Blogs from Islamabad, Pakistan, Asia

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Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad October 18th 2019

September 27, 2019 I’m on my way to Pakistan. I am flying from London Heathrow to Istanbul, Turkey, and then to Islamabad Pakistan. The purpose of this trip is 2 fold: To do a 2 week motorcycle trip through a PakistanAnd to play polo in the 104th FIP (Federation of International Polo) Ambassadors Cup in Lahore, Pakistan Our fearless leader on the motorcycle trip is Moin Khan. I was intr... read more
The Route through Northern Pakistan
Fitting right in with the locals!
Fahd recovering from long, cold, ride over the Deosai Plains

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 4th 2019

Days 5 and 6 Aug 3 My stomach hurts, you know in that crampy way. Lousy night, clearly I was a very considerate roommate- Mary had no idea I'd been up half the night. She slept well in between coughing and had no issues whatsoever with her chicken last night. Headed gingerly into the Shelton House dining room where we met 2 of our group- Lynton from Victoria (who I had conversed with by Messenger in Aust but hadn't actually met before- I think we "met" when he made a post about the trek on the Australian Long Distance Hikers FB group!) and Danny from the NT. Attempted small talk between crampy waves, trying not to let it show ahead of our big expedition. Forced down some tea and toast. Made the executive decision that Mary ... read more
Negotiations
Taxila
Dharmarajika Info Board

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 2nd 2019

Day 4 With Mary still feeling subpar we decided to take the easier option of taking a hotel car to Islamabad. We had originally planned on taking a bus which would have been cheaper (less than AUD $20 each plus some creative Ubering) but this turned out to be a great decision (mostly). There are a few luxury bus companies, we had been looking at Daewoo who have about 20 trips a day and varying standards of bus (gold, premium, etc), they look good actually. Also, the further out you book the better the deal. https://www.daewoo.com.pk/ Anyway..... Having received my latest "more information required" email from the Ministry of Interior Visa people I was in a slightly tetchy mood and ready to negotiate hard for our car. The first offer the hotel came up with was ... read more
Katas Raj Temple Sacred Pond
Filming For Documentary and/or Music Video
Decorative Ceiling Inside Ramachandra Temple

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 1st 2018

Just before we left NZ the people we’d organised our border pick up and trip to Islamabad with had contacted us to say they had 2 Dutch guys taking a car with driver on a 2 day journey up to Gilgit (the main city on the Karakoram Highway in the mountains) and did we want to share the cost. We’d been talking to them about hiring a 4WD and driver for a side trip from Gilgit so they knew on our rough thinking on dates were close to aligning. It’s a long journey up, even broken into 2 and the heat was going to make it tougher, so we accepted. The original plan was to depart the day after we got to Islamabad but the Dutch guys needed to delay a day and while keen to ... read more
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Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad February 27th 2016

That feeleing when you have home standby and they call you at midnight to fly ISB turnaround at 3.25 am... / To uczucie gdy masz rezerwe domową i dzwonią do ciebie o północy, że lecisz na turnaround do ISB o 3.25 nad ranem...... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad September 30th 2015

Geo: 33.7076, 73.0479Well we made it to Islamabad. We were told in the morning at our hotel in Besham that we would need to be escorted for the next 50 kms. Fair enough if that is what is required then bring it on. The police waited patiently outside our hotel for us to finish breakfast and after that it was on for the next seven hours. Our escort vehicle changed every few districts, on some occasions we had an escort vehicles both infront and behind our vehicle. Great for getting through the heavy traffic. Sirens and flashing lights but they overtake trucks madly on blind mountain corners and expect us to stick close to them. They clearly got very uncomfortable if another vehicle got in the middle of our convoy. Darren had never driven so fast ... read more
This guy was a bit serious
There is a theme to our view of Pakistan
Restaurant lunch stop

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad September 21st 2014

Leaving Deosai high plane, I had been advised not to travel through Chilas at night - risk of banditory. Kind hard when bridge 50km from Chilas was closed for emergency repairs till 9pm, but helpfully was reunited with Dmitry also waiting in quew, the mood was good, watched locals lift 6m 9" girders by hand was inspiring. From Chilas we wanted to go directly south over the Balakot pass 4200m, but this road not open to foreigners. So followed KKH to east though Besham & Abbottobad was the only alternative, we had on/off police escort to Abbottobad, a hot spot for terrosum in area, would seam the police escorts were often used for on this tourist route, was hyper efficient at times with escort changing on move every 30km, but also occasionally a 90min wait too. ... read more
A security check point
Security escort change over.
can U see the goat?

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad June 7th 2014

I follow Paul Theroux's advice in the Tao of Travel: always bring a book along that is completely unrelated to where you are going. For me, reading such a book becomes a vacation from the vacation. Accordingly, I am accompanied on this trip by Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England. But this choice turns out not to be so unrelated. The parallels between traveling through 16th Century England and traveling through 21st Century Pakistan are striking. Both places are frustrating—important institutions like the courts and government don't work, people are trapped by class and religion, donkeys pull carts down busy highways, and living in the Marriott is just like living in a medieval castle. Yes, inside finely costumed women are being photographed in front of the h... read more
Big Brother
cool sign
The Tiger of Punjab

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad May 29th 2013

On the flight to D.C. my fellow passengers were Memorial Day vacationers wearing T-shirts and baseball caps. I felt like an international man of mystery, passing through their lives, a dark ship en route to an impossibly distant port. The situation was reversed on the flight to Dubai. Now my fellow travelers were beefy guys with heavy watches and camo hats. They had American flag patches on their arms and were headed to Kandahar to take up positions as "security consultants." I made the mistake of watching Zero Dark Thirty for my in-flight movie. It depicts the 2008 bombing of the Islamabad Marriott, my home for the next week or so. The power went out while I was standing in the dismal arrival hall at Islamabad airport, waiting to get my passport stamped. The ... read more
Faisal Mosque
Banquet
Big Important Conference I

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 25th 2012

After nearly a week in Islamabad, it's only fair to write an update of how things are going... I had an absolutely gorgeous bedroom in Saher's place- in fact, it was her room! Only in Pakistan are the people so hospitable that the bride will give up her boudoir so that you can sleep easy. I felt really bad one night when I noticed her father (the man responsible for organising most of the wedding) sleeping on the marble floor in the corridor. I had repeatedly asked 'Are you sure it's okay for me to have this room all to myself? I can share it! I honestly don't mind at all!' Ahem, be careful what you wish for. On one of the nights I was unexpectedly bombarded by three loud young ladies from downtown Islamabad. They ... read more




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