After a bit of a rest, I headed back out at 2.15pm. A taxi picked me up, for the 1 hour drive to the Pakistan border. For the Wagah border closing ceremony.
Leaving the city was chaotic. A bus drove into the back of us. So the driver wasn’t happy, got out and screamed at the bus driver, before surrounding people ushered him back into the car. Then for at least the next 10minutes, we followed behind the bus, driving rather crazily. Still shouting at it.
But finally, the bus turned off in a different direction.
Around 3.15pm we arrived at the border area. I fell asleep for some of the journey. I was so tired. The driver left me at the car park.
From here, it was around a 2km walk to the actual border. Past stalls of guava, various snacks and plastic toys.
I was ushered into the VIP line. For foreign people and guests of the Indian army.
After various security checks (and showing my passport), I arrived at the ‘stadium’. It was now about 3.45pm.
All the foreign people are sat together. Quite high up. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy. There were thousands of people. And that was just the Indian side.
Across, just a few meters away was the Pakistan side. With a similar set up of a stadium. But only around a quarter of the number of people.
The actual border closing was at 4.30pm. But for the half hour before, various activities were going on. Girls were running along the road, towards the border carrying large flags. A man was training the crowd to cheer. And then a dance party, on the road.
Once it was 4.30pm, the official music started and various soldiers appeared. Marching in different formations, towards the border. It all lasted about half an hour. Marching. Running. Pretending to open and close the border gates. And finally, the lowering of the flags.
A similar set of activities was happening on the Pakistan side.
Who knew that this would be so popular. All the Indians were very into it.
Leaving was just as chaotic. Thousands of people all heading the same direction.
I had a slight panic when I couldn’t find my driver. But I hadn’t realised there were a few different car parks. So I found him eventually.
By 6pm I was back. And barely able to stay awake. But given I hadn’t eaten much all day, I ordered some food. A vegetable curry and a kulcha (a local style of bread, a bit like a paratha). It is flat, like a wrap, but between the layers of bread, filled with a thin layer of spicy potato.