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Published: August 12th 2007
Domes of the Mahabat Khan Mosque
Yes I have arrived in Pakistan and I have heard and read more about bomb blasts and death in the different Pakistani cities than I ever did in Kabul... The day before I arrived in Peshawar a bomb killed a dozen people not far from my hotel and a few days after I left several more bombs went of in Peshawar... So I don't know which is safer, Afghanistan or Pakistan...
Peshawar is a nice city with a great atmosphere... I visited the smugglers bazaar which I didn't find that impressive... Sure you can buy your hashish and what not there, and they have a few small arms for sale... Of course a picture had to be taken of me with an AK-47... They also offered me cocaine, which I politely refused... But if you are into all that stuff, I suspect the prices are quite reasonable...
After Peshawar I went to Lahore, where I stayed in a great hostel called The Regal Internet Inn... The dorms are not that great but it is not the rooms you come for, but the people and the great staff... I met loads of interesting travellers which was great after those lonely
Inside the Muhabat Khan Mosque
weeks in Afghanistan. There was some initial suffering in the beginning because most of the shops and eateries were closed because of Eid... You survive Ramadan and than it is followed by a week of celebrations, which sounds great in theory, but for travellers it means even less food for a week!! Everybody in the hostel was relieved when Eid was over!
Every Thursday the hostel organises a Sufi night, where they bring there guests to a Sufi performance in town... So of course I went and it was great... It is a bit like a rave, but with only a selected few allowed dancing. It started with some drumming and an eccentric Rasputin like figure dancing really weirdly and staring madly out of his eyes... Than he was removed and the drumming became more frantic, one by one the doped up dancers came on the floor and started dancing in a trance like state... Most of it involved bobbing their heads up and down in a very fast fashion which made their faces somewhat distorted, they all had some individual moves too... One did what looked like the fast forward version of the robot dance, another was just
twirling around... The crowd is just as interesting to watch as the performance itself as they all are completely stoned out of their minds (one guy was walking around with around 10 joints in his hands and letting the people in the audience take a puff from the whole bunch...) After a while they get completely caught up in the whole performance and are chanting with it and some of them get up and dance, which is not allowed so they get shoved of the dance floor again.. Very interesting!
The next day I went to Wagah with some other people from the hostel to see the closing of the border ceremony at the Indian border... This is more like going to a concert... When we arrived there was Pakistani rock music playing as the people were ushered to their seats, as foreigners we get the best places close to the actual gates... Than an old fellow walks up and down the road with a Pakistani flag, whipping up the crowd... They all shout something like Pakistan Zindabad!! And on the other side of the border you can hear the same thing happening... Than it all starts, the soldiers
Bollywood or perhaps Lollywood mural with bad guy's sporting bad moustaches and good guy's... Well lets face it.. Also wearing bad moustaches
come on in their most fancy dress and the Pakistani and their Indian counter parts try to out shout and out do each other... There is a lot of vigorous saluting, marching and stamping of feet and then the flags get lowered and it is all over again... Until the next day of course... So very amusing!
That evening the hostel brought in a Pakistani music group and we had some kind of a party, dancing on the rooftop terrace...
The next day it was time for my first beer in 3 month and some Gin & Tonic... Getting beer in Pakistan is no easy task, you need special permission to get it and than you go to one of the international hotels to buy it... Or if you don't have the special permit, you just bribe the people behind the counter... Both work... With the first beers came the first hangover in 3 month... But it was worth it!!
Than I finally said my goodbyes to my new made friends at the hostel and I went with Nick (an Argentinean cyclist) to Multan where I met Shane another cyclist who had left Lahore 2 days earlier...
Beautiful windows and balconies in the old town
Looked around town at some shrines and than went to Uch Sharif, which has some more impressive shrines! Nick went back to Lahore and Shane and I took a bus to Quetta...
I was planning on staying one night and 2 whole days in Quetta, but the bus was delayed on route with about 12 hours so one day was lost and the next day the train left in the morning while I thought it would leave in the evening.. So all I did was go to the bank to take out money... It is the longest side trip I have taken to get money out of an ATM machine... Ha, ha, ha...
Anyway I got a train to Moenjodaro, one of the oldest cities in the world, belonging to the Indus civilizations... The ruins are quite impressive if you think it was all built 5000 years ago... And nobody seems to be visiting the place; I was alone on the sight, except for a few Pakistanis...
And now I am in Karachi, waiting for my flight to London where I shall do one of those fantastic money making clinical trials!
For the next 2 month
Bad or good guy (no moustache thus hard to tell) with AK-47 in Smuggler's bazar
there will not be much happening on this site... I will continue my travels on the 4th of January when I return to Karachi...
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