Thursday, November 10, 2005

Balakot: A Lesson to learn part 3

Morning view along Karakoram highway

Allama Iqbal Airport is a new Lahore airport. Built to cater more international flights. A beautifully designed airport but not busy. Lahore is in Punjab Province in the Northen part of Pakistan, a few km away from India-Pakistan border; Wagar Border/ Amritsar.

Eager young volounteers at the disaster site in Balakot

The first thing that attracted me when entering Lahore is the horses/mules. In Lahore not only do they use rickshaw (equivalent to the tut-tut in Thailand) but also horses and mules.

Injured and Homeless; Balakot

Lahore is far more beautiful than it used to be 25 yrs ago when I first set foot there. It used to be very smelly with horses’ waste but now the smell is not that obvious.

Unwanted donations: Walking through heaps of unsable clothes at Balakot

At the airport the official exchange rate was Rp 15.8 to RM1 but we were only given Rp 15 to RM1(make a guess where the Rp 0.8 went to). We got our things and told Jamal (the Malaysian student) that we were hungry. The time was about 11.45 pm and the expected time of departure at Lahore Daewoo terminal was 12.30 am. We got a taxi and drove straight to Daewoo Bus Terminal. We started to search for restaurants or stalls but none was open. We checked our luggage and after revaluating the time, we took a ride on a rickshaw to a nearby restaurant.

Landslide at Naran Road, half blocked. I travelled along this road almost daily visiting a camp at kilometre 15. The camp was operated by Al Khidmat, a local NGO.

Collapsing mountainous Naran Road; accessable up to 15 km only.

Observing Jamal negotiating the rate with the rickshaw driver made me recalled 25 years ago how my sister bargained to get a good price with their head shaking left and right just like the Pakistani do. Jamal even cupped the drive’s cheeks, like an adult doing it to a child ‘to say how cute you are.’ They agreed to the price eventually.

The restaurant in Lahore where we had our dinner

We entered Fazal-E-Haq Restaurant and ordered 4 plates of chicken biryani. The rice was served with chicken masala, mashed spinach and tomato with onion salad. It was a fast dinner and we got back to the bus terminal 5 minutes before departure, had our luggage tagged and boarded into the luggage compartment, ticket checked, scanned with a portable metal detector and our face recorded with a videocamera at our seats. The bus left the terminal at 12.30 am sharp. Yes we were boarding a bus! Not an airplane, mind you!

Kalahar Daewoo Rest area.

A few minutes after departure, we received a welcome note from our ‘stewardess’. She had a sweet voice, starting with the doa and announcement in both Urdu and English. We were informed of the duration of the journey, expected time of arrival, our next stop and the refreshments that will be served. We were given head phones, sandwiches and drinks. Our next stop was Kalahar Daewoo Resting terminal.

Homeless Pashtun kids posing at our camp; Their houses in the mountains were destroyed by the 8th October Earthquake. They loved to be photographed.


pycnogenol said...

You dont need to fly if you can get that kind of service on a bus. Even MAS has stopped serving sandwiches on local flights now, and yet blaming my darling Siti for the losses !!
The biryani and chicken masala taste any better there compared to the ones served here?

dr in the house said...

The state of the roads in Malaysia is so abhhorrent. Why dont we employ Daewoo to manage our Highways?

Pycno- are they blaming Siti and why?

pycnogenol said...

Drroza,it was MASEU (MAS Employees Union) that came up with the careless press statement alleging that one of the reasons for the national carrier's financial losses was sponsoring a well-known singer and her team of musicians and dancers for the concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Siti is demanding for a public apology, but the Union declared that it will not apologise to the singer, insisting that it did not specifically mention Siti's name in its Press remarks which Siti deemed as defamatory. Matter is now in her lawyer's hand.

Tapi, tak sebut nama pun, we ALL knew that it was not M. Daud Kilau or Mas Idayu who performed at Royal Albert hall, kan?
Well, let's all wait and see......

dr in the house said...

I have a soft spot for Siti...and I think that MASEU was so stupid to have made that's so Melayu to make such blunder!

ifos said...

I love the pictures especially the last one... the kids are so cute! And mak, you have a soft spot for Siti?? sejak ble plak nih...? =p

Tengku Petra said...

Love the pics.

Hotguy said...

Hello bro,

Can I retrieve your pics?

Ikelah said...

yes u can but pls mention my name as tha photographer. thank u.

Paul Moss said...

Pic 3, 4 and 9 have a very good story. Well done! Good object and great composition. There is an interview with a famous japanese photographer in the latest Astro Guide if you want to read his opinion on photography.

crimsonskye said...

looks like a very huge amount of unusable clothes there... would they all be burned for warmth at least?

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