'We Are Trying to Save Your Livs!'

The next day we rode from Sindh into Punjab, and the police changed into big Punjabi guards.  They wore ‘PUNJABI ELITE FORCE’ T-shirts with the ‘No Fear’ logo on the back.  


They went fast, and for very long periods of time.  They relayed each other, so the handovers were rolling, and we still didn’t get to stop.  The driving was manic and very unsafe.  Being behind the police cars was definitely far worse that not being anywhere near one, security threat or not. 

I lost the wallet.  I left the zip on the tankbag open, and it must have fallen out on the road.  It contained Adam’s driver’s licence, 130 quid in Rupees, and 100 quid in dollars.  Funnily enough, I wasn’t that popular that day.

The Uruguayans were great, and paid for everything for us all day.  They even bought us ice creams. 

Suddenly, the police truck in front swerved, causing the Uruguayans to emergency brake. 

The police officer in the back of the truck hit his head, and had a 3” gash above his ear.  It really needed stitches.  We fixed him up as best we could with the little travel First Aid kit. He refused to go to hospital, and pretended to be tough, but you could see he was in pain.  There wasn’t much more we could do to persuade him, so we left him in the trailer, holding his bloody bandage. 


(Later Izma would ask me if I didn’t get scared of Adam’s driving.  I found this amusing.  Adam’s driving is the safest in this crazy country. It is just that, with him having learned to ride a bike in India, it has a very, well, haphazard style to it.  It works ok though.)


The first hotel pretended to be full.  Of course it is possible it actually was full, but judging by the tourist attractions Multan had to offer, I am fairly sure they took one look at our grubby selves, and thought ‘Err…No.’

We settled ourselves into another strange hotel room and ordered some grub.
At about half nine, 10 high-office policemen arrived looking very serious.  They told us we had to leave the hotel.  They said there was no security, and we had to go to the Ramada (a 5 star hotel we could never afford).  Their actual words were ‘We trying to save your livvs [sic]’.  They were very adamant, but so were we. 

They wouldn’t elaborate on the security risk, but eventually there was mention of a bomb in some village somewhere.  Far enough away for us to start thinking they had ulterior motives…

We explained that we could never afford the Ramada, but if they arranged for the Ramada to cost us the same as our rooms now, we would move.  They laughed, and agreed, until they realized we were serious. 

They tried to make us sign release forms to abdicate them of responsibility, should something happen.   That wasn’t likely to happen either. 

We took them, after half an hour, to see the Captain.

The Captain, Mario, the boys’ dad, was comatose in a small towel on the bed, with his belly rising and falling to his snoring.  Somehow that did it, and they left us.  I am not sure whether they decided Mario looked so much like a captain, that we’d be ok with him around, or if they saw he had more authority asleep than all 10 of them put together. Whatever it was, it worked.

I had a restless night’s sleep, worrying about bombs.  Nothing happened.


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