Welcome to Pakistan, India finished.

“Welcome to Pakistan, India finished.”
The first words I hear as I cross the 100m no mans land at the border, arriving in Pakistan.

Welcome to Pakistan

What the Australian Government had to say at my time of arrival:
“We strongly advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Pakistan at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack, sectarian violence and the unpredictable security situation.”

What I have to say:
I’ve been here one week now, all of that time in Lahore, but for an initial impression, Pakistani people couldn’t be any nicer and the streets feel perfectly safe. Yes, I stay 5 mins walk around the corner from a bomb blast site, but being here – if you didnt know, you would know type thing, and it would’ve just been bad luck if you were walking past at the time.
I guess ignorance is bliss in a way.
Tourism isn’t the biggest industry here, and beyond those staying at the same place as me I haven’t seen another foreigner in town. Locals are blown away when they see you walk by, and for the most part people just double take or stare with bewilderment. Trying to sell you crap doesn’t even cross their minds, and by the time they’ve processed what just happened your already gone.
People are calling out from the other side of the street, balconies, cars, bicycles, shouting their best HELLO, HELLO! Coming up and shaking your hand, looking you up and down, ‘What you do in Pakistan!?’ haha, its kinda cute.

Some people get culture-shocked arriving in new places, sensory overload, taking photos of everything, cant cross the street properly.
I get food-shocked, I’m seeing breakfast, lunch and dinner of things that my taste buds have never even sampled before! haha
Its fair to say the first night I went to bed feeling quite self-indulgently ill.
The hardest thing though is actually buying food, none of the street vendors will let me pay for anything! They’re so siked to have an Australian sitting on their plastic stool, trying to get them to accept money is impossible. I’m sure they’re calling out to their friends on the other side of the street “hey, this guy is from Australia, he knows Ricky Ponting!”

I cant tell if its because I’m happy to be out of India, or if Pakistan is indeed better, but so far I’m having a pretty good time.
Foods good, weather’s good, shits cheap, nets fast (when its working), people are nice, and streets quiet in comparison.
As far as being in the Indian subcontinent goes, there’s not much more you can ask for.

This is a shitty arrangement of photos and styles, and doesn’t do Lahore any justice, but alas, its what I’ve got.
Streets of Lahore, Pakistan

Streets of Lahore, Pakistan Sunset

Regall Internet Inn Laneway, Lahore, Pakistan

Chicken Shawarma and Salad – $2AU
Lahore, Pakistan - Street Food

Hall Rd Electronics Market, Lahore, Pakistan

Little stash of expired Kodak ProImage I found. Less than $1 p/roll.
I brought everything he had in the shop.
Expired Kodak ProImage 100

If you only knew how good these three things are.
Naan Hasselblad Lahore Pakistan Kovacs

Life v2.0 759

“Hello!”, “Please sit down” an icy cold Coke is shoved in my hand.
And that’s how I met Muzammil.
His family is Pakistan’s only registered exported of reconditioned Vespas. If your in the UK and riding a reco Vespa, chances are it come from his little shop.
We hang out every afternoon, talk shit, drink Chai, and ride Vespa’s around the city in the evening. He’s made it a great week.
Lahore, Pakistan - Vespa Muzammil

Lahore, Pakistan - Vespa Muzammil

Lahore, Pakistan - Vespa Muzammil

Life v2.0 761

19 Responses to “Welcome to Pakistan, India finished.”

  1. 1 Michael Wearne November 4, 2009 at 5:29 am

    I have followed this blog everyday since day one! It’s far more entertaining than any travel documentary on TV.
    Usually the true story is glossed over but you tell it how it is. Now I can’t wait for the next episode so hurry up and post again.

  2. 2 Laughing Hard Crying Harder November 4, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Muzammil looks like a Pakistani Mike Skinner.

  3. 3 Aadil Pitafi November 5, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Welcome to Pakistan! Yeah, it’s pretty cool for us to see a foreigner wandering in our streets in such a situation, when he knows that he could be blown up anytime. I had lived in Lahore for more than 9 years, and the photos are great, even if they don’t show us the modern streets of Lahore.


  4. 4 Meg F November 5, 2009 at 4:11 am

    How wonderful that he is getting to experience this. I have a dear friend who lives in the Tribal Areas who is one of the kindest people you could ever meet. What a shame that the people of this region are affected by such violence and heartache. The innocent suffer greatly. His descriptive writing makes me want to visit this area and I am happy he can pass this experience on to us. We must never give up hope that these people can soon live in peace.

  5. 5 Jawad November 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    If you’re still here in Lahore, hit me up. Me and my friends will be happy to show you around the “subculture”. Parties, pubs and clubs and all. I guess you wouldn’t imagine finding that in a muslim country like this, right? Cheers!

  6. 6 Jawad November 8, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    btw, habibja@earlham.edu is my email address

  7. 7 muzammil butt November 10, 2009 at 4:33 am

    i see my and your photos and naz i am very happy to see photos

  8. 8 Gul November 10, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Firstly Welcome you in our Country..
    Nice to see these people here in this type of situation..
    These people can now better decide that we all are not terrorist,,!

  9. 9 muzammil butt November 12, 2009 at 4:18 am

    good night

  10. 10 muzammil butt November 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    have a nice day matthe .enjoy day good luck

  11. 11 muzammil butt November 19, 2009 at 12:25 am

    good luck friend

  12. 12 Jalal HB November 20, 2009 at 3:48 am

    I was born and grew up in Lahore and was happy to see you being treated in the same traditional hospitality synonymous to Lahorites – hope you go back with nicer memories of Lahore

  13. 13 muzammil butt November 20, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    where are you .are you coming lahore/////////////// muzammil

  14. 14 muzammil December 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    good morning matthe kovacs come my shop

  15. 15 hiley December 10, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Hey thanks for the post. Looks like I’m heading to Lahore in a couple of weeks as a result. Happy travels. Mark

  16. 16 muzammil butt December 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    my new number is / 0322.4521285.0346.4516513
    add my website contact

  17. 17 Haroon Rashid Khan December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Dear friend,

    I read you further posts and its really interesting how you experienced the things. Reminds me of time when my car mechanic always used to bring me tea even if i didnt want that :p. i just posted your blog on my facebook, if you could find me there with my name i will be really happy:)

    Haroon Rashid

  18. 18 muzammil butt December 19, 2009 at 12:24 am

    nice to meet you
    what are you doing//////////////
    what is your india number send my number
    my number you know / 0092 302 4240671
    and thanks

  19. 19 muzammil March 1, 2010 at 3:28 am

    helo my friend
    how are you and your girl friend?
    where are you?
    in UAE?
    you come pakistan?
    many wedding in lahore
    muzammil butt vespa house
    matthew kovacs from austrialia
    ok my friend good bye and take care
    no forget me?

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