"Lounging In Lahore" Lahore Travelogue by travelinxs
Lahore Travel Guide: 541 reviews and 988 photos
We planned two or three days rest in Lahore. We stayed seven. It was hard to leave.
In no small part this was because of the Regal Internet Inn. A warren or rooms and dormitories, our room was pretty good value at less than GBP4, which included free use of a cold-water washing machine, filtered water and cheap internet access. There was a kitchen we could use to brew up endless cups of tea, (we used up over 75 tea bags during our stay!) And a comfy roof terrace to chill out on and meet other travelers. Except Chris and Kadre, we hadn’t seen any other foreigners in Pakistan up to then.
The inn was run by the almost legendry Malik, who was a journalist by profession and seemed to run the Regal more as a hobby than a business venture. Our visit also included a free shalwar khameez for females, though on meeting us Malik came out with the almost clichéd expression of,” Oh, you’re on bicycles… I like cyclists,” and told Juliet to pick out two outfits.
Lahore Fort was impressive. Packed with Indian tourists, we spent much of our visit posing for photographs. Before the advent of cheap digital photography and camera phones I usually had to pay a standard dollar to photograph someone. Now, everyone’s a David Bailey. But when it’s ME who holds out my hand and demand a dollar, I just get laughed at. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
Down the road from the Regal stood the mighty Zamzama canon, whos fame was immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in ‘Kim’. Actually, it wasn’t quite as mighty as Id been expecting.
Malik took us out for ‘Cultural Thursday’. An afternoon of traditional music in a hall attached to a mosque, with different ‘groups’ taking it in turns to perform whilst members of the audience showered them with five rupee notes. It was a kind of Open Mike session, though without any Bob Dylan numbers.
In the evening a Sufi drumming session. Hundreds crammed into the courtyard of a shrine whilst three guys drummed incessantly. We were perched on a narrow step next to a tomb, our butts turning blue over the hours. Well over fifty percent of everyone there was smoking ganja. Some were blowing away on five joints at a time!
As the evening progressed some of the crowd began to dance – like you’ve never seen before. Shaking and spinning their heads, which must have threatened them with brain damage. Sufi is a sect of Islam, but what I witnessed was a riotous Pakistani rave!
It went on a bit too long, was bloody uncomfortable and a number of fights ruined the atmosphere. A bit like a typical Saturday night out back home, I suppose. We got back at 2am, alive and well and very un-stoned.
Across the road from the Regal was ‘Ice Cream Street’, where a number of 24 hour parlors served half-liter tubs of my favorite chocolate chip for a nightly nosh. When we were feeling like a minor splurge, we ate at one of the outdoor tables on ‘Food Street’, (actually called Food Street), otherwise at Fat Buddha’s, (the owner behind the cash desk must have weighed in at 40 stone and I guess he was discreetly being propped up by reinforced scaffold), a rustic hole-in-the-wall eating joint serving a range of unidentifiable but very tasty hot curries.
Eventually it was time to move on. We loaded up one morning and navigated our way out of town and east toward the border.
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