So we all piled in the Lexus, 3 generations in 1 car: Shazi, Abu, Taera, Sabina, Sahira and Daud at the wheel, age span between 8 and 68. Destination: Jhelum, Auntie Abda´s house. Our first meeting with Abu´s youngest sister, her son Rizwan and new wife. From there to Islamabad and a quick stop in Muree to sneak a peak at the Himalayas and the start of the Karakoram highway.
We made it out of Lahore by following Ijaz to the Grand Trunk Road, brainchild of Sher Shah Suri (ruler of the Indian Sub-continent) in the sixteenth century A.D. This road runs from Kabul to Calcutta and took us north amidst typical crazy traffic and confusing road signs. But we made it, Auntie was super hospitable and fed us a lovely meal that included Manchurian chicken…Chinese cuisine is all the rage in Pakistan, at least on special occasions such as our visit. We also watched part of Rizwan´s 4 hour wedding video epic…Muslim marriages are intricate affairs consisting of various rituals on both the groom and bride´s sides, a wedding can easily last a week!
Early next day we set off towards Islamabad, Pakistan´s capital city. The air cooled down noticeably as we left the Punjabi plains and got closer to the mountains. On the way, I marvelled at the intricate decoration of Pakistani trucks: all sorts of symbols and messages in incredible detail and colour cover these vehicles which even jingle jangle with chains as they zoom by on the road. They´re almost women, beautiful, decorative and strong.

Islamabad is a totally planned out city (the opposite of modern Lahore) with its neat sectors and official buildings. Shazi´s Lexus threw a fit on Sunday morning and refused to take us up to Muree. I was surprised by how many people stopped to lend a hand and eventually helped get the car to a mechanic while we took a taxi all the way up the mountain in a frenetic curvey ride to Muree where we strolled about the snowey streets surrounded by other daytrippers.