Now short of time on my visa, I had to make a choice between either seeing Pindi and Islamabad today or the full day slog that would be necessary to take in Taxila, another major buddhist UNESCO site and reputedly one of the major ones of the whole subcontinent. Still not feeling 100 per cent, it was a blow but I wimped out and opted for the cities. After all, I couldnt come to Pakistan and not see the capital city I mused. In the end there was little to detain me in either. Pindi was remarkable only for its plethora of fast food joints and good cheap book shops which one might have expected more of the modern neighbouring capital, and sole memory was actually the purchase of a book on the Finnish winter war of 1939-40, god knows how it had found its way here. Islamabad though completely different in character was equally unassuming. A new planned city on a par with Canberra, it had had its inception only in the 60s as a solution to the problem of hitherto capital Karachi being too far distant from the majority of the country, and was in essence a grid of squares which had been carved out with the intention that each should become a distinct district with its own commercial heart. In practice what had transpired was a botched piecemeal realisation, with some sectors remaining little more than wasteland interrupting random isolated development. Indeed, what should have been the main drawcard the parliament house I deemed just too far off to hoof down a stretch of pond lined mall.