Saturday, September 30, 2006


I took the 7am train from Lahore to Peshawar. Though the distance was only around 400km it took almost 10 hours. I'm not complaining as the ticket was only a bit more expensive than the one I'd buy when I took the train to work, a journey of 15 minutes. The train went past the strategic fortress of Attock on the Indus river & along the fertile Punjab plain. It was totally flat & would have been pretty boring cycling.

I arrived in Lahore in the late afternoon. It was the biggest city that I'd been to for quite a long time. It felt quite different from Peshawar. There were many more women on the streets & instead of the all covering burka they wore saris. A large proportion of the men I saw wore Western style trousers & t-shirts rather than shalwar kameez. As I cycled to my guesthouse I saw another touring cyclist who was wearing lycra cycling shorts without loose pants over the top, he'd probably have been stoned by passers-by if he wore such in Peshawar & around.

My guesthouse was just off the colonial era principal axis of town, the Mall. I caught a glimpse of some grand Victorian-era buildings along the way. It was a well known travelers' hangout. It was stocked with a few interesting characters, some of whom I hope to get to know over the next few days. It was quite a pokey place with dorm beds packed in every room that were cooled by ceiling fans. The power & water failed from time to time. Even so it was a bit of a haven, having a small but pleasant roof terrace with a small kitchen.

My stomach started to trouble me again, certainly due to the rather reckless abandon with which I'd shown in trying everything I saw in Peshawar. It didn't seem as bad as my last bout but to be sure to clear it quickly I put myself on antibiotics.

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