Day 25: Rawalpindi to Lahore
He nods animatedly.
'Oh yes, two, three, four o'clock in the morning, people are eating different dishes at different places.'
South of Jhelum the scenery changes from scrubby bush plateau to the freshly shorn fields of the Punjab plain.
Back on the train the Iceman is coming. I talk with a pale German girl who converted to Islam a year ago and two young, articulate computer programmers in shirts and trousers travelling with their father. He is shy, speaks no English, wears an embroidered skull cap and shalwar-kameez and looks steadily forward.
The light is softening and the day is cooling and people are out beside the railway; leading dusty-flanked water buffaloes to be fed, carrying goods home on the back of bicycles and playing cricket with breeze blocks for stumps.
It's dark when we reach Lahore. Outside the station, a colossal brick and stone fortified folly, I pick up an auto-rickshaw to the hotel. We grind off onto wide roads and through careless traffic, adding our own little cloud of pollution to a thick, hot, suffocating fug, tight as a strait-jacket.
Choose another day from Himalaya