We left Lahrore in the the afternoon after getting ready in the morning. Richie and Finn had left so André and I will ride to Islamabad and meet them there. The ride out of the city took a quite a long time, not entirely because it was big (which it was) but also because there were a lot of traffic jams delaying progress out. The jams seemed to be caused by either a) police checkpoints, which funnelled all traffic into one lane or b) the numerous auto rickshaws that would pull in and out if the road specifically at places where a lot of commerce went on, like near the markets, this was the cause of all sorts of chaos.
But it was fun, on the trip there had never been riding like this before. It took a lot of concentration to weave through the traffic properly on a fully loaded bike. We got out of the city centre in a bit under an hour and joined up with the route that would take us to Islamabad, the Grand Trunk Road.
Of course these days the the GTR, one of Asians oldest routes running from Bangladesh to Afghanistan is just like any other highway. But the historical significance wasn’t lost on us. As we left the city the farms returned gradually and intermittently. There were loads of satellite towns and villages around Lahore though, so we were still riding through busy Punjab settlements as the sun began to set.
We were getting a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to find somewhere to camp when suddenly we passed through a town and found flat empty fields to our left and some trees to boot. We pulled off and had a look around. There was an orchard that would be perfect to camp in, if we could find the guy to ask. There were some kids playing cricket in a nearby field but they didn’t know who to ask.
André went off to find someone to ask permission and returned ten minutes later with the owner of the orchard who let us in and opened up an empty shed for us to store our bikes in. He watched us set up our tents and then left, indicating he was going to bring us something to eat. He came back an hour later with two bowls of chicken curry and fresh Naan. He also brought his neighbour to say hi. Before he left he gave us his phone number in case anything happened. Everyone in Pakistan is at pains to make us feel at ease and their hospitality and concern is an endearing highlight of the country.