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What a weekend!

PAKISTAN | Tuesday, 3 August 2010 | Views [608]

I was in Lahore and Khanewal (two cities north of Karachi) to meet our new inlaws, and to absorb a new city and the countryside. I am writing about Monday (yesterday) first, will post something about our adventures on Sunday in a bit..

This is what I wrote in my journal yesterday night. Just so I say this upfront: I am fine, my family is fine. We made it home from the airport slightly nervous (since the MQM leader had just been killed, and the city was shut down plus, our tank was empty, running on reserve, and no gas stations open..):

"We are sitting home right now, after a  really long day of travelling in a bus from Lahore to Khanewal, there for 2h and on to Multan, to leave on a plane back to Karachi. As my cousin pointed out: we were in 4 cities in one day!

The trip from Lahore to Khaneval was full of luscious green, farmers, farms, corn, rice, waterbuffalos, and even camels. I got some inside time, and outside time -  I love looking out of the window, loosing myself in landscapes, people, imagining it was part of my life: hard labor in the field in the morning and afternoon, maybe bring the sheep (did you know: sheep have loooong, ears that hang down here, like earrings!) home from their graze. It is monsoon time and children were thrilled to play in big fields of mud - who wouldn't! Sitting in the shade with the other men, discussing the day's work.

The monsoon rains hit about an hour before we reached. It rained like only the monsoon can. Our busdriver wasn't phased, and I believe he didn't even reduce his speed by 10km/h. Leading to a litle bit of aquaplaning at one particularly deep spot, but nothing else happened, and the rains, thankfully, were over fast.

When we drove into my cousin's new inlaw's driveway, we were greeted by a band that started playing traditionally punjabi music, bride and groom got bombarded with rose petals, and were dancing, and everyone was out to say hi. After a 5h trip, we were happy to get out of the minibus, and freshen up. I really like being greeed by rose petals. that should be done anyways, marriage or no marriage, I think:)

After a really short visit, we went on to Khanewal, were the main party in the bride and grom's honor was being held. Khanewal is a pretty conservative city and it was exactly that: bride's honor to the right, groom's honor to the left, in two seperate tents! HA! Well, even so, It was really nice, and outside. The new father in law told us, that it had been 52 years since the monsoon hit that region like that, which is why they had planned a party outside.  But everyone was cheerful, local farmers and landowners came, along with some politicians. My cousin looked beautiful, again, still, always!

We left after only 2h, our tummys full with chicken (people love to eat chicken over here) and rice. Drove to Multan to the smallest airport I have seen. It was one room, and the person who did the security also did the ticketing and the announcement that the plane was ready for boarding. :)!

We left on a 737-300, easily 20years old. There were some gaps in the joints between the metal sheets - didn't say anything to others, no sense in scaring people. The stewardess was a mixture between a military leader (cell phone off, I said!) and a cross mom (distribute the food parcels!). When we landed we found out that Raza Haider, a MQM leader, had been shot. The city was shut down, taxis were not allowed to drive, gas stations were closed. And we needed to get back from the airport. We fit in six people plus driver (two in front, 4 at back) in the car from home (that was really low on gas) and  the others were able to convince and plead with a cab driver.

Both drivers flew home, the reasoning being: less time on the street means less danger. We made it home on fumes (nothing left in the tank!), but in one piece.


Today we found out, there was shooting, and fire, and 15 people died. No markets will be open, so no presents for anyone, sorry:). I am leaving tomorrow night. Will switch to my other blog again...love from here.

Tags: chicken, karachi, khanewal, mqm, multan arport, wedding

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