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The inevitable finally happened.....

The Indian Experience - Wagah

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As much as you may try, preventing getting ill in India is near enough impossible. After several attempts to avoid the dodgiest food, on my penultimate day I was eventually struck down with Delhi Belly.

After the exhausting day I started waking up continually running to the toilet and drinking tonnes of bottled water. After being unable to throw up the last pains in my stomach I was left with the realisation that I would have to wait it out to go through my system. Luckily I had been prepared and had brought immodium and dehydration powder with me, but it still left me feeling completely drained of all energy.

Although it could have been worse - it was somewhat controllable and I had escaped getting ill through the majority of the trip. My final day had already planned to be a much more relaxed, with the only thing planned being the visit to the border ceremony.

The road to the border

The road to the border

After spending the whole morning in bed, ignoring breakfast, I arranged for a taxi to take me to the border as well as wait whilst the ceremony took place. With my dodgy bowels, and the cold temperature outside I was a little unsure what time to arrive at the border and I certainly didn't want to miss it all.

Not far...

Not far...

After arriving at the car park area, you have to them walk the next 1km towards the border itself going through several checkpoints and security searches. Having made it in good time, and flashing my passport, I was sent into the VIP International section of the audience and got to witness views into Pakistan whilst waiting for the show to begin.

The Indians are ready

The Indians are ready


Meanwhile in Pakistan...

Meanwhile in Pakistan...

Feeling rather ill, I was actually rather relieved that I would be going home tomorrow rather than entering Pakistan as I had originally hoped and intended. And so this would therefore be the closest I would get to the Islamic Republic.

Warm up

Warm up

After the shouting and blaring of music stopped, Indian schoolgirls were invited down to run a lap of the 'arena' to the border gates and back with a big Indian flag in tow. Meanwhile the less enthusiastic Pakistani side continued with their music blaring. And then, after some more dancing, the real show begins!

Marching

Marching

At the same time, although not actually coordinated with each other, each side starts marching their soldiers towards the gate trying to outdo the other side with the biggest stomps and high kicks in an elaborate, but totally unnecessary part of the ceremony.

The border gates open

The border gates open

The gates are then opened, with the security teams having face offs, before the flags are lowered and the gates are slammed shut again.

Face offs

Face offs


Flags lowered

Flags lowered

The ceremony that takes place every day of the year was completely mental, but it was a brilliant experience, that was totally worth visiting - even though I was feeling awful! After the ceremony is completed, the public, beginning with the most important sections of the audience, are allowed down towards the gates themselves for pictures with the guards and to take a peak into the neighbour from just metres away.

The closest I'm gonna get

The closest I'm gonna get

After the ceremony ended I headed back to my hotel in Amritsar feeling pretty exhausted. I then spent the rest of the evening in the room, getting my bits ready before tomorrow's flight home.

With my flight not until lunchtime, I had plenty of time to get some rest. But feeling ill, I ended up being awake from about 9:30am. Making my way to the airport, I binned my manky shoes for the clean pair I had been carrying with me and boarded the plane back to Doha. After a four hour flight I then had two hours back in Doha's beautiful airport before boarding another flight back to Heathrow. By this point I was really starting to feel drained, as although the time at home was still lunchtime, in India it was evening!

The whole of Bahrain

The whole of Bahrain

Having spent around 25 hours on Qatar Airlines flights in the last week, I had gone through a lot of the films already, so I eventually settled for the Swedish film "The Here After". After taking ages to get going, it eventually culminated with me finding out at the end credits that the lead character the whole entire time was played by Ulrik Munther! As if I had just sat through an hour and a half and not even noticed...urgh...

Eventually my bowels had held out and I arrived back at Heathrow, eventually getting back home at about 11:30pm on Sunday night - 5am Indian time. Work tomorrow would be fun!

India was a fascinating experience, with some truly breathtaking sites, such as the Taj Mahal. It is just a shame that you cannot avoid the slums or a bout of diarrhoea when visiting. I don't regret going, but as I sat there feeling ill beside the toilet at 3am, I had decided that yes, this would be my one and only experience....

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in India Tagged airport ceremony plane border sickness indianexperience

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