Crowdsourcing directions


We’re in Lahore and it’s a big city. There are somewhere between 8 and 10 million people here ad they sprawl uncontrolled in every direction. We’re tending to take auto-rickshaws to get around. I suspect they’re ripping us off but we pay $1-3 for a pretty big journey so the prices don’t demand that much of our attention.

Nobody knows where to go. The worst drivers are the ones who pretend that they know where you want to go, career off in what they understand to be the general direction and then stop every fifty metres to ask for directions. A slight improvement are the drivers who obviously have no idea where they’re going, but still desperately want your business, and so gather an every growing mob of street goers in the hope they might be able to assist.

I have to say this process has been raising my heckles more than most travel nuisances. There’s something enormously frustrating about having to put your trust in a driver who doesn’t know how to get from A to B.

After the conference shown in the picture above we were off in search of the tourist information office in the hope of securing a better map than the one we were using to point out destinations. An hour later we were literally going round in circles.

The only upside was a long conversation with some traffic police officers who confidently rattled off every major city in New Zealand and its corresponding cricket ground. Small grounds, they said, disapprovingly. I was about to launch into an explanation of why they’re so small when our driver felt he’d secured enough new information from passersby and pushed us back into the flow of traffic.

Shortly afterwards he deposited us on a nondescript kerbside with a shrug and a grimaced apology.

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