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Published: October 9th 2005
Mosque in Quetta
The style of the Mosques changes from country to country. In Turkey and Iran there were always quite high minarets. Here in Pakistan I only saw small turrets.
Quetta is still in the desert of Baluchistan but it is at higher altitude an surounded by mountains. Here I frist felt what it is like to be in Pakistan. If you come from Iran many things are worse. The people are less friendly and sometimes you start feeling like the German 'walking money bag' because many people are just after your money.
The quality and the taste of bread is also something to complain about. In Iran I found three kinds of bread, all baked in a stone oven with fire but with different techniques. One is just plain wheat flour bread with some sesame on it and it is baked on a pile of hot hasenut-size stones. This gives it a characteristic pattern of holes. When it's fresh it tastes quite good and it is only 0.15$ for a huge piece. Still Nick named it the shit bread because when we took it to the mountain it was uneatable after only a few days. Another bread we called skate-board bread. That's exactly the shape and thickness it is. It is made with a mixture of wheat and corm flour. Tastes very good, also after some days in the mountains
This is a bakery with the underground oven. You can only see the top opening where the bread is smacked through with a special glove. When you look carefully you can see one bread sticking to the oven's wall.
(See the 'a good meal' picture in Damavand II). The most common bread in Iran is very thin, maybe just a milimeter and quite salty. Good for accompanying soup for example. So quite a diversity of bread in Iran. And what do they have in Pakistan? Chapati. Only chapati. It's a small, pancake-sized, wheat-flour bread that doesn't taste good. The best thing you could say was that it doesn't have any taste at all...but they have a fancy way of making it. They smack it to the wall of an underground oven and there it sticks to the hot bricks untill it's ready. I could follow this procedure in many places just at the side of the street.
Still remembering the awfull bus journey to Quetta I bought a 1st class sleeper train ticket to Lahore for the onward journey. As a student you get 50% discount on all fares from the Pakistanian Railway. That left me with about 9$ for the 24 hour journey through half the country. The six bed compartment I shared with five Pakistani men. They worked in the office for the railway and got the ticket for the official travel to another branch of their
At the Pakistani railway everything is very formal and official. Everybody, even the lowest worker has a uniform to make him look more important. There exists a whole complex of office buildings which seems to be a leftover of the colonial times. The office workers in there are not to buissy so.
The railway track does not go to Lahore directly but first heads south-east out of the Baluchistan desert toward the Indus. Then the direction changes and the train goes up the Indus plain to Lahore. In the Indus plain it was first after a long time in the desert that I saw some green trees and field again. The region is called the Punjab, lots of rice, fruit, and vegetables are grown there.
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