A short day to reaclimate ourselves to the 35°C in Arty, with our small additional fans bought in Iran that are very useful. We take out the bikes for the kids to stretch their legs and enjoy the park. Meanwhile, still no serious result for the Pakistani artistic touch for the evolving work on Arty: between Ramadan where everyone was in slow motion, the heat that prevented to paint in the open air, and now the feast of Eid that arrives with his 10-15 days of vacation more or less national, it looks like it started on the wrong foot…and it does not help us plan our last 10 days in the country.
Well, we at least know that it will happen on the side of Lahore, and more precisely Sheikhupura to start. It is there that we will meet Hussain who introduces us to his whole family, with whom we will have the pleasure of sharing the meal of breaking the fast. Great moments that give us the opportunity for a small immersion in the heart of a fairly wealthy Pakistani family (the presence of servants is a good hint). The contact goes so well that the discussion with Hefra and Saaba (his sisters) quickly turns to the same topics as those already discussed with Hussain during the tour to Hunza: religion -of course-, women’s rights, arranged marriages, in the immediate family or not (which constitute the great majority of unions, all social classes combined). Where we are going to spend the nigh is a no-brainert: between Arty parked off shelter (45°C in the shade expected), and a room with air conditioning, fan and bathroom, the choice is quickly made! All this while the 3 generations are squeezed between two rooms. It’s like being back in Iran! This long evening will end with a visit of the members of the biker club to which Hussain belongs(yes, he is everywhere!) ready to give us a hand when we will be in Lahore.
The next two days will be spent inside the house, where everything that can bring halos of cold and fight against the overheated walls, will run all day long.
Hussain’s mother will not hesitate to prepare breakfasts and lunches for us, while they themselves are fasting. The whole family takes care of us, and their help to take care of the children who go around in circles in-between school sessions will be very appreciated! We will also be spoiled with a henna drawing on the hand session and small gifts for children: Bengal (multicolored bracelets), barrettes, and even a traditional outfit for me. We are ready to celebrate Eid!
Loïc will explore with Hussain to find painters, but we will have to get used to the idea of not having our part of Pakistani truck art. Especially now that many would rather use stickers (very well made) rather than good old paint. We hesitate to order, hoping to have a positive response from an artist based in Lahore.
In the meantime, between a jump at the law firm in Lahore where he works, Hussain will make sure to make our visit to his city a very good memory, while promoting tourism in Pakistan. We will therefore play the game of planting tree seedlings in Hiran Minar Park, and the improvised interview by the media that will finally pass on 3 national channels!
But that’s it, last day of Ramadan before visits to/from the family, and just 6 days left on our Pakistani visas, it’s time to say goodbye. Pampering us until the end, the hostess slips sandwiches and drinks for the road in our luggage, before we leave with the promise to give each other news, us of our trip and them of the wedding of the girls of the family, planned for both at the end of the year.
Direction Lahore, 50 km from the border with India!