Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pakistan

Asalam Alaikum,

Pakistan.

Wow. Sorry but some ranting will follow. (not many pictures because for the more obvious reasons we didn't go out a whole lot) If you don't want to read the rant, then skip to the end where there are some positives.

Lets get the worst complaints out of the way first - Load Shedding. I hate Load Shedding. Load Shedding(if you are lucky) means that 2-3 time in a day your power will go out for about an hour. If you are not lucky, Load Sharing means that your power will come ON for 1 hour 2-3 times a day. This is a really annoying problem because it is HOT in Pakistan, load shedding means no fans, lights, tv, fridge, and you can just forget about AC, because even if you have power the voltage is probably not enough to run it.

Not having electricity causes a cascade of related problems, without power you can't run the pumps that fill the tank on your roof, so no showers, no water for cleaning/cooking/drinking. Also you can't buy too many perishable items because if you stock up and then the lights go out for almost all of a week then everything goes bad(this had a beneficial side effect- all food is pretty fresh as you have to go to the market just about everyday.) To look on the bright side of things, I guess it helps the environment that we don't use as much energy as we would if the power was on.

Hearing gunshots is a something that happens pretty often, we call it Firing. When ever anything happens you take your gun and go up to your roof and fire at least 4-5 shots straight up. This happens for engagements, weddings, birth of children, on National Day, and when Pakistan wins a really big Cricket match against Sri Lanka. You get so used to it that you don't even notice it very much.

I do understand why they feel like this, but something that made me a bit nervous was the posters telling Americans to get out of Pakistan, with pictures of an angry mob and a raised fist on it. This was another reason that The DH and I did not go out too much, even when I didn't speak I got a lot of rude stares, and when I did speak it was worse.

Enough complaining for now, there was some good things. Food, food in Pakistan can be really amazing(after your immune system adjusts). Most things are fresh(see above regarding electricity), cooked right in front of you. Bread cooked in a tandoor, Jalebiand Samosa with Raita freshly made at tea time, which the DH would sometimes bring. One fruit that I especially liked was the Falsa berries, they sort of look like blueberries but are a little sour and have a big seed inside. They usually sell them with a little packet of masala(mixed spices), and you just sprinkle it on and eat. One of the best things was when we went to the market we had Falooda, they have Falooda in Abu Dhabi but the one in Pakistan is better.

Inshallah I will have more to post soon, But I have to organize my thoughts a bit.

2 comments:

Karen O'Grady said...

praise be you are back on safer ground now...
Love ya!

luckyfatima said...

ASAK: I am also an American married to a Pakistani guy and we live in the UAE...Dubai to be exact. Yep, Pakistan has its high and low points...

All of Pakistan is not hot, in some the northern areas in the Himalayan belt it can snow in July! Glorious weather in the surrounding hill stations while Southern PK boils! But yep if you are in any of the major cities they are all in hotter regions and the load shedding is the pits.

I completely avoid trips in the summer to beat the heat. But it was even hot as heck in April and the load shedding was starting already.

I love the fresh food in PK, too! I remember eating a tomato and thinking outloud: wow, this tomato tastes like...a tomato! Our tomatoes in the US and the UAE are not nearly as good. But then in PK tomatoes aren't available year round. So there are trade offs for being here or there.

Anyway, I like your blog and I am eager to read more.

Peace.
Fatima