Islamabad

Islamabad is a city much different than Karachi and Lahore. The capital is a modern city, well planned and organized. I was staying with a couchsurfer in the district F-11, which much like the other districts is centered around a Markaz, a marking place where me and my host would sit and drink tea together every evening.

ehind my was the Margalla Hills where I went to pray at the Faisal mosque at the bottom, and hitchhiked up to a fancy restaurant called “the Monal” on top, which had the best view of the city.

The view from the Monal

Islamabad has really thought me a lot about the mindset of the people here. At the time I was there, Bibi was released from her death centence for blasphemy, Amanul Huq was assasinated and thousands of people took to the streets to protest. At the same time I was sitting with my new Pakistani friends who were smoking hash, drinking beer and expressing their open minded views. We also went to the McDonals and saw transvestites dance for money by passing cars, prostitutes and the young people who would drink and sometimes fight on the parking lot. Pakistan has the whole spectre of people, and everyone I met, from the strogly devoted muslims, to liberal youngsters, met me with the same respect and the hospitality everywhere.

During my stay I also hung out with Somalis and a converted Scottsman, where I got to learn about Islam and was invited to a Somali wedding. When I sat with them on a hill, drinking beer and talking politics I realized that I was just getting to know the place and am curious to know more. Pakistan has really been one of my favorite countries to travel in and I am looking forward to coming back.

Instead of having regular bars they had “bars” where you could sit and breathe pure oxygen which was an interesting experience