Where should I feed those in need in Lahore

Monday 13.11.2017 Lahore-Amritsar: 54 km

We leave Lahore before it is really light, so we can get out of the city without traffic jams. There is a pleasant, even peaceful atmosphere in the early morning. There is no trace of the usual traffic chaos, instead there are just a few farmers with their oxen, donkey and horse carts. We are the only ones on the road towards the border. Many kilometers before the actual border crossing, we have to pass several unfriendly military checkpoints where our passports are checked. The “Wahga Border” is a rather unusual border. It is the only possible border crossing between Pakistan and India for foreigners. The Pakistani exit formalities for us and the motorcycle are done quickly. We are leaving Pakistan, through a small stadium with stands on the left and right!

Arrived on the Indian side, we are also right in the middle of a stadium, but this is huge compared to the Pakistani variant! The grandstands are many times higher and larger than the Pakistani ones.

A border closing ceremony takes place here every evening. Soldiers march back and forth on both sides, pull up the national flag, and after some more fanfare, slam the gates. All of this is so exaggerated that it feels more like a parody. The grandstands are full of locals waving their country's flags with enthusiasm like at a football game. We do without this spectacle. We were allowed to experience the hostility between India and Pakistan and the effects of the Kashmir conflict too closely, we don't want to watch a ridiculous show-off by the two armed forces as well!

We leave the stadium through a large Indian gate and stop at a small house on our left. Our passports are checked, we have to enter ourselves in a book and a sniffer dog is sent around Gregor.

We continue to the next border post, here too we have to show our passports. In the actual main hall we then have to fill out a form and wait forever, even though we already have an India visa in our passport. Indians come and go, we watch the hustle and bustle and at some point finally get our passports stamped. Before our Carnet de Passage is also stamped, the motorcycle is briefly searched by a border officer. Finally we have officially entered India and can go to Amritsar. Matze is really weak on both of them again today, so we just want to get there quickly!

In Pakistan, besides trucks and cars, there was always only one and the same make of motorcycle on the streets. Here, however, we encounter a wide variety of motorcycles and even scooters. The most glaring difference to Pakistan: We also meet women scooters! We also see cycle rickshaws, men with the typical turbans and already many sacred cows on the streets.

At noon we will reach Mrs Bandhari Guesthouse. This was recommended to us as a meeting point for overlanders and as a paradise with a pool, self-service fridge (with beer) and the possibility of camping. So the perfect place to relax from Pakistan and celebrate Matzes upcoming birthday! Unfortunately, we are the only overlanders when we arrive, the pool is already dry and Matze can't look forward to the fridge full of beer at first. There is a strict alcohol ban in Iran and alcohol is hardly available in Pakistan either. There we often longed for Amritsar and Indian beer.

In one of the garages we spot a BMW with an Austrian license plate. The friendly man at the reception explains that the owner is currently in Goa and that the machine has been parked here for so long.

Matze is getting worse and worse and so we take a tuktuk to the nearest pharmacy. We explain Matzes symptoms to the “pharmacist” and he nods. He opens a few drawers and cuts different tablets from several blister packs, puts everything in a bag, collects € 2.50 and tells us what to take and when.

Back at the guesthouse we pitch our tent in the garden, our direct neighbors are water buffalo and Indian kids playing.

Melli orders a vegetarian Indian thali set for lunch. A thali set is a combination of different, typical Indian dishes. In this case, rice, chapati, dal and a delicious eggplant paste are served.

Our host recommends rice, yogurt and banana for matzo. However, he can hardly eat anything, so he takes the tablets almost on an empty stomach and is in terrible pain in the evening.

Even at night it is loud here, there is non-stop honking, music is booming in our ears from all sides and fireworks are constantly popping and crackling somewhere. Welcome to India!

Tuesday, 11/14/2017 Amritsar

Because of the bad cramps last night, Matze is considering stopping the tablets again. We're trying to find out what he's actually swallowing, not that easy without packaging and leaflet. Matzes best friend is studying medicine and his sister is a pharmacist, you can help us with the film on the tablets. There are two types of antibiotics and tablets to support the stomach. Since resistance can easily develop through these tablets, they only recommend to stop taking them to a limited extent. Since Matze is always bad, he can't get any food down, and on an empty stomach the antibiotics cause nasty cramps. Getting the information about the medication and being in contact with home is very good for Matze. The diarrhea medication from our first-aid kit failed miserably and Matze has been sick for many days now. So he continues to take the antibiotics in the hope that they will work soon!

In the garden of the guest house we try to recover from the exertions of the last few days. We are simply not able to do more today!

We are still very close to the Pakistani border, a country characterized by desert and sparse vegetation. But here in India, squirrels and even exotic parrots cavort around us! Tropical fruits grow and flourish and it is pleasantly warm!

Wednesday, 11/15/2017 Amritsar

The antibiotics seem to be working, Matze is finally doing a little better!

We are very happy because today is his birthday! We would have liked to have celebrated this with other Overlanders, but nobody is there and Matze is not yet healthy either.

Since the Internet doesn't work at Mrs Bandhari's, we go into town to get SIM cards.

Unfortunately, it is a complicated undertaking to get SIM cards in India: In addition to a passport and passport photo, you also need a kind of letter of recommendation from a host. Equipped with all of this, we go to a mobile phone shop. The district in which the mobile phone shop is located seems almost modern to us. Photo district cell phone shop

In the India Airtel shop you take our data, talk to our host and then we have to wait a long time. We therefore ask if there is perhaps a drugstore nearby, because we need a new nail clipper. One of the employees will promptly get one for us, very nice! At some point we will have the long-awaited SIM cards in our smartphones and the saleswoman promises us that they will be activated this evening! Great, because then the messages from Matzes well-wishers can get through!

The Mrs Bandhari Guesthouse has a restaurant that serves both Indian and European home-style cooking. So we celebrate Matzes beginning recovery and the birthday with a leek soup, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. What a wonderful change from his light diet, which until now only consisted of dry rice!

Unfortunately, the SIM cards still don't work, and so today we go to bed a little sad without any news from family or friends (or to an air mattress and sleeping bag).

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - Saturday, November 18, 2017 Amritsar: 0km

Matze is only slowly recovering from the bad infection. And now Melli suffers from the so-called "Dehli-Belly", the typical unpleasant motion sickness in India. Therefore we rest a lot and relax in the garden.

We also let us drive to the cell phone shop again, after some back and forth we finally get our SIM cards activated. This allows us to communicate with our loved ones again and also spend a lot of time with it.

Friday, 11/17/2017 Amritsar: 0km

In the morning we meet Wolfgang, the owner of the BMW in the garage. He flew from Goa to Amritsar that night and is driving on again today.

Otherwise, unfortunately, no other overlanders are currently coming to the much-vaunted overlander paradise to keep us company.

Instead, an Indian guest invites us to have tea and asks us to sit down with him. We accept gratefully and look forward to a little conversation. But after a short time we have bloody ears, triggered by the unstoppable torrent of speech from the Indian. With great difficulty we escape the clutches of the talkative Indian and let us drive into town without further ado. Matze is feeling pretty good today and his hair desperately needs to be cut. We find a hairdresser, explain to him in sign language how the hairstyle should be and the result is also impressive!

We enjoy the good kitchen of the guest house (as far as our stomachs allow it) and discover our new favorite drinks here: mango and banana lassis!

Saturday, 11/18/2017 Amritsar: 0km

We don't see much of Amritsar, regeneration is more important to us than sightseeing. However, we do not miss a highlight and so we visit the golden temple, the highest sanctuary of the Sikh.

The Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded by Guru Nanak in the 15th century. He tried to create a connection between Islam and Hinduism with the new religion. We have just traveled from Islamic Pakistan to Hindu India and are now learning a lot about Sikhism:

A special feature of Sikhism is its secular orientation and this worldly orientation. Above all, he would like to make his faith usable for everyday life and sees his main task in the service of creation. This gives rise to certain beliefs and values ​​that make up Sikhism:

equality: Sikhism believes in the unity of all beings. All beings are equal before God and carry God's soul. Thus tolerance and respect for creation are very important for the Sikh. The equality of men and women is emphasized and discrimination of any kind is strictly rejected. That is why people of all religions and castes are always welcome in the temples of the Sikh.

justice: Justice to all beings follows from equality. A violation of justice is a violation of God's will. Dharma is also understood in Sikhism as the “path of justice”.

Act: According to Sikhism, salvation cannot be achieved through meditation and knowledge alone. It is equally important to get involved in life, do an honest job, be diligent, and implement justice through your actions. In general, productivity and service to creation are important factors.

Positive attitude: One should always keep a positive attitude towards life and be happy even in difficult times.

family: It is the duty of a Sikh to start a family and raise children in order to keep creation going. This concept is seen as a contrast to monk life, which is a common spiritual practice in India.

share: A Sikh should share his possessions with the poorer and needy parts. You are asked to share 10% of your earnings with the general public.

Accept God's will: God's will is expressed in both good and bad events. Accepting this is a path to salvation.

truth: A Sikh should always seek the truth. Everything that is illogical will be rejected. These include superstition, esotericism, occultism and senseless rituals. There are many paths to God. Sikhism does not see itself as the only way to salvation. Truth is put above ideology.

To lead a righteous and virtuous life is the most important duty in life for the Sikh.

The Golden Temple was built in the 16th century. Sikh temples are basically open to all people from all religions. In the Golden Temple of Amritsar, four entrances point in the four cardinal directions to show that the Sikhs are open to all people and welcome them to their temple. We have to give up our shoes and wear a hat to be allowed to enter.

Since Sikhism, according to its understanding, dispenses with rituals and idols, there is no altar, no sacraments and no priests. The center is therefore only the book of Sikh wisdom, the Guru Granth Sahib. This is presented on a throne in the main hall.

The main hall is embedded in a lake. Sikhs believe that whoever bathes or drinks in holy water can improve their personal karma.

We feel right at home here, it's pleasantly quiet and there is a very peaceful atmosphere. After a while we end up in the so-called Langer, a specialty of the Sikh temples: an open dining room, which was designed according to the principle of equality between people regardless of their religion, caste, skin color, age or gender. It is intended to represent the basic principles of sharing, community, integration and unity. Everyone is welcome to attend the feedings. The Langer is financed through donations and voluntary work. We are served a simple delicious meal that we eat while sitting on the floor with many believers.

The dishes are then washed and dried by volunteers.

The kitchen, where thousands of meals are prepared every day, can also be visited and is happy to help. At night, pilgrims are even allowed to sleep under the arcades and in adjoining rooms. When it begins to dawn, the temple glows in a magical gold and we enjoy the special atmosphere here very much.

Sunday, 11/19/2017 Amritsar

We feel well recovered and therefore decide to spend our last day here in Amritsar today. So that we can start tomorrow and finally charge our electronic devices again, we treat ourselves to a room in the guesthouse today. As a result, we can already dismantle our tent today and pack the motorcycle ready with the exception of a few small things.

Since we need cash, we then go looking for an ATM on foot.

Our route initially leads through a relatively quiet market street.

But soon we find ourselves in the middle of the hustle and bustle and struggle through a totally overcrowded, typical Indian shopping street.

We quickly get totally annoyed and there doesn't seem to be an ATM here either. We then let ourselves be driven by bicycle rickshaw to a functioning ATM.

Back at our accommodation we spot a Landcruiser in front of the gate, which looks a lot like an Overlander vehicle. Will we finally meet like-minded people? Looks like it, because the car has a German license plate! A couple our age gets out of the Toyota with a little puppy. So we get to know Matthias and Theresa, who just like us came here through Pakistan and Iran. And in Iran they picked up Joey, a cute little mongrel puppy. We spend the afternoon with the three of them in the garden of the guest house and in the evening we take care of Joey so that the two of them can visit the golden temple.

To top it off, there is finally, for a long, long time, a beer for matzo - Indian Kingfisher.

On the back of the bottle, the alcohol content is between 3.75% and 6.35% and the taste takes getting used to.

The next morning it finally goes on ...