The second conversation I have with many Pakistanis is about where my family is from. I always respond that my family is from "the other Hyderabad," which everyone seems to have heard of, probably owing to its historically large Muslim population. I am always asked whether I speak Urdu or Hindi, and am slight embarassed to say that I speak neither language. It's at that moment when I feel the gap between us grow slightly. Continue reading
Islamabad was built in 1961. The wide streets, hallmarks of a government city, are the first things I notice.
The broad three lane thoroughfares allow for parades, marching soldiers, military equipment and the like. Certainly these are imaginable in this city, and one such mini-highway runs directly toward the palace of the President. The governement buildings are enormous, marble monoliths, expressing a militaristic, male-mindedness. The marble is mottled white. These guys mean business. Continue reading
Today I purchased food at the American Club using the chit system. A chit being the term for a small token, in this case a piece of paper, that represents monetary value. I bought a book of chits worth $11. Why do they sell in books of $11? To make money, of course. One dollar for every ten dollars worth of chits you buy. Continue reading
So, yeah, I'm here. I knew I should have forced myself to write about the journey as it was happening, but somehow I managed to pass nearly 11 hours in Heathrow Airport without doing a single constructive thing. I checked email. I slept on a leather loveseat. I held back from buying useless items found at airports because they were in British pounds. I snacked on business class lounge goodies. God, how depressing. Continue reading