February 4, 2003
|Peshawar, frontier country in Pakistan, once called the most armed city in the world; we don't see much evidence of that, only police carry guns openly. The Pakistanis describe this place as a frontier town yet that may be the wrong description - rather than a lawless backwater it's a big city that bustles with cars and rickshaws, thronged alleyways, active storefronts. People smile and seem genuinely friendly. Our transit visa keeps us on a tight schedule so in the afternoon we ride a bus to Lahore across the narrowest section of Pakistan. Like Afghanistan, villages are made from mud brick. Unlike Afghanistan, these villages have telephone wires overhead and paved roadways underfoot. We watch the landscape roll by, mostly flat, crusty earth with burnt grass or scraggly trees, and a few green patches of farmland. Jill comments that it looks the same here in winter as it did when we visited two summers ago.
Peshawar's city government is pro-Taliban, ultra-conservative. Without passing any new laws they have unofficially banned movies, public singing, and dancing.
For accommodation in Lahore we stumble onto a piece of luck- a nice man we met on the bus invites us to stay at his house. Turns out he's a wealthy man, a restaurant owner in Germany and Canada, who puts us up in a detached guesthouse. His servants cook for us and wash our laundry. He wants nothing in return except for us to enjoy our visit. Incredible hospitality exists in Pakistan.
City clock tower acts as the best landmark in old town Peshawar.