Dust and drains

Airconditioned bus to Lahore. The cool air has a calming effect after the rush to get to the station. The streets are teeming with people in this ancient city - a thin film of dust coating its inhabitants in a soft light brown velvet.

For some reason we had understood that the bus would leave Multan at 1:30 pm and at 12:20 we had plenty of time to make the half hour taxi ride through the traffic.

Standing at the bathroom door with toothbrush in hand, Rene suggested we check the time and discovered that the actual time of departure was half an hour earlier!

So, we made it with only minutes to spare. Looking out through the hazy glass window at the rural landscape rolling by I'm listening to the beep of the driver's horn and the overhead fan as we pass the donkey carts and motor scooters.

In the rows between the fields, small clusters of people sit in the dust - little children playing cricket on a thin strip of bare ground bowling the ball across to the batsman and daring to run between the stumps.

The journey settles into short bridge crossings, highway checkpoints, fields and villages - the tradesmen lining the streets with their wares sit on wicker beds and wait. Inside the bus the attendant brings first a plastic cup and then some bottled water. Later on she brings a thin cardboard box to each passenger - a packet of Lays crisps and sweet biscuits inside with a wet-wipe in a sealed plastic wrapper.

I am thinking back to the celebrations and its still all to fresh to write about. In the mean time the toilet in the hotel room is threatening to overflow and there is a team of people arriving to try and fix the drains.