Category Archives: Asia

Memories from Lahore

When I arrived I was in shock and I cannot remember much from what was happening. The things I remember are more like a film I have seen once, not like my own memories.

There is a collection of pipes on a chimney in a TV room. Portrait of a scary man in our bedroom, T. covering it with a towel. There is a fan on a very high ceiling.  There is me, being scared of T. at first, his voice sounding different. His red T-shirt when I saw him after four years on the Lahore street. There are two boxes of grapes from Quetta. I cannot remember all these general things. I don’t remember what colour were the room walls. I honestly do not remember what we were doing during all these long hours in the house. I don’t remember the moment when it felt more normal. I know that I liked the city, although I do not know why exactly…

***

Staying at the beautiful big old house with Auntie and Uncle. Looking at the collection of old pipes. Looking at Olimpic games on TV. Eggs and toast for every breakfast. Driving in air conditioned car. Driving in non- air conditioned car. Driving around the city. Old fort. Diamond district. And the Mosque. The most beautiful Mosque I have ever seen. Ramadan. Iftar. Pakora, Samosa, fruit salad. Drinking beers in a hotel room. Meeting Haider and Nadia. Planning to eat a steak every night and always ending up eating Auntie’s delicious food. Rain in the morning. Power on, air codition on. Power off, air condition off. Black outs. Olimpics. Watching Olimpics in the middle of the night. Four dogs. One small grey fluffy cat, looking at T. with big sad eyes when he was leaving the room.Feeling lonely. Cigarettes.
Breakfast every morning – eggs, toasts, chicken, cheese, jam and tea, on the big old wooden table.
In Ramadan everything is closed. We ‘broke the law’ and went to Gloria Jean’s for coffee. I smoked so many cigarettes I felt sick. It is hot. We came back to the house.
People don’t stare like in Delhi.City is old and beautiful. Clean. There are no rubbish in the canal on this side.
I am trying to convince T. to go to Gilgit. Everybody says it’s amazing.
In this old beautiful house with caring Auntie I felt like a small kid. Especially when we were sneaking to the fridge in the night…

***

Lahore

In our room there was a big air conditioning machine. Everytime the electricity went off, machine stopped and the room became unbelievably hot. We were lying there on a bed not moving, just waiting for electricity to come back again. Every time swearing,when it went off and happy when it came back.
This was one of many entertainments in Pakistan. The other ones were driving a car in a crazy traffic, hiding the fact that you are unmarried couple in public, trying to be unseen when eating during a day in Ramadan time.

Lahore was a beautiful old city, full of colours and sounds but it was definitely too hot at this time of a year. It had all of the big city amusments, like resturants, cafes, cinema, shops. It was quite modern, so were people living there.
Lahori girls were really beautiful and I liked their style. It was simillar to Delhi, but kurtas were longer and they didn’t exaggerate with tacky jewellery like Indian girls. They paid more attention to fabrics and looked more suphisticated.

Our time in Lahore went fast and thanks to amazing hospitality of Uncle and Auntie I will always have the best memories form that place.

Uncle and Auntie are part of T family, but the funny thing in Pakistan is that you call all people older than you ‘uncle’ and ‘auntie’, even strangers you meet on a street. Anyway Uncle and Auntie from Lahore were so nice, that sometimes I wished they were my real uncle and auntie:)

arriving in Lahore

I was nervous and scared. But I new these feelings were not going to help me now, so I decided to stop them and be strong istead. As soon as a bus crossed Indian- Pakistani border nothing changed, exept all the signs were from now on in urdu and the streets were so much cleaner here. Inspite of that I still did not know what to expect, in a country which world was describing as one of the most dangerous nowadays. I was afraid that T would be late and I would have to wait alone in this plac,e I have no idea about what its like and how to behave.
Bus entered the closed parking space surrounded with high walls and barbed wire. I saw him through the window, standing there, tall, looking at the bus, in dark red t-shirt. After long minutes of waiting bus finally stopped, I got out, took my rucksack being the first one from all the passengers and went out of the parking spot, through small wooden door. I walked the warm street, caring heavy rucksack on one arm, looked up at him and didn’t know what to do.
In Pakistan women and man are not allowed to show their feellings in public, no hugs, no kissing, not even holding hands.
He hugged me, saying he doesn’t care, but I couldn’t stop feeling we are strangers now. So much time has passed. We went insinde his friend’s car and we started talking. I was chating with them like I do with people offering me a ride during my hitch-hiking trips, it felt so strange. I was tired and I was going on some kind of autopilot. H., his friend, was a good guy, he gave us a ride to Auntie’s house. We were suppouse to stay there for some time. It was the most beutiful old house, with high cellings, big garden and tall windows. Inside was huge and had an antique look. I felt there, like in the old times scenery. T introduced me to Auntie and Uncle and two of their children. They were all so nice and caring that I felt little guilty being tired and boring, and just wanting to sleep after my trip. They gave us the room together, which was surprising to me, cause I thought in Pakistan everybody is conservative and would never let sleep unmarried couple in the same room. So much I didn’t know yet.
I don’t remember a lot from my first day in Pakistan. I was too tired and in a little bit of a shock. Even after T kissed me when we were finally alone I couldn’t relax. I felt a little bit like after a car crush, I couldn’t believe that I came here, to this place, to see T. after five years. We were both different now, older and changed, and we had to find eachother again.

way to lahore

I was in a bus, women next to me was sick. All the way.

I thought it was good sitting next to the women, no, I wasn’t.

We were driving with two police cars- one in front and one behind us. They had almost constantly their siren on which made me laugh. Three stops for meals. Wagah border, where the ceremony already started, police had to organise drive through all these hundreds of people. There we were, in Pakistan. No going back, I had to go, face my destiny, or better say- my crazy travel ideas.

Porters in blue turbans with long beards were really dissapointed I didn’t let them carry my rucksack. I was dissapointed as well. It was hot, rucksack was heavy and controls were many. But I really had no money at all.  Border controll lasted forever. Bus was full of people, children and laggage. Porters carried every bag, package, sack and suitcase from the bus all the way to the check- point and then back. They controlled everything. They also opened mine. I forgot about the pepper spry that Cris gave me ‘just in case’. When they took it out and ask what it was I didn’t know what to say, I completely forgot it was there.

‘Mosquito spray?’ they asked helpfully.

‘Yes, yes! mosquito spray!’- easy.

Also, totally unaware I smuggled a small plastic bottle of vodka, mine and Cris’s idea to keep our stomachs free of bacterias.

After controls, there was yet another meal. Tea with deep-fried samosas. I had enough. I was not hungry which caused general surprise. Not carying about anything anymore I was sitting outside. Our bus was late and my mobile didn’t work. I asked to make a phone call.

In a small, dirty office I called him just to say we will see each other in about an hour.

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WYPRAWA INDIE PAKISTAN- WSKAZÓWKI

Przez to, że ostatnio brałam udział w konkursie, w którym musiałam opisać moja podróż po Indiach i Pakistanie, mam tutaj cały długi wyczerpujący opis. Niestety, do konkursu obowiązywał limit znaków, więc moja historia została znacznie okrojona. Tutaj podaję pełną, znacznie ciekawszą i barwną wersję. Mam nadzieję, że jeśli ktoś to kiedyś przeczyta, to może chociaż trochę mu się to kiedyś przyda w jego własnej podróży:) Continue reading Wskazówki dla początkujących