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Going to Pakistan with American Wife: Ongoing Updates

Meengla

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And of wife doesn't change last name , then ?
.and why they need that certificate ? It's just plain old stupid. We can be with whoever want. Not that rest of the country is all.angels
Yes.
The hotel manager guy was a big fan of 'Maulana' Khadim Rizvi! Upon knowing that, I didn't talk much about his views on serious matters; such conversations best be avoided with certain people. He did ask me on my last day there if my wife had converted to Islam. I said, no, she remains a Christian and that no one can force others to change their religion. To that he agreed: No forced conversions is allowed in Islam.

I think I had said above that, despite the initial acrimony, the ISB hotel staff was very friendly and respectful. Any wish we had were honored with smiles. They showed old fashioned Pakistani warm hospitality--something I found in a bit of short supply during our stay in Karachi's Beach Luxury and Hotel Mehran Hotels. I guess big chain hotels are like that regardless of their locations.

In all, we stayed in 5 hotels in three different cities. Traveled in rickshaws, Ubers, airplane, train, bus, and of course in my family's cars... So much was crammed in, in so few days--barely 14 days!
 

Meengla

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Doesn't feel right to post fun things when there are war clouds in the region--but life must go on.
Some more selfies pics. This time at the Mausoleum of Pakistan's Founder Jinnah.

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Meengla

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Breakfast Buffet at the '007' Restaurant of the Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi. Yes, '007' Restaurant! Named after James Bond movies! The hotel itself is a vintage hotel. A little rundown but, to me, the best place to stay in Karachi because of it's secure environment, beautiful creek view, and lush vegetation.

The breakfast items were plenty to choose from. The tall hatted chef made some great omelets with lots of smiles. The staff very professional and courteous. Saw mostly locals in the breakfast area. I guess Pakistan still mostly attracts foreign tourists of the backpacker kind who wouldn't want to pay the high prices at places like the Beach Luxury Hotel.

The hotel and the restaurant had been reviewed by Mark Wien not long ago. A good watch! For us, the hotel stay including the breakfast cost about $90/day total for us two people. It was not cheap but I understand it's high-season in Karachi--you know, up north is frigid! Besides, the Annual Lobster Festival at Beach Luxury Hotel starts in November.
These pics were taken very late Nov/early December. Karachi weather was mostly great then.
 

Meengla

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Here is an interesting account of our trip from Karachi to Lahore on Sir Syed Express. Wife wanted some Sprite bottles and went to the dining car to get them. She came back empty handed. I asked why, and she said she gave Rs. 500 to a man behind the kitchen bar (no, it's not that kind of bar!) who never gave her any drinks and so she gave up. I felt bad for her and for the country's image. I said it's not good to just give that kind of money to someone and settle for no service; sets bad precedence.

Later she went back to the dining room and must have demanded her money back. While she was there a room attendant come to our room and asked me to go there. I went there. And saw a crowd gathered there, as in the picture. Some railway officials got involved and they felt that the country's image was at stake. I said to drop the subject--we don't want any hassle or put some staff in bad light. But they insisted and said that it's a matter of national pride to not offend a foreign guest for Pakistan. So she pointed out to the guy behind the counter and said he took my money! The officers asked the guy to return the money, which he promptly did. It was a misunderstanding: The counter guy didn't know a word of English, let alone some who spoke with American Southern accent.

Then the officers asked us to sit with them in the dining car and offered tea and snacks. We had a very nice time there. They said that they can't imagine a foreigner cheating money and had it been a Pakistani they might have thought it was some trick to get the money. Haha!

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Meengla

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The video was recorded to get to at least some truth about the life of Christians in Pakistan. While it is not a perfect environment there, it doesn't seem like an all-around horrible environment either to be a religious minority inside Pakistan.

I know, you could say that one interview doesn't shed enough light but it's still an alternate perspective--and an honest one at that too. The Christian lady Sameena does say that people would like for her to convert to Islam but she proudly holds onto her own Christian faith. She is also saying that her employment is not affected by being a Christian in Pakistan.

 

Meengla

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Barfi--a sweet/dessert in Pakistan liked by both of us. In general, neither of us are very impressed with Pakistani sweets; they are okay but nothing grand experienced so far.

This pic, I think, is in Dil Pasand shop in Block A North Nazimabad. I know it's Block A at least! The staff gave us several free samples; the most delicious of that was some Mango Barfi. Yum Yum!

Needless to say, we bought a couple of boxes to take home and gifted to family. From my memory: Two 250 grams/each box was about Rs. 750 total. In terms of dollars: A pound of fresh, delicious Barfi for about $5 and served in nice boxes. Not bad.



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Zane_K

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Doesn't feel right to post fun things when there are war clouds in the region--but life must go on.
Some more selfies pics. This time at the Mausoleum of Pakistan's Founder Jinnah.

View attachment 597557 View attachment 597559 View attachment 597560
That’s really nice of you to share family pics of your trip.. by way 2 weeks never seems enough when travelling to Pakistan, I always try staying for at least a month.( I know not everyone has got the time)
 

Pakistani Fighter

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The video was recorded to get to at least some truth about the life of Christians in Pakistan. While it is not a perfect environment there, it doesn't seem like an all-around horrible environment either to be a religious minority inside Pakistan.

I know, you could say that one interview doesn't shed enough light but it's still an alternate perspective--and an honest one at that too. The Christian lady Sameena does say that people would like for her to convert to Islam but she proudly holds onto her own Christian faith. She is also saying that her employment is not affected by being a Christian in Pakistan.

Is that u at 1:36?
 

Meengla

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Is that u at 1:36?
No. He's a blogger's husband and she said he looks like India's Abhinandan. Haha!!

@Zane_K : Two weeks were way too brief, especially considering that a lot of time had to given to the family in Karachi.
But this thread should show how much we were able to accomplish during our stay in Pakistan. We came back exhausted, but with also some sense of satisfaction in having done so much in so few days. And I tell you this: Had I relied upon the locals for plans and events then not much could have been accomplished; most people had a tardy sense of time. A lot of promises and 'plans' which didn't take much time to realize that they were mostly well-meaning, but not concrete thoughts. We would have wasted most of our stay, sitting idle in Karachi.

Being away from Pakistan for so long, I had forgotten how 'time' is managed in Pakistan.

A little correction about Barfi prices. Firstly, it was indeed the Dil Pasand shop in Block A, North Nazimabad Karachi. But the Barfi prices were a lot cheaper, as shown in this image: So 1 KG of Mango Barfi was Rs. 720. I must have bought half KG of that and half KG of another kind of Barfi for a total of around Rs. 750. Old brain cells of mine!
PS. Pics are yet to be organized and are spread over in different phones...


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Meengla

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That’s really nice of you to share family pics of your trip.. by way 2 weeks never seems enough when travelling to Pakistan, I always try staying for at least a month.( I know not everyone has got the time)
I often envy people who live in Europe: You guys are globally centrally located for trips to the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and of course to so many places in Europe. Me being in America, and that too in small town Deep South, makes it very tiring and expensive to take trips. The last trip to Pakistan took us about 34 hours from door to door! And I had taken even longer travel-time trip to Pakistan before. The last trip was not some cheapest ticket where we would rot in some airport for 10+ hours in transit. But you have to allow enough time in transit--minimum of 2 hours. And coming back there were THREE transit stops! Imagine going through at least twice in security in Karachi airport, then once more in Qatar, and then once more, after you collect luggage, in Chicago...

PS. If I were to leave America for good, then I would probably go back to Pakistan, which is home, or in some European countries like Portugal where cost of living is not too bad and climate is mild.
 

Zane_K

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I often envy people who live in Europe: You guys are globally centrally located for trips to the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and of course to so many places in Europe. Me being in America, and that too in small town Deep South, makes it very tiring and expensive to take trips. The last trip to Pakistan took us about 34 hours from door to door! And I had taken even longer travel-time trip to Pakistan before. The last trip was not some cheapest ticket where we would rot in some airport for 10+ hours in transit. But you have to allow enough time in transit--minimum of 2 hours. And coming back there were THREE transit stops! Imagine going through at least twice in security in Karachi airport, then once more in Qatar, and then once more, after you collect luggage, in Chicago...

PS. If I were to leave America for good, then I would probably go back to Pakistan, which is home, or in some European countries like Portugal where cost of living is not too bad and climate is mild.
You have it rough travelling..didn’t think it was such a trek for Americans.
Portugal is a good choice. I see you carried out research..
May I give you my personal angle ...
.the past few years my experiences of Pakistan & my desire to one day retire to live on a farm in Punjab do not look likely given general climate..( looking at it more from western eyes)
Believe me when I tell you I have seen and experienced the true dark side of Pakistan and it’s truely a shame because it’s a beautiful country. Im told stay 6 months and go back 6 months .. but that doesn’t help because you are still prone to potential ‘ill effects’ ...to put it nicely .
Please do not let my negative experiences put you or anyone else off ..there’s plenty that have it good.
Honestly though..I find myself reluctantly searching for alternatives..
 
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