Pakistan

Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
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Trip End Jan 30, 2007


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Flag of Pakistan  ,
Monday, September 11, 2006

Ahh, first entry ... I feel like I should stretch my legs and be happy about the chance to think about everything I have seen. I got to Pakistan about a week ago and I have had an amazing time thus far. I have mainly been in Islamabad and Rawlapindi which are twin cities of sorts. Islamabad is a fairly new city, and quite nice as it was the first planned city in Pakistan. There are many plans for development here including the newest construction of a 7 - star (yes I said 7) hotel and apartment complex. The buildings are going to be sky scraper style ... and all windows - alot like downtown Manhattan. Well, now this is nice except that the design doesn't really take sustainable development into consideration - windows from ceiling to floor will make cooling the building near impossible especially in the summers when it is easily 100 in the sun.
Pakistan is a very colorful country. If you don't believe me take a look at their trucks. They are works of art - every single one of them - and I had a great time documenting all the different styles. You can see some pictures here. The streets are full of people going this way and that. Most all men and women wear shalwar kameez. Its an amazing sight to see especially when you come from NYC where anything goes. The food here is amazing - very tasty and lost of it if you are visitor at someones home.
Pakistanis are very friendly - and very forward when it comes to discussing politics. Nearly every person I met has no problem asking question, giving opinions, or pointing fingers. I have fielded questions and concerns to the best of my ability. The biggest misconception over here is that all Americans agree with the U.S. foreign policy. I will not even begin to discuss all the misconceptions us Americans have of Pakistan - which are for the most part COMPLETLY FALSE. I.E. - women are not repressed. They still have a struggle ahead of them (so do we) but they go to college, hold jobs, and their rights are generally protected by law. Yes, this differs from family to family - but it is not a closed society by any means.
I spent most of my time here visiting some of the schools. I visited two private schools in Rawalipindi, Roots and Eaglets. in both institutions I got a chance to chat with the teachers and the children. They asked amazing questions about NYC, the U.S., and YES politics. I had questions from one class like, "Is it true that in the U.S. you believe that Muslims crashed the planes into the WTC?", "We have learned that in your country you do not treat African Americans equally, why?" And many more, WHEW! I was a true diplomat.
More to come ... Pakistan is great ...
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