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Published: November 7th 2008
See these everywhere often driving straight at you
Letter from Islamabad 02/11/2008
End of the first week and are now half way through our training. Have attended Urdu lessons for two hours every morning and know more about my own language construction than I was teached in school in England. Our teacher has given us both the basic structure and the history of his language. We have learned some basic sayings parrot fashion but has encouraged us to develop our own phrases based on the structure S O V (subject object verb). Have learned a lot about Islam and cultural matters through a range of workshops and discussion sessions. Islamabad is a strange city built on a grid system with a market area in the centre, housing is arranged around the edge. We are currently staying in street 32 F11/2 house 334. There are still several areas that we are not allowed to go to for security reasons and some areas do have road blocks where cars and busses are checked. All lorries are pulled over and thoroughly inspected and long lines of them can be seen as this is a long process.
Saturday was an organised trip to Taxila archaeological site and museum, this also
Cultural day out
an insight to all the different styles of architecture and customs in the country.
In the afternoon we went for lunch at our Urdu teachers house.
Sunday has been our day off so took a taxi to the National Heritage Museum, very quiet apart from one large school party. Saw a whole range of cultural styles but much has been influenced by the north of Pakistan. Managed to order the tickets in Urdu but
had to hand in our cameras before being allowed in. Walked from the museum to Point Zero the place where all measurements are taken in
Pakistan and a monument has been built to commemorate the country coming into being.
At the National Monument WE were actually the main attraction!! People wanted to take our photos both openly and I also noticed people trying to take pictures secretly like I do sometimes!!!So now I know how it feels! Everyone was very friendly and complementary on our Pakistani dress!
We braved taxis and negotiated good prices and ate some street food
Only a couple of days to go in the comfortable environment of VSO training where
Lots of Pakistanies have this picture too
there are plenty of other English speakers and we are fed at regular intervals! On Saturday we all split up and depart for our various placements around the Punjab. Some people’s journeys will take up to 12 hours but I think we have 6 hours to Lahore then 2 to our final destination--- I will let you know!
The roads are interesting and the use of a horn is compulsory I think! The state of many of the cars means that they often break down and a ride in a taxi often means the driver having to open and close the handless doors. Traffic lights can be obeyed if you are not in a hurry and overtaking is a matter of honour.
The painted Lorries and trucks are fantastic and even the JCBs have some tinsel somewhere on them. Most forms of transport have black steamers attached to ward of evil spirits and for good luck. Even in the city here there are carts drawn by horses or donkeys and today I saw a whole group of people riding donkeys—like a Christmas card!
Geoff and I are building up our ethnic wardrobe and he admits to finding it very comfortable!
I am tempted every time I pass a fabric shop and think I will end up with more clothes than I have at home and to be fashionable I need matching shoes, bags and jewellery!! Don’t think our allowance has taken this into consideration!
So, it is goodbye to Islamabad for a bit and off to Lahore and then Sydan Walla.
Hope everyone back home are coping with the snow etc!! Looking forward to hearing from you -we value your comments!!!
Jane and Geoff
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