Cool Things :) vs Uncool Things :(

Finally got into the airport, and managed to then wait there for another three hours before boarding our Emirates flight to Dubai.  The flight to Dubai was uneventful, thankfully.  Emirates is a great airline and I would have no hesitation flying with them again.  I was supposed to get a couple of hours in Dubai to do a bit of shopping, but as I have come to expect, nothing in Pakistan works, let alone works to a schedule, so we were late getting away to Dubai, so there was no time for duty free shopping at Dubai at all!  Bummer, I had planned to pick up some flying carpet mouse mats, some duty free tequila and maybe find some sunglasses for MrK.  So much for that. 

I have gotten so used to being stared at in my travels over the last six weeks, and particularly in Pakistan, where my appearance literally could stop traffic, then when I entered the departure lounge for my flight to Australia, I could FEEL that I was no longer being looked at!  It was a noticeable and palpable experience, I went from the main area of the airport where the majority of people wandering around are of arab or middle eastern descent to stepping into the departure lounge full of home bound Aussies and Kiwis, and I could just feel that I was no longer the oddity!  It was great, outside it was me being stared at… and then suddenly, inside the departure lounge… it was the two women in full black burkas that were the oddity and not the short blonde in the corner!  Yay!  Able to blend into the crowd again!  πŸ™‚

Our flight to Bris likewise left late… am getting sick of this shit… but this time we were stuck on the plane waiting to leave and held there for nearly two hours while they removed six men ‘for security reasons’ and then we had to wait while they took off their luggage.  Hey – I’m cool with that!  Take as much time to get rid of their luggage as you want … considering you have removed them from the plane as apossible security risk!  OMG … what exactly that might have all meant I don’t want to contemplate!.

Spent some of my time on the flight doing my lists of cool things and uncool things about Pakistan….

Cool things πŸ™‚

.   Absolutely incredible and unusual landscape.
.   The crazy social contrasts.
.   Mangoes with every meal – prepared by someone else!  Yay!
.   Shopping hospitality… green tea with your carpet browsing Mem’sab?
.   Beautiful fabrics! fantastic clothing! Gorgeous embroidery on everyday stuff.
.   Gorgeous, gorgeous silk carpets.. I should have bought that Qum too!
.   Cute mud houses dotting the town (fall down in rain though! not good).  
.   Pakistani guards that wont go out in the rain!  Maybe they melt!  πŸ™‚
.   The multi cultural street 4 was fantastic!.  
.    Walking around with the equivalent of a years salary in my pocket!  πŸ™‚
.   The crazy painted jingle trucks… works of art in themselves.
.    Man Love Thursday… the men are publicly affectionate with each other..  
.    Little old lady holding their head scarves on with bulldog clips πŸ™‚
.   Having house staff…. One shouldn’t have to dust for oneself! πŸ™

Uncool things  πŸ™
.   Being stared at like a western whore – I got used to it, but don’t like it at all.
.   The children that just wont smile back at you… it’s alarming.
.   No alcohol – which reflects total lack of personal freedom here.
.   The evidence of poverty everywhere… plastic bags roofs, people without shoes…
.   My bathroom with no windows – effectively a bunker reminding you its not safe.
.   The lack of humidity – dries out your skin and hair something awful.
.   No mobile phone reception anywhere!  It’s crap.
.   Wireless broadband internet – US$270/mth for a 256kb speed! :S
.   Man Love Thursday doesn’t extend to PDAs with their womenfolk.  😐
.   Men who seem offended at being introduced to me socially.
.   Having to triple think my attire whenever leaving the house.
.   Nothing works in Pakistan

Verdict?  I am so glad I came, and it was amazing to catch up with MD again, as I had missed him so much…. but….. I have absolutely no desire to return to Pakistan what so ever.  And think I can unequivocally say I will never return.  It is one thing to intellectually be aware of how oppressive it must be living in an Islamic state, but until you’re there and you can feel it…. shrug – I just wasn’t really aware of what it must be like.


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