Besides the numerous beggars, my experiences with Pakistani people were excellent. The average person in the street was very friendly, particularly in reaction to a positive comment about the country. Some people insisted I take a photo of them even when I wasn’t planning to.
As you can see, the photos below consist almost solely men or boys. There are a couple of reasons for this: a) males were far more visible in the street and, b) in Pakistan it is considered rude to take photos of women unknown to the photographer.
A drinks server at Hani and Mehwish’s first wedding reception
Guards at Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah’s Mausoleum, Karachi
Attendees at a Qawwali Sufi music concert, Lahore
A wise man (on the right) and his attendant at the Sufi concert, Lahore
The Gypsies in the centre of the photo are both outcasts and somewhat mythical. They were also at the Sufi dancing later that night.
I bought a mobile SIM card from these guys in Lahore. To obtain the card all I had to do was pay 150 rupees (about US$2.50). There were no forms to fill or identification to show. The card even came with 180 rupees worth of credit!
Their telephone service and photocopying shop is located in a lift (elevator) that has not operated for 20 years.
This man and the baby girl were on a street in the hospital district of central Lahore
In the labrinth that is Lahore’s Old City
A craftsman chiselling a piece of timber in the old city
Japanese backpacker Kae taking a photo of a boy in the old city. The sheep were to be slaughtered as part of the upcoming Eid ul-Azha (Feast of Sacrifice).
A street seller, Lahore. I considered buying one of the hats he is wearing. I wish I did.
A worker at the Regale Internet Inn, Lahore. He came from Chitral(?) and was very friendly, offering me cups of tea in return for fruit and nuts.
Like Istanbul is for Turkey, Karachi is the financial, transport and trade capital, and a former administrative capital of Pakistan. However, unlike Istanbul, Karachi is not Pakistan’s tourist capital (that is Lahore).
Hani’s family company is involved in trade via Karachi’s two main ports.
Karachi is a vast, sprawling city. The weather was mild during the day and occasionally chilly at night. Many coconut palms displayed their fruits and eagles plied the air.
Surprisingly, on 2 or 3 different occasions I saw transvestites street walking in the evening.
A new mosque
I went with Hani and his friends or family a few times to local landmark Cafe Clifton. There we parked and drank very strong, sweet, milky tea brought to the car by the waiter.
A street in central Karachi. Billboards were everywhere on the main thoroughfares.
The new years eve entertainment at the Pearl Continental Hotel, the location of Hani and Mehwish’s second wedding reception. For a city of 15 million people the entertainment options are very poor. I don’t even believe there is a nightclub there. Hani’s friends (mainly foreign educated) grumbled about the lack of things to do in Karachi.
Another busy Karachi street
25 December is a public holiday in Pakistan, not for Christmas, but for the birth of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the country’s founder, also known as Quaid-e-Azam (“Great Leader”) or Baba-e-Qaum (“Father of the Nation”). 25 December 2006 was the 130th anniversary of his birth. To celebrate this, there was a televised ceremony held in Karachi, Jinnah’s place of birth, attended by President Musharraf and other other political leaders.
Soldiers marching outside Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah’s Mausoleum
A video I shot of guard movements inside the mausoleum. Some people may recognise the music tune performed.(Note: This is my first ever video uploaded to YouTube).
The mausoleum. Note the eagles around the top.
As evidenced in this photo, thousands of eagles live in and around Karachi.
Karachi buses (and trucks) are vividly decorated (and often overcrowded).
Pakistan IS a cricketing nation. In fact, Cricket is one of the main uniting factors in the country. There were many visible signs of the game – from boys playing in the street to credit card endorsements and television programmes fronted by former players (Rameez Raja).
Cricket was a very safe topic of conversation with just about everyone there and I received several comments on the then current Ashes series between Australia and England.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to have a game whilst I was there.
The Ashes could be viewed in Pakistan via the Indian ESPN television channel. I only saw 10 or 15 minutes of coverage, although that was 10 or 15 minutes more than the total shown in Turkey.
In the Lahore park across the road there are several games of cricket going on at the same time. I don’t think the eagle is taking any notice, though.
Following is one of my favourite set of photos:
Another random game of street cricket in Lahore
He and 3 of his mates are playing cricket…
…next to the huge and ancient Badshahi Mosque. What a cool place to have a hit! Is it 6 and out when the ball goes over the wall? Could they even hit it over?
As I wrote previously, Pakistani food is dominated by meat and not as spicy as I anticipated. Here are some some food photos from my trip:
Clockwise from the top-left: lentils, sandwich, a fried sweet, a curry and a plate containing lemon wedges, fried onion and fresh coriander.
The salad bar at the first wedding reception
The first wedding reception’s main dishes: bread, fish, biryani, chicken, lamb and beef(?)
A type a pakistani pancake in the foreground and the wedding cake in the background
“Thick, Fatty & Naughty Special”. A funny menu heading at the Cafe Zouk’s Karachi restaurant
The BBQ Tonight restaurant’s barbecues, Karachi
Different breads and kebabs at BBQ Tonight. Although the kebabs look very similar to Turkish kebabs, the taste varies.
A full Karachi meal with 3 or 4 different meat dishes
Biryani, lamb and bread at the second wedding reception
Sweets, including trifle, at the second wedding reception. I don’t ever recall eating trifle in Turkey and seeing it here was a pleasant surprise.
A fruit and vegetable stall at the main Karachi Bazaar
Sweets, lentils and vegetable pasta on the Airblue flight from Karachi to Lahore
Chestnuts bought from the Lahore street. The chestnuts are eaten cold with salt sprinkled on them. This was the first time I’d eaten this species. On the Lahore street I drank fresh sugarcane juice, also infused with salt.
A Lahore sweet shop in the old city
Pawpaw, custard apple and chico, three fruits not found in Turkey. The custard apple in particular tasted delicious.
Efes non-alcoholic beer. I found this in a Karachi supermarket and have also seen it in Iran, but not in Turkey where it is produced.
My trip involved 8 flights on 3 different airlines: Atlasjet (Adana-Istanbul, Istanbul-Adana); Emirates (Istanbul-Dubai, Dubai-Karachi, Karachi-Dubai, Dubai-Istanbul); and Airblue (Karachi-Lahore, Islamabad-Karachi).
Here are some flight-related photos:
ON THE WAY TO PAKISTAN
Sabanci Mosque (bottom), Adana Hilton (top) and the Roman Bridge (top right), Adana.
The Taurus Mountains (“Toros Daglari”) north of Mersin. Notice the snow on some of the peaks.
At Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, were many Turkish people waiting to leave for the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Father Christmas at Dubai Airport
RETURNING TO TURKEY
One of Karachi’s airport terminals
Karachi suburbs from the plane. Karachi is a huge city and the suburbs were visible for a long time in the plane.
One of Karachi’s ports?
This cloud and cloud-shadow formation looked amazing from the air
Emirates above the cloud
A lonely Arabian Peninsula road surrounded by desert
Dubai’s suburbs on the approach to the airport
The above two photos do not fully capture the dreaminess of the sky over the Gulf
A jet in the distance piercing the sunset with its trail. Note the snow blanketing the ground.
The sun setting beneath the plane’s wing engine
A volcano mountain (Mt. Nemrut, Tatvan?) disguised by snow. Eastern Turkey was absolutely covered in snow.
Turkish Airlines aeroplanes lined up at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul
After hours of agonising I’ve finally organised my Pakistan trip photos and I’m about to upload the best of them. As there are too many photos to upload in one or a few articles I have incorporate them into themes. There may also be a few videos. Keep your eyes peeled…
I also have many other post-Pakistan trip things to write about should I find the time.
I returned to Mersin, Turkey, a week or so ago. At some stage soon I’ll get around to posting photos of both the wedding and Pakistan in general.