Journal Entry: Pakistan

Inside the Bus

November 12, 2012

9:07 AM, Somewhere in Punjab

Print of the original writing on the note I carried.

I have been 13 hours inside this bus. In my mouth, I have the taste of the Dawn pineapple cupcake. Sitting next to me, I can hear this non-English speaking Pakistani, all dressed in black, snoring. I envy the others for having two seats for themselves. I know I will be tired tomorrow, but I should go to work.

During the night I woke up several times with a back-ache and a neck-ache. Soon this bus will wake up. The fog has lifted up and the sun is bright again. In my head, a song by Jeff Buckley (Lover you should've come over) entertained me since I didn't feel like reading the whole night.

When entering this bus, just like when I came from Lahore, a guy came and filmed everyone seated on the bus. I dunno why; security reasons most likely.

I don't know where I am - some not so famous place in Pakistan -, but this is not the highway, neither have we been traveling on it for the most of the time, since the roads are mostly bumpy.

(name omitted) is in my head, and so is (name omitted). In Islamabad, life felt more normal. But right now I'm heading back to the crazy city, that has long ago lost its enchantment to me.

At 8:10 AM, this bus stopped in Bahawalpur and at 8:55 crossed the Ahmedpur East toll lane.

(9:17 AM)

Print of the Note Print of the original writing on the note I carried.

In Rahim Yar Khan: went out for the first time to check the name. Bought one Snickers bar, one can of Coca-Cola and a small bag of Kurkure Chatpata Chat Khara. Came back to the bus and realized that, besides the bus driver, I was the only one inside.

Check it on the map.

Kept texting (name omitted). No music in my head. More people coming inside the bus and soon I'll be entering Sindh, according to (name omitted). After seeing the "evil eye" bracelet (name omitted) gave to (name omitted), I realized that I should give more proper gifts to people. (11:05 AM)

At 11:52 AM, we enter Sindh. A few meters away from the sign, the bus stops in front of the Rangers and a Ranger, named (name omitted), enters the bus, looks at everyone, leaves, and the bus resumes its travel. The roads are bumpy again. Welcome to Sindh. The Reluctant Fundamentalist book awaits me. (12:00 PM)

02:06 PM

The bus stops in Sukkur. The air inside is cold while outside is typical Sindh, I would bet so. I hope to arrive in Karachi before 9 PM, but I am most certainly wrong. The only person I spoke today with was (name omitted) and to the bus' attendant two "nahin" to whatever she was offering. (2:08)

7:36 PM, Hyderabad

Last time I stepped out of the bus (and second time) was in Moro. Went straight to the shop where I bought a can of coke, chips and a sandwich (Rs170 total). On the TV, news about unrest in Karachi. Cars burning and people throwing rocks. Later (name omitted) would tell me that the unrest was going out in Orangi Town.

Print do caderno Print of the original writing on the note I carried.

Back to the bus I finally decided to start reading The Kite Runner, since I had finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Has the sky went darker, the snoring of the other passengers became louder and, the one sitting next to me, every time he fell asleep, would steal some of my space which I politely fought to regain by moving my legs. It was good to see this Sindh on daylight, with all its palm trees and camels. I should go there, to those places before Moro. (7:43 PM)

Time is something very important. These (more than) 24 hours inside this bus will not easily be forgotten.

9:17 PM (Bus time)

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