Blogs from Pakistan, Asia - page 2


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 » Karachi May 25th 2014

Vor einiger Zeit wurde ich von einem Bekannten, der zur pakistanischen Oberschicht gehört und dementsprechend reich ist, zu einem "kleinen Abendessen" auf der Yacht eines seiner Freunde eingeladen. Ich war damals noch neu im Lande und deshalb froh über jede Möglichkeit neue Leute kennen zu lernen. Mittlerweile sind einige dieser Bekanntschaften wieder erloschen oder wurden von mir erstickt, sobald klar wurde, dass die Personen mehr an meinem Beruf als an mir als Person interessiert waren. Erwähnter Bekannter ist übrigens immer noch in meiner Kontaktliste. Aber zurück zu jenem Abend. Eigentlich war eine Mitfahrgelegenheit mit einem Kollegen geplant, aus der dann jedoch wegen Kommunikationsproblemen nichts wurde. Also schickte mein Bekannter kurzerhand seinen Wagen samt zwei Bodyguards vor meine Haustür. Ich wusste lediglich, dass da jemand kommen würde, jedoch kannte ich weder Mod... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Karachi May 23rd 2014

Seit mittlerweile über neun Monaten lebe ich nun hier in Karachi, der mit vorsichtig geschätzten 13 Millionen Einwohnern größten Stadt Pakistans. Ich kam hier im letzten August an und hatte keine Vorstellung von dieser Stadt und dem, was mich hier erwarten würde. Ich hatte mich vorher bewusst nicht sehr intensiv informiert, weil ich einfach alles selbst frisch und von Vorurteilen unbelastet wahrnehmen wollte. Den üblichen hysterischen Klischees - Bomben!!! Attentate!!! Tod!!! - konnte ich dennoch nicht aus dem Weg gehen, dachte mir jedoch, so schlimm könne es schon nicht sein. Jetzt nach einem dreiviertel Jahr kann ich eine positive, erste Bilanz ziehen: Es lässt sich hier mit einigen Einschränkungen durchaus gut leben. Und langweilig wird es auch nicht. Keinesfalls. Von daher habe ich meine Entscheidung für diese Stadt bisher keine Sekunde bereut. Es dauert eine Weile, ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore August 22nd 2013

As I get excited for this memorable trip, I'm collecting gifts for the family. Amongst them, a few are particular for my doctor sister and her work. I had difficulty selecting the type of Vacuum she wanted for her collegue. Eventually we decided on a metal, in place of the plastic that she already had. I'm using this "trial run" as a prodromal exercise, for a lot more to come. My only concern is that trying to keep up with entries will take away alot of time, that otherwise could be spent enjoying late evening-nights exploring other aspects of travel and sight-seeing. I guess this could be similar to when we take pictures for viewing them later, but miss "memorizing" the scenes for that time. Though this texting is from a keyboard and a good exercise, ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore June 2nd 2013

One technique the AIOU Computer Science department uses to transmit knowledge to the provinces is video conferencing. I decided to try it out Friday morning. I spoke in front of a small local audience and a large monitor that showed in one window an audience in D.G. Kahn and in another an audience in Umerkot, both distant dusty villages in the badlands of Pakistan. All three audiences seemed equally perplexed by my lecture on NetLogo, a computer language that models complex systems as virtual turtles swimming in a virtual pond. Fortunately, a van was waiting outside the door for my planned visit to Lahore, so I was able to make a quick escape before their perplexity turned to rage. Inside the van I was chagrined to see that my entourage had expanded to six, including my ... read more
Defiant Pakistani border guarf
Eeek! A roach
Do I have gum on my shoe?

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
Big Important Conference I

Asia » Pakistan » Karachi January 22nd 2013

Trip to SeaView on Sunday morning, 20th January, 2013... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Karachi October 3rd 2012

“Pakistan? Pakistan!? Are you crazy, why are you going to Pakistan?” My colleague almost yelled as I broke the news of my upcoming business trip, her eyes wide with surprise. As I calmed her down and explained my excitement about the trip – how I was looking forward to explore the business opportunity and to get to discover a new and different country - she eventually waved me off with an “Ok, please be safe, and I do hope to see you back!” It’s kind of funny, but she wasn’t the only one with that kind of reaction to me going on this trip. Whereas I myself never felt anything of the kind. I think that people sometimes confuses Pakistan with some of its surrounding countries, some of which has kind of a bad reputation. And ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Azad Kashmir » Muzaffarabad September 13th 2012

Pir chinasi (a beautiful mountain) is located in Azad Kashmir near Muzaffarabad city at an altitude of 3110 m. It is about 30 Km from Muzaffarabad and is famous for its beauty and tomb of Hazrat Shah Hussain Bukhari (aka Pir chinasi). I began my travel from Lahore on Saturday 14th of July. My plan was to reach Rawalpindi by evening and to Muzaffarabad by night. From Lahore I took skyways which drop you to Faizabad (a famous bus station in Rawalpindi) a hub to travel any city in Pakistan. When I reached Rawalpindi a light drizzle welcomed me and this was the indication how the trip will went on (bad luck all the way). I struggled to get a place in AC coaster which was about to leave for Muzaffarabad (due to tourist season in ... read more
Fairy in Pir Chinasi
Our bus

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Skardu September 7th 2012

Phew... after a ridiculously long time with no proper internet connection I can finally sit down and write here :) It was all a pretty quick turnaround from Islamabad and the wedding to this: straight from the ac luxury of chaffeur-driven vans, delicious home-cooked food and being glamourous to backpacker mode within just a handful of hours. Shahrukh (Saher's brother) was super kind and managed to wield his powers as an influential member of Pak Army to get me a seat on the next available flight to Skardu. The wedding reception finished after midnight and at 5am I was at the airport waiting to board my 'once in a lifetime experience flight' to Skardu, Baltistan. I'd pre-arranged to do some voluntary work for Project Snow Leopard so I was pretty flaming excited! By sheer coincidence Rabaab ... read more

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