The winding pot whole roads of the Himalayas teamed with beautiful scenery really made our maiden do the work. She carries our luggage on the roof adding an extra wiggle to the move, and she really needed a fix.
We drove to the Wagha border with our squeaking ride and getting out of India was a breeze. Within 2 hours we were stamped out, thoroughly searched and even a lovely dog came to greet us.
The dog sniffed our places and even said hello to our tuk tuk by jumping on the back seat to feel what it’s like to sit in the one and only, busted up rack we call our tuk tuk. Unfortunately there were no treats to go home with this time.
Then we drove through the stadium where people come to watch the famous Wagha border closing ceremony, with its drink stands and fast food stalls waiting for the crowd. Everything was closed because this is a bad time for food business during daylight hours since this is the time of Ramadan.
Ramadan means fasting, even without drinking for 30 days during the time that Allah can see. This means during the time the sun shines brightly.
At first I thought it’s idiotic to do this during the hottest time of year when its at least 45 degrees in the dry desert with dust everywhere because it seems like suicide. But there’s always a reason behind everything, and after spending 2 days trying it out myself I started thinking.
This is probably the time of year when in the days before, food has been scarce and water has been nowhere to be found. Everything has needed to be rationed to survive through this roughest month.
The good thing about the human body is that when it gets used hunger, it takes in nutrients from food much more effectively, and so eating only at night means less food is needed. This is also why anorectics stay alive.
The not drinking water is different though, but it too is most likely a resonant of a time long gone. Multinational companies have not been around for too long so bottled water was not a given, and naturally there is barely any drinkable water here during this time of year. There is a tribe in the deserts of Africa, at least there used to be, that never drink water as to not get used to it, and I think Ramadan has the same idea.
The hunger and thirst means that people are easily agitated, and simple everyday things seem much more difficult physically and mentally. Spirits need to be kept up somehow and that’s where the praying comes in. People pray everyday, most likely to keep up the will to survive, so they don’t start dying of thirst and hunger. As long as there is a will to survive, the way will be found.
This is all my logical reasoning about Ramadan and I may be way off, so don’t take it as fact, but to me this is good enough to accept Ramadan as not being idiotic.
The best part about this festival came right at the beginning, when we drove to the Pakistan side of the border. Everyone was hungry which meant that everyone was more difficult than usually, but staying persistent, we slipped through like butter since they had no energy to stay difficult. Everything happened as fast as possible with the slow motion of hunger, because they wanted us to leave as quickly as possible so they could go back to doing nothing.
When we got to Lahore on the first day we tried to find a local sim for ourselves so we could call our contact. This turned out to be more difficult than we thought because here they need a local national identification card number, and the Mothers maiden name, as well as birth dates etc. etc. to make sure no unworthy person is given a registered Sim card. We had none of this info so we didn’t get too far.
We did however manage to call up our contact from a mobile shop and he of course happened to be out of town. He did however call a friend, who called a friend, and we ended up following a weaving motorbike through Pakistani traffic to a place called Gulberg II.
We slept on the comfortable floor in a hut in the middle of a plant shop with greenery all around. The guys who work there sleep on the outside because it’s cooler, and they are super nice. They showed us some local places to eat once 7 pm had come and immediately we started bonding.
The next morning they called us a mechanic who fixed our dancing partner back into a sturdy speedster, and we got some time to spend with the boys. Everyone wanted to communicate, but they spoke no English and we spoke no Urdu. This meant a lot of plaing sherades, trying to communicate through gestures, facial expressions and pointing. It was visibly clear that people were actively thinking about how to show, rather than how to say, even if it was someone else that wanted to say something. We had a blast together and they took us into the family with locking fingers before we headed north to Islamabad.
We were to get our Iran visas there, but for some reason our travel agency failed to do their job once again. All they have needed to give us for the last month is one simple reference number, but for some reason they refuse to give it even though the visas are already waiting.
On the plus side we had time to visit Murree in the mountains, and tomorrow morning we will have an interview at Pakistan World This Morning. Apparently it will be broadcasted to almost all Pakistani households, which means maybe 200,000,000 viewers. Pakistan has 250,000,000 people so it’s a rough guess.
We are once again in the middle of a visa battle, and once again it’s turned out to be a good thing. Pakistanis are mostly greatly hospitable people, sometimes almost to the point where a humble Finnish person gets a little uneasy, but at least it has been good to our budget and we’ve received lot’s of great food and good conversations, and many brothers. Sisters seem to be a little more difficult to meet in this country.
Tomorrow is a new day, and let’s see what it brings.