Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seeing Some Sights

This is about half of my class.  They have not been able to go out and see much in the city so this trip was a treat for them. Even with umbrella's and sun screen I still got sunburned.

What a fun day today!  The van came to pick me up around 10 and me, 7 students and Saku went over to the Lahore Fort.  Saku, who is from Sri Lanka, has been here 3 years and not been to the fort, so she wanted to come along. Once we bought our tickets a really nice guide came up and started talking to us and said he'd give us the tour for 100r each (or about $1.20 for each of us).  There are some definite do's and don't's in these places so we all agreed it would be a good idea and he was a gem!  Our guide's name was Mohammed, but he had another name on his card. My students explained to me that just about everyone's name is Mohammed so it didn't really count.  We took big umbrellas because it was so hot and took turns holding them so everyone could take pictures.  This is the most picture taking group I've ever seen.
Our guide Mohammed.  I gave him a good tip because it didn't seem like we were paying much. The girls said he was getting very adequate pay for what he was doing, but it still seemed very little.

We explored the fort and our guide told me the story of Anarkali (which depending on who you talk to-has about a dozen variations). Anarkali was  a dancing girl in love with Prince Selim (later the emperor Jehangir). The prince's father was not happy about the prince falling in love with a commoner and ordered the young girl to be bricked into a wall alive. Prince Selim's father owed Anarkali's mother a wish and she asked for the life of her daughter, so although  it appeared she had been walled in, there were tunnels that took her out of the city and away from her love.  So...long story...short version.  All my students wanted to get into the hall of mirrors or the fountain podium and play Anarkali.  Saku posed for us so we had our own version of the story.
Saku (alias Anarkali)
We liked Mohammed so much we we booked him for the rest of the day (200 more rupees each). We finished touring the fort, stopped for cold drinks, and  ended up having him take us all over-to the Lahore Fort, Badashai Mosque, to the Old Walled City, the Turkish Baths and the Waszir Khan Mosque. I went to all of these places on my last trip but there is always something new to see (especially when you see it through the eyes of someone from Pakistan who has not seen it.  Below are some of the pictures.

This was part of a ceiling fresco in the emperor's quarters.  The colors and designs on these things are absolutely amazing after 400 years.
The hall of mirrors.  This is where the dancing girls danced for the emperor.

Group shot in front of the Emperor's Hall.  The cannons were added by the British.
This is the Pakistani Independence Monument viewed from the fort

This is the Sikh temple near the fort.
The beautiful Badashai Mosque.  The brick pavement is so hot they lay down long sections of mats for you to walk on.
On our way into the Badashai mosque.  You have to cover your head and take your shoes off. We were all jumping around yelling hot, hot until we got to the mats.
Group Shot!

When we arrived at the Wazir Khan Mosque the call to prayer was going out. so no pictures were allowed.  I took this just before we were asked to wait on pics.  Her the mullah is making the call over the intercom. It is so loud he has to cover his ears to hear himself.  The man in front was preparing to pray. This mosque is under heavy renovation with funding from the US to help pay for it.  It is a truly beautiful sight. The pictures I took here in November were better because none of the construction had started then.

After a great visit in the old city where we continuously lost at least two of the group every few minutes, we hopped in the van and went to Salt and Pepper Village Restaurant. The girls had not been there and that was on their punch list for Lahore.  This place is a buffet to beat all buffets.  They told us that in the emperor's palace the cooks prepared 118 dishes per dinner, so again, we played at having our own feast.  The girls kept bringing me things and saying I had to try it.  I  told them I had tried everything in there but that didn't matter.  They wanted to see me try it. I did get Sugar Cane Juice there (and hope I don't pay for it later), but the waiter assured us it would be ok.  The musicians were playing today and most of the students knew the songs so they sang along. Of course, the musicians loved it, asked us did we want more requests and even sang a song about Saku!
This is Kulfi.  It is ice cream on a stick made from goats milk and sugar.  One of my absolute favorite things here (as you can tell...I ate two!)

Sugar Cane Juice.  It is a nice lime green color and tastes good!

Our musician buddies singing some popular Bollywood songs.
By then, everyone was pretty exhausted, we came back and I was just in time for tea.  I was wiped out for the rest of the afternoon.  Definitely getting a cold...oh joy.

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