An early-morning departure from Una, a stop for a tasty lunch in Chandigarh (there are thousands of different kinds of mangoes), and a “ticket” (“this is not going in my pocket”) from a cop for having our windows tinted in a state where that’s illegal are the highlights of a daylong drive back to Delhi. To pay the driver, Sameer calculates that we’ve gone about 3,000 miles, or a whole lot of naps on my part. Woohoo: last long-distance trek of the trip is done, with our Pakistan installs both in Lahore.
Contrary to news of a bombing in Karachi, me and mine apparently shouldn’t worry about visiting Lahore. Amna, who lives there, explains that all the warlords who do crazy stuff in Karachi, etc. have an agreement not to touch Lahore, as it’s where all their families live. Besides, we’re a nicely mixed group: an American, 2 Indians, and 2 Pakistanis. Given any random person around here, he or she will not like one, maybe even 3 of us, but nobody will hate all of us:)
So as Sameer pays the original driver (we switched in Dharamsala, as the first had to be back to Delhi before us), I get a present: my cell phone, which I had given up for lost in Dalhousie. I turn it on, and it says “Dipander” where it would say Cingular if I was in Philly. Asking if it’s the name of some cell service provider, Amna replies “wasn’t that the first driver’s name?” The shady tool must have tried to have my phone reprogrammed to work here, failed, decided it was worthless to him, and then given it back to me. Gee, thanks. Hope it actually works back in the U. S. ...
Anahita brings us to her friend’s grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and, as is par for the trip, I’m confused but enjoy myself. We throw flowers at the old couple, eat tons of excellent Indian food, and get dragged onto the dance floor. I don’t have a lack of dancing ability, I’m just doing super cool American moves that nobody else knows about:) And it looks like Indians on average have low tolerances: the main drink is a shot of whiskey literally watered down to fill a glass. I debate just taking the shots, but decide that’s probably too uncouth even for a goofy foreigner and settle for walking to the bar. We head back to Anahita’s, tired but relieved that we get to spend 2 nights in the same location before Lahore.