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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Leaving India (for good)

There's only last thing to do in India.

Sikh's Golden Temple is my favourite location in the country, outside of the Himalayas. Filled with devotees, chanting and clatter of plates in their kitchen daily feeding thousands upon thousands, it has atmosphere like nowhere else. Hundreds of volunteers come together every day to serve in the religious center piece and I didn't have a flight booked already, I might have stayed. The western border spanning Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and the mountains seems like a pilgrimage waiting to happen. If only my three - year Himalaya cycle holds true...

hazy morning

lazy morning

to the Golden Temple

Not many buses go to the border, which in fact is quite far from the city. Especially not around midday, hours before the border closing ceremony starts. But I'm leaving myself tons of spare time, just in case, and don't mind waiting patiently until one shows up. The transition to a TukTuk (bus doesn't run all the way) and directly to the army gates is so smooth I don't even have time to change money or spend whatever change I have left.

This leads me to discovering a forgotten little tea stall inside the customs area, where I chat with a customs officer and get invited for an extra tea; everyone is in a good mood here.

It's me, 2 Spaniards and four Indians crossing in the batch. My bag doesn't even get opened, where the locals' trunks are nearly torn apart. But we're all allowed through, although I wouldn't know what happened to the Indian folks on the other side. Hopefully they made it through today...

study in 4 angles



For my part, the Pakistani side is ridiculously fast; I'm asked even less questions than when I was leaving the country. Only hiccup comes when I misremember my hotel's name and give one of the most prominent addresses in town. But everyone laughs it off. The Pakistani immigration officer squeezes his stamp between three or four already present stamps; humility nobody in India, Nepal or many other countries could face.

murals

ancient India

to the border

The negotiations outside of the border are fierce, but we manage to find compromise. I pay too much for exchanging money, which I balance out by driving a hard bargain on transport, since I've already passed through before. It costs me less than two dollars and about two hours to cross the entire city which rivals Dhaka in impenetrability; but unlike Dhaka has a running metro line.

customs

stadium

back in Pakistan

Small miracle happens when I discover that at least one of my Pakistani sims not only hasn't been cancelled, but still has data to use. Makes entering the country that much smoother.

The hotel I've booked offers me a free upgrade; my guess is that foreigners in dorms aren't allowed, like in many other places. But they could've asked for a private room fee in any case. People here are nice; I can actually look children in the eyes, without being instantly approached with a squeaky chant money money.

baby doll

SIM collection

first sunset...

Just the dinner makes everything weird again; but more on that and my morality in today's bonus post.

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