Rawalpindi, November 1985

Long-haul trucks and buses were garishly decorated.

“One day in Rawalpindi was really enough”, I said in a letter to my parents in Nov, 1985.

To be correct, I should have called it Islamabad, which it had already been changed to, but I like the old name. A friend of mine was born there and in those days it was in India. I’ve always thought what a confusion it causes when your birthplace changes name and even country. When asked, he still says he was born in India. It doesn’t seem to bother him, so why should it trouble me?

My travel buddy Tim and I were headed for Bangladesh, to see the orphanage we had been raising funds for, and as we both had two weeks leave, we decided to visit Pakistan and India en-route.

The name of the hotel we had chosen is long gone as is, hopefully, the establishment itself. When Tim looks around a room and decides it’s grim, believe me, it’s bad. We hot-footed it down the road to the Pearl Continental which was a delightful relief and after a refreshing glass of pomegranate juice, we traipsed out to view the “Raj Bazaar”.

The people we met there were all very cheerful and friendly.

That is, the young were. The older people seemed more doubtful about us. Yes, the chap on the left is holding a rifle. The man on the right was a barber. He was sweet. No so much the man behind. The middle group were having what Tim called “a real chin wag”.

Needless to say, this little bird was my favourite.

He was a green ring-necked parrot.

Such an obliging little chap.

I think I paid him for my fortune!

But I wouldn’t have been able to read it.

Nearby a pelican was catching fish. I think he “told fortunes” too, but I don’t remember how exactly.

This young boy was following a pattern, to embroider it into the weaving on the loom in front of him.

He was really concentrating and did good work.

These cheerful chaps were driving their pony-trap to market.

It was full of animal parts, probably sheep or goats.

The guys just sat on top. They found it hysterically funny that I made faces.

Maybe I just have a funny face.

A bit further on, we came to this stall.

Selling lungs.

When the stall owner turned and saw my greenish complexion, he chuckled and took down a set to demonstrate how perfect they were.

This he did by putting them to his lips and inflating them.

Then fell about laughing.

Westerners.

We are all so squeamish.

But we all laughed together.

I’ve never minded being laughed at in another culture.

Laughter is a good thing when you participate equally.

Walking on we came to the fruit seller stalls.

The smoke is from wood fires.

Later on as we travelled by car, the pollution we witnessed was horrendous.

Another common form of transport.

Poor emaciated bullock.

Most animals did not have a great life.

Though my little friend seemed cheerful enough.

Next we head to Peshawar……

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