreat the locals. At least we didn’t see any of that at all. They did follow us though and changed sides
The dust storm stirred up by the religious parade going past - I even saw a police forktruck!
of the road every time we did (they were driving) and hopped out to stand by the door of any shop we went into. It was bizarre and took a little getting used to. On the plus side - they did stop traffic for us so we could cross the road safely!
There are only around 30 000 tourists visiting Pakistan each year - which is less even than Iran. So yes, we should expect to stand out rather a lot.
Day 28 Hyderabad to Sukkur
Departure today was 0700 and our first stop was Moenjadaro, an excavation site of a civilisation around 5000 years old. There have apparently been 3 different settlements in the area but the first ones were 5000 years ago and just seemed to vanish off the face of the earth. Must be an archaeologists dream. It was so very hot though that we only managed a 20 minute tour of the site. We were all about collapsing from the heat and felt like we had been swimming in out clothes. I don’t think I have ever sweated so much in my life!
Since it was a long drive without
Foreigners 200, locals 10. Can you imagine the outcry if we tried that at home?
much to break it up, we had another quiz on the coach - which my team won resoundingly - free meal here we come (the free meal has been moved to Nepal, making it more interesting).
Arriving in Sukkur, we all went for a walk around town. First stop was at the bridge which was conveniently across the road from the hotel. It is the biggest and most important in the area and so no photos of course. At this point, I decided it was best to head back to the hotel and rest, as I was feeling rather ill. Everyone else had their turn of being sick in Iran, but it seems my turn has finally come.
Day 29 Sukkur to Multan (Sun 1st Aug)
So today I skipped breakfast and turns out I wasn’t the only one. Jo and I both looked like ghosts this morning and were given the front seats of the coach for the day. We didn’t make any long stops, except for lunch and even LJ wasn’t feeling 100% of the front of the bus was pretty quiet.
Multan is considered to have a quite radical Muslim element
and so we were “advised” not to leave the hotel. The guards at the door and sniper on the roof made sure we took that advice. As it was, all I was interested in at that point was sleep, so that is exactly what I did.
There are more photos below