Monday, February 19, 2007

India - Pakistan border

Yesterday we drove to the India - Pakistan border for the closing ceremony. I had heard that it was full of pomp and ceremony and they even showed us a DVD of it in the car on the way, but I was still not prepared for what happened.

It was they dropped us off in the muddy carpark and sent us off into the seething throng of Indians. We had to wait 5 mins until they opened the gates and then it was a free for all run to the seating, of course 7 foreigners in this mix soon got trampled and separated, though I managed to keep hold of Jo who was keeping hold of Rob who was trying to keep up with our Indian leader who was in the same frenzy as the rest of the Indians.

Upon arriving at the we discovered, much to our delight, that women were allowed into a men free thinks this may have something to do with the groping problem. Anyway, all good for us. By then it was just me and Jo, lost the others. We found a seat, a lady half sat on me and then waved her arms at me to move, apparently I was then supposed to make room for her by half sitting on Jo. Our fearless leader somehow managed to scam her way to the front and convince the border guards that it was ok for us foreigners to sit in the VIP seats,it took some doing, sitting in the rain on the steps, being told off by the Indian women behind, and the ones I stepped on and no doubt made wet ith my rain coat before she finally convinced them to let us sit in the seats. There was 100s maybe 1000s on the Indian side and as many again on the Pakistan side, both cheering loudly and from what we could gather, possibly jeering as well.

They then started a 45 min entertainment program that was in honour of the first women's team to cross the Thar desert, they had arrived at the border the day before. Apparently it was an arduous journey, and also for teh first Indian woman to summit Everest. There was music, dancing and comedy, pity my Hindi is lame, the jokes went over my head.

Finally we got to the actual closing of the border ceremony, which was all pomp! The Indian guys marched to the gate and apparently the Pakistan guys were doing the same, we just couldn't see them. In the end I decided that it was a competition to see who could stamp their boots the loudest and thrown their right leg the highest without pulling a groin muscle. They lowered the flags - had a marching band and it was allover. Getting out was marginally more civilised, though we did have to go past the group of cheering and dancing men who looked like their cricket team just won the World Cup.


At 6:10 pm, Blogger Julia S said...

You and Jo should have offered half a seat to the Indian lady you upset by not sitting on Jo's lap in the cheaps viewing area.She might have helped you brush up on your Hindi language skills.

Sounds like you're having a great time. Sorry we've been abysmal at keeping in touch but we have noticed Jo's absence.

Keira started high school at St Mary's 2 weeks ago- got up and was ready, dressed and wanted to go at 5.30am! Loves every minute of it.

Hvae a great time. Will keep checking in on you both- Love to Jo too- Julia, Jeff, keira and Talia


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