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.