Published: January 18th 2010January 18th 2010
Okay, Pakistan in good for one's ego. That's 100% clear. We're now exactly one week in Pakistan and all is going well and our egos had a significant boost, but more about that later on.
The main reason of being in Paki is visiting a good, old friend on mine (who probably doesn't want to be called 'old', or do you, Renate?). We had a perfect flight from Kathmandu to ISB, with only one weird thing: the whole plane is basically full, but only 3 female passengers: 1 western lady in Business class and 2 in Economy, one of which being Agi and the other one is a local lady. Despite my initial expectation, we were shown a lovely local movie, which was actually in english: "Wolverine, origines", a typical US Hollywood blockbuster movie. Hmmmm, no Lollywood picture, but Lahore's Lollywood might be visited by us next week, so maybe an up-date then. But the good news was: NO visa problems
. We arrived and within 5 minutes was passed customs, where their only check was where we went and immediately wished us happy travels....
One week Paki
But ISB is a new city: created in the 1960s
120 Mio USD, one of the biggest mosques in Asia and a friendly gift from the late king of Saudia Arabia.
and it shows: nice grids with streets, each sector its own market and actually rather dull. But Renate freshened it up for us. So meeting her was actually really good. She was the first familiar face that we saw in four monhts, and actually that felt so good and comfi. But Renate works in ISB, so she could entertain us in the evening, but during the day we were off by ourselves. Wandering through ISB, checking some markets and trying to get a glimps on the ordinary daily life.
Next to ISB is Taxila, approx 35 km, but to get there is actually rather a hassle, as basically all public transport stuff is arranged in Rawalpindi, the twin-city of ISB. Officially it's 15km from ISB, but in reality both are connected and being merged in one. So although Taxila is only 35km away, we arrived there at approx 14.30, while we left in the morning. Taxila is an old Buddhist centre with many ruins and half-worn down stupa's and statues. To be honest, not that spectacular in case you're not 100% interested in ruins/archeology... but going there is fun: sitting in the back of a small motorized riksha and
seeing all the local kids/youngster surprised and waving at you: apparently western tourists are not that common. The museum in Taxila is nice, but the best part was the some small girls, who we hoovering around us all the time, actually approached Agi, when i went around the corner. Not that special you might think, but women are ofter regarded here as second to men, so these girls wouldn't approach me, or approach Agi in case i was next to her, only when I was out of sight. But eventhough the submissive ladies are not really my favorite, Agi did her best to blend in with them: From day one a big shawl around her head and a dress over here pants in order to fake a local typical cloths. But after three days she could blend in totally: her custom-made wide baggy pants, long shirt/semi-dress and shawl were done, thanks to the tailor. It actually fits and suits her well (see pics to see for yourselves), so it might be encouraged by me in the future....
Popstars in Murree
A second trip was to Murree, approx 65km from ISB. Better prepared then on the first trip,
Paki pop stars
and this was only a small group....
we immediately took a taxi to the proper bus station ( and a not public bus which should have gone to the proper bus station....). So Murree went fast. Murree is a resort town upon the tops of mountains. From the west view point you could see ISB, from the east point the outlyers from the Himalayas: Kashmir. We decided to spend a night there, just to escape ISB. The views are splendid there and the cable lift going halfway down is a chill relaxed day activity. But the main attraction from Murree were not the views, nor the cablelift. The main attraction were us!!! I lost count how often we were asked to go on pictures with Pakistani people. Families, packs of friends, mothers with their daughters would come to us and politely ask whether a picture with them would be possible. A 20+ guys was actually shivering and said softly while a picture was being made: "I'm soooo excited". I do not know a proper English phrase, so it will be in Dutch, but what a 'bakvis' he was...
There are more photos below