Bloody Hell !! We're Not In Kansas Anymore Toto..

Trip Start May 02, 2006
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Trip End Mar 02, 2007


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Flag of Pakistan  ,
Monday, September 25, 2006

Hello from Peshawar, Pakistan..

I should start this travel pod with thanks to Allah for seeing us safely into Pakistan. You see we had an emergency landing after taking off from Bahrain on our way to Peshawar. Apparently our cabin had failed to pressurise and we dropped a few thousand feet in a matter of seconds. It was the scariest moment of the trip thus far. We then had to fly around for an hour burning off fuel in case we exploded when we hit the tarmac. Well done Gulf Air, for all manner of reasons, you suck butt!

So we made it to Peshawar after our somewhat harrowing journey and I almost kissed the ground Ala Il Papa. We landed at the international airport which is actually the local air force base. I was almost beaten for taking the photo you see online but I was too quick for my assailant and made off into the crowd.

On entering the airport proper you are besieged by porters trying to carry your meagre possessions (in our case anyway). Once you fight these guys off you then have to face the taxi cab melee. And a true melee it was, we finally bargained down a cabbie to a suitable price when a fight broke out over who would take us at the said price. This turned into an all in brawl with about 30 cabbies laying into one another, now that's what I call spirited free market competition. I was loving it and tried to get in a couple of sneaky shots myself but Kat wouldn't let me.

Anyway, how does one describe Peshawar. Well imagine a dusty city jam packed with cars, trucks, buses, auto-rickshaws, donkey and carts and MEN. Men Men Men Men, in fact when it last rained in Peshawar it rained Men. There aren't any women anywhere in the whole town. I actually didn't think it was possible to be in a major city in any part of the world and not see another woman apart from Kat but it is true, in Peshawar there are no women to be seen. Anywhere!

That aside, Peshawar is such a cool place to visit. It has a wild west atmosphere with black markets everywhere and men walking about with guns. No one obeys any rules it seems and the local traffic police resort to beating everyone with massive sticks when they disobey the traffic signals etc. I loved it, it was like living in an alternative reality where street justice reigns supreme. Everywhere you looked there was a barrage on your senses. The traffic was so bad you couldn't walk on the street for fear of losing your life every 2 minutes let alone the pollution issues. THrow in the insane cops beating everyone and you have a city on the brink of a serious meltdown.

You may or may not have noticed that whenever there seems to be an anti western demonstration (e.g. cartoonists, pope or evil infidel dog George Bush) the major networks usually concentrate on a couple of Pakistan cities (namely Quetta and Peshawar). It seems that there is so little to do in these cities for the men that it only takes a couple of people to walk around gathering support and a major demonstration erupts. Throw in a flag and an effigy to burn and you've got a fun day out for a bunch of bored men with no women to look at or talk to. This in turn gives the police something to do as they have more people to bash the bejesus out of with their big sticks. A self perpetuating circle if ever I saw one.

All of the above may sound bad but it's actually good and what makes Peshawar what it is. We certainly wouldn't want to visit it again and to have seen it change in anyway. Behind the madness are very friendly locals (Men), a wonderful bazaar and some relatively interesting sites to visit. But in reality, the only reason to visit Peshawar is for the daily life in Peshawar itself. We absolutely loved the place, truly insane from go to woe.

I hope that gives you a sense of what it was like. If you're thinking of visiting don't let the above put you off, it's a great place and we didn't see anything like it again afterwards. We were considering going back again for a second round, if anything just to see that traffic cop beat up a few more traffic violators.

Next pod, Chitral - Pakistan.

Love,

Nath and Kat.
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