Saturday, July 23, 2011

Buying Time

It's not fair to compare India to Pakistan -- or at least not fair for me to compare India to Pakistan. My experience in one is vastly more circumscribed than my experience in the other. How strange, though, that I can step across a line not even 20 miles from my house and suddenly be allowed to go pretty much wherever I want, however I want. Today it happened to be to The Golden Temple, a Sikh gurdwara in Amritsar.

It was so good just to walk around freely, take taxis, talk to people... As an added bonus, traveling there and back secured me another 30 day stay in Pakistan. Visa restrictions have their perks.

At the return border crossing, the Pakistani immigration official asked how the weather was in Amritsar. "You mean, how's the weather right there?" My colleague and I answered, pointing across the line. "Pretty much like it is here."

We got asked that question quite a few times. Maybe there's so much scary mythology built up about India, the weather is the only safe place Pakistanis could think to start a line of inquiry.

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