Saturday, July 31, 2004

There's No place like home!!!

After 3 days at Hemi's in Lahore, I returned home yesterday happy and tired, glad to sleep in my own bed again. I went to bed early, around 10 pm and was quite shocked to wake up 12 hours later!!! I missed Church. But I guess I'll have to blame it on the waterbed.

Zaman. Oleg and I drove to Lahore on Wednesday morning. We were to leave at 6 am, but a the stroke of 6, as I was ready to walk out the door, the boys had gone to bed. They had to be reawakened, and fed a second breakfast to get them going, then Zaman decided to pack his clothes (dirty ones from off the laundry room floor since the machine's been busted for the past 5 days) It took the combined powers of both mother and father to get him to change into something less comfy, but cleaner and without holes and wrinkles.

Zaman started driving, but within a few minutes I realized he was dead tired, from not having slept all night. I then took over the driving and drove the whole way till we reached the last toll booth, with Zaman and Oleg sleeping with their huge feet sticking out the opened windows of the car. We did get some funny looks from passing motorists.

The Motorway is a great highway. The trip from Isloo to Lahore is very scenic starting with scruffy hills, to the low, red mountains of the salt range to buttes and formations that look like Arizona's Senora dessert, to the verdant fields and rice paddies around Lahore. It was very beautiful and Oleg slept through it coming and going!!!

We arrived in Lahore and thanks to Zaman's dogged determination, and frequent asking for directions, we made our way cross town to only a few minutes from Hemi's house where she met us. We met her lovely mother, older brother and kid sister. They provided us 24 hour entertainment: late night cruising, cards, chess tournaments and carousing for the young people, intermingled with great Lahori food and conversation and company. (sleep optional)

We had our first real monsoon rain on Friday morning, I estimate about 4-6 inches. With the roads flooded, we decided to stay another day. The weather back was very pleasant and relatively cool. We detoured off the motorway to stop at the Salt Mine, hoping to take the tour. We were surprised to find the entrance fees so high and our cash so low. As cash was running low, and the car was taking alarming amounts of gas ( I suspected a fuel line leak) we decided to save the admission fees for emergency gas or repairs, so we didn't take the tour after all. The car did have a gas line leak, and this morning, Siraj ran out of gas when there should have been 1/4 tank left.

All in all, it was good to be out of Islamabad, the Capital of Boredom and into a REAL Pakistani city again. Meeting Hemi and her family was very nice, I hope we have made some life long friends and we can soon return the favor and host them. (Hemi, when you need a vacation from excitement and good food, and are longing for long walks in the park, trek's in the hills, lots of sleep, heat and humidity, let us know and we'll arrange a visit to Islamabad, the Capital of Boredom.)


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