I’m headed back to Pakistan in a few weeks with my dad, my sister and her family. This is probably the last time I’ll go for many years. I’ve gone through and whittled down some of the photos from my last trip in December 2004 to the very best and …
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We had reached the end of our journey, and oddly, we felt it too short. We started the long trip home in Karachi at 7pm, flew to Lahore and arrived at 10pm. We then caught a catnap with my new stepmothers adorable family and lit out for the airport at 3am for a 5am plane.
And that’s when Sarah finally got ill.
Our time in Karachi was mostly occupied by the wedding. Other attempts at being tourists were repeatedly thwarted by an incompetent driver or family commitments. However on Christmas Day (a holiday that neither Sarah nor I celebrate) we got to go to Jinnah’s tomb. Jinnah is the founder of Pakistan who negotiated its partition from India with Ghandi. On Jinnah’s birthday, if you’re in Karachi, or you’re particularly patriotic, you’ll find yourself at his enormous tomb.
We reluctantly left Peshawar with a long list of things to do when we returned some time in the future and headed for Karachi. Karachi is our final city and the location of my cousin Shan’s wedding. Weddings in Pakistan are an extremely complicated and drawn out affair.
The next morning we go downstairs for breakfast and discover that my father has a meeting of physicians scheduled for the next four days. This is a relief to me, as we can jet off and not worry about coordinating with the parents. At breakfast we learn that another doctor from Chicago has brought his three daughters and is scheduling them for an outing to the Darra gun market.
Having seen four of the major cities in Pakistan, I think Peshawar is my favorite, both because of the history of the city itself, as well as the attractions around it.
Peshawar has been the cross roads of Asia for all recorded history. Founded 2,000 years ago by the kings of the ancient Gandharan civilization, Peshawar has been visited by Marco Polo, Alexander the Great, Moghul emperors, and Queen Elizabeth. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the mujhadeen gathered and trained in Peshawar on their way to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass. The money, training, and weapons that the US gave Osama bin Laden to fight the Soviets entered Afghanistan via Peshawar and the Pass.
"How do you say please?" Sarah asked.
"You don’t say please," our hostess said.
With something less than belief in her voice, she then asked, "How do I say ‘thank you’?"
"’Thank you’ is pronounced ‘shoo-kree-ya’" she explained, "but you don’t say ‘thank you’ to a servant."
We arrived in Lahore later than expected due to visa problem at JFK, but we still managed to get some sightseeing done. We visited Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque, where we saw a tiny hair supposedly a part of Prophet Muhummud’s beard. We also visited the Shalimar Gardens, which must have been an amazing sight when fully planted and in bloom. Now you view it with some imagination.