“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, October 17, 2008


Lahore's a fun city! It reminded me a lot of Yangon, which I suppose is evidence of their history and economic status! In Lahore, I wandered around like I've been warned not to in Islamabad, and that was so freeing! I was feeling a little bit stifled, but I suppose it's all wise if you live here. [This pic is the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad]

I went to Cookoo's restaurant high above the fort and the Badshahi Mosque for dinner, then wandered back amongst all the street stalls and squalor. Shady men followed me and I did my best to deter them by entering shops! Autorickshaws are aplenty, and several were happy to take me home, even for free because I'm such a novelty. Poor Pakistan to be so desperate for tourism. [View from Cookoo's]

After a fitful sleep in a very cheap hostel ($2 a night! Backpacker style!) I explored the Old Fort - an enormous rambling monstrosity of palaces and eras. It was tragically in very poor repair, and many of the more interesting areas were, of course, blocked off. Particarly memorable were the elephant's walk (where a special giant staircase was constructed so that they could waltz right into the palace with the numerous royal ladies on their backs), the hall of mirrors (just beautiful! it was what I imagined the hall of mirrors at Versailles was like, but wasn't).

After some brief rains, I walked through the thriving, modern old city, with it's confusing narrow streets and bazaars and mud everywhere! The crumbling Mosque of Wazir Khan was stunningly derelict, with beautiful mosaics and a lovely deserted courtyard. [This photo is from an ancient city near Islamabad]

I ended the afternoon by a wander around the tombs of Jehangir, Asif Khan and Nur Jahan. A huge, 180 room, single-level Caravanserai split two of the tombs in an enormous courtyard filled with lovely gardens and trees.
For dinner, I ventured into the newer part of town, MM Alam Road, where all the rich and no doubt expats, too, do their dining away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

What an alive place!

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