I got to visit Pakistan after many many years and found myself lucky to see and experience a lot of amazing things. Here are some of them:
1. LOVED ONES ❤️. The number one best thing about the Pakistan visit was meeting all my loved ones. If they weren’t there, the visit wouldn’t be half as great as it was. Meeting everyone and giving and receiving so much love was deeply fulfilling and heartwarming in an unexpected way. I consider myself very lucky that I got to experience that in my lifetime!
2. Values. There are some great values common to the Pakistani culture that aren’t found in abundance everywhere. For example, many people are excellent in hospitality even at the expense of their own comfort, to the point where you must care for them as a guest because they will never complain in front of you. Lots of sincerity and frankness.
3. Halal McDonalds!! ‘Nuff said 🥲
4. Water conservation. For a lot of houses, getting a fill of water requires electricity, which is not available 24/7 (=not awesome). So the household water supply is limited. Unlike in Canada, I would think more about not letting the tap run too much to not waste water. People also don’t waste paper towels either. To dry your hands you just let the air do the work 😅
5. Street food is heavenly 😍. Food from even a small restaurant, or from the food stands tastes great. Pakistanis know their food. Even though many South Asians live in Canada and have restaurants with South Asian cuisine, the food just does not hit the same. Pakistani food seems so effortlessly mouth-watering.
6. Craftmanship and shopping. If you want to buy cute shoes, eastern outfits, and jewelry, have enough money in your pocket, and have enough patience for walking in crowded bazaars and negotiating the prices with the shopkeepers, then shopping is a lot more fun in Pakistan. I haven’t been able to find the same kind of local craftsmanship and variety in these things in Canada.
7. Streets are full of life. A lot is happening on even a small street, especially in urban areas. From fruit-carts, to clothing carts, to rikshaws going here and there, to people selling balloons, flowers, etc. The streets are a reflection of the worse aspects of the country too, economic and social disparity can be easily observed. However, in comparison to Canadian streets, Pakistani streets seemed full of life and stories. Very busy and colourful.
8. Flowers and fruits are actually fragrant! A single rose flower in a small space can change the whole vibe. The roses smell AMAZING! The flowers we get in Canadian stores have a much fainter fragrance in comparison.
9. Boiled eggs taste way better. Soft and flavorful. Not like rubber…
10. Pakistani people are sharp. Because they have to be. Given the direct impact of political changes in people’s daily lives, many are politically aware. Many also have to become skilled at negotiating for the smallest things, like shopping and rickshaw rides. People in Pakistan have the kind of social skills that I couldn’t develop while living in Canada. Even some young kids seemed a lot more socially smart and confident.
11. Great daylight = great pictures. There are fewer daylight hours in Canadian winters so I really appreciated the daylight that was so abundant. This is because if you’re a student or a working person in Canada, you usually leave home right before sunrise, and come back after sunset. Because of the sunrise and sunset times, the days in Pakistan actually feel like days, and nights feel like nights. And for some reason, the pictures were coming out much better as well (besides the smog/fog days).
12. Neatly stacked “ganna” trucks. While travelling we saw a lot of big trucks very neatly stacked to a height with sugarcanes. During a traffic jam, a driver actually got us some sugarcane off his truck for free! The trucks look scary to drive past by but I must say, the stacking was impressive for the amount of sugarcane.
13. Impressive driving skills. No one in Pakistan really follows the traffic rules. They are merely useless suggestions. If you try to follow the traffic rules you will either get left behind or get scowled and honked at. Seeing people drive on big roads felt like watching a speed run of the Crossy Roads game.
On a big road, you must watch out for random pedestrians, and rickshaws appearing in front of you out of nowhere. You can’t zone out while driving. Everyone on the road has to be alert of what others are about to do. And sometimes you must drive through very very narrow streets where your car barely fits in. All of that ends up making for some very skilled drivers.
14. The cats actually act like cats. You don’t need to keep a pet cat in Pakistan. I mean you CAN but you don’t really need to, because you will likely find a resident cat anyways. These are the outdoor cats that are self-sufficient enough. They can eat and drink from your place, scare or kill your chickens, but then they will leave and be on their merry way. They seem to have preserved some of their wildness, which was cool to watch. Even their body language seemed a bit different and free-er compared to pet cats. Just… hadn’t seen those cats in a while you know? 🥲<3
There are so many more cool things about Pakistan that are hard to express. And they all made me remember why exactly I kept missing this place for so many years. It was wonderful to be in Pakistan again… as a visitor only ✌️😶
Great article yo
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