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Pakistan - South - (Lahore, Peshavar, Islamabad) 1/2

Pakistan a beautiful country full of friendly people, amusing scenery and tradition.

pakistan-gilgit-people-eatingWAGAH - INDIA/PAKISTAN border
Crossing from India to Pakistan is possible through the Wagah border, which is about 25 km from Amritsar - the city of Sikh's & The Golden Temple. It is easy to get on a local bus to Atari. From here it is an easy distance by the cycle rickshaw (15RS) to the border. Crossing itself is just fun. The bureaucracy between the countries is really ridiculous. Especially India's paranoid approach, with all the forms and many check - like anyone could disappear in between there. You have to pass about 600 meters through the border zone. Stopping at least 3 times on the Indian side for a various reasons. If you come as a backpacker, there are usually no delays. Once you get to Pakistan side, you only enter your passport, take a small ticket with number, pass it to a soldier when you exiting the gate and you are out. No fiddling, no bother.

Smoking "Hukker" on the street - Lahore
pakistan-smoking-nargile-bazaar-streetThe most interesting (apart from the famous flag lowering ceremony) is to watch a stream of porters on both sides carrying a cargo , which they off loaded from the truck on one side and after passing the border zone it again gets loaded on another truck on another side. Each country has got a different coloured uniforms and they carry all boxes to a dividing line. Here they swap a box with their colleagues. Being very careful not to step over the line. To make sure this is being fully followed you have many soldiers closely watching on each side. And if a careless one steps accross the line? Well, a lots of shouting immediately follows.

The city with so much feelings. Buzzy multicultural mix coming almost from the fairytale. The old city has very special atmosphere with its old bazaars, full of smells - spice, vegetable, meat and dirt. This city with old Persian Afghan influence was a very important place on the silk road and caravans had stopped there for ages. You can still find many caravanserai's's - usually a big house with a simple accommodation, where the camel caravans stopped for a night and merchants sipped tea and exchanged stories from their travelling. One street leading from a Kabul gate was named after those travellers - "A story tellers street" Old city used to be closed behind the wall and twelve gates led into it. Nowadays only a few of them are left, with the most famous Kabul gate. For me the most magical in the city is to find a little hideaway with old samovar and sip "Kawa" (green tea with cardamon) with the locals. I have found two beautiful places like this. One is in old caravanserai house just about 30 meters from the exit of the cinema road in the first floor. When you walk, you will see a few "keer" places on your right and on your left in the first floor a two big samovars with lots of teapots around are standing out of the wall under the roof. A small entry door will take you upstairs of this A... Hotel/tearoom. Another one is hidden in one of the houses in the spice bazaar in its yard. There are a big scales weighing almonds, rosins, nuts, ..... and in the opposite corner on his "throne" next to the samovars an old men is making tea. A throne place is not just an expression. You have to see yourself a place they put the samovars on, where the tea men is sitting and making all the Kava and Chai into the most ugly/beautiful teapots. Some would call them a broken, aged junk others an antiquity and I know a few foreigners who were begging the owners to get one (not a new one, but the one with the history).

Peshawar - tea place

People there are extremely nice. Many times I have ended up not paying for my tea, as they referred to me as the guest or somebody else just paid for me in the tea shop. I got given bread in the morning and sweets in the sweet shop. Really hospitable people. But of course you have to be careful, there are some not really good individuals, who tries to help you out of your cash. Mainly all the freelance guides, who in the end just take you to some shop to drink tea, .... It is no problem not too buy, but sometimes you feel obliged like giving something back to the guide for all his effort showing you many things around.

AK47? Cheap men! Local tribal men near Peshawar, Pakistan.

And also beware people offering you visit of the "smugglers bazaar" or Kyber Pass. You should really trust the person for it and don't pay more then 300RS for the Smuglers bazaar - a place to see a hashis, heroin, some bad quality fake notes, opium and some guns - AK47, Chinese pistol and a pen gun. That is all. More you can see in Darra - cyber pass village, where many other guns are copied and you can shoot some rounds there. Smugglers bazaar has also Heineken beer and whisky. The best for visiting this place is, if you want some alcohol, beer or hashis to smoke

Wanna steak? Peshawar


From the streets - Rawalpindi


Cinderella in the garbage - Lahore

From the prayers - Lahore

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