Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 145: Road to Bahawalpur

OYLPA Day 145: Road to Bahawalpur, originally uploaded by klodhie.
Drove (well, was driven) today (Mon., Feb. 21) to the city of Bahawalpur, an old city in Pakistan that was once a part of Rajasthan pre-Partition, from Lahore, a 6 hour drive. Instead of a photo I thought I'd include some video clips (with music from "Folk Music of Pakistan: Vol. 1; 'Talang' "). I was surprised by how nice the motorway was for quite a bit of the drive, newly paved and well-maintained with clear signs.

When we got closer to Bahawalpur though, the road turned to this 1 1/2 lane dirt road with no markings and ditches on either side. My mom's phuppo made the mistake of telling the driver, "Driver, zara tez chalao bhai" (some of the older generation and those who still follow the older traditions do not give their drivers and workers the respect of calling them by name - anyone hired to drive your car is named "Driver." This disrespect, however, is becoming less common, and those like my khala's family respect each of the people that they hire here). The moment Barkat (the driver) was told to drive a little faster, he began to zoom ahead at 90-100mph on this unpaved 1.5 lane road - I kept my eyes closed for much of it because there were massive, colorful trucks rushing head on, two or three all next to each other, taking up the entire road, and Barkat would speed up and at the last second swerve to the left, nearly missing the ditch and the trucks. Mother and I were sure we'd lose our lives today, but the heavens (or perhaps Barkat) saved us. You can watch this part of the drive as well (although it is toward the end of the road trip once Barkat was forced to slow down, thank goodness!).

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