I shared a rickshaw with a man with 3 kidneys. Or so he claimed. He was on his way to the hospital for a checkup and I was escaping from the old city after having visited the Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila) and the Badshahi Mosque. Yesterday I arrived in this city of 6 million people, producing what looks like 90% of the world's smog. At least the road from Islamabad to Lahore was good. I hadn't used 5th gear since Turkey.


In the evening I walked to "food street", a closed off area with a cluster of restaurants. Despite the heat and humidity the food was excellent. On the way back I came past the Moonlighting School, located next to the Institute of Biometric Engineering, housed in a building that should have been pulled down decades ago.


The Badshahi Mosque is the second largest in the world after the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The square in front of it is vast.



A school outing, literally whipped in line by a tyrannical teacher clutching a long bamboo cane.



Lahore Fort, looking back from the mosque.



The old city is very dirty, with muddy streets, dilapidated housing and small shops with impossible numbers of dead chickens dangling from questionable hooks and throngs of people.



The heat in Lahore is stifling. Mixed with the exhaust gasses and constant whine of two-stroke rickshaws carrying their loads to and fro, it's not a place that appeals after the calm of the Karakorum Highway and the pristine mountain views. The downturn in tourism here was expressed by the man who helped me at Ferozson's, the city's biggest bookstore. His previous isle of maps and tourist guides had shrunk since 9/11 to a handful of guides, most of them used. The time has come to leave the Islamic world after roughly 4 months.