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The plane took off from Heathrow. I looked down at the suburban houses and fizzed with anticipation. All though I had been born in England, my parents came from Pakistan, and we were going there to see our relatives and enjoy a holiday. I have many relatives in Pakistan and my mum and dad kept in close contact with them. But apart from the relatives it was the country it self: the wonderful mountains rivers flowing through and the little villages so different from where I lived in London.
The weather is mostly hot but the north of Pakistan can be cold. Sometimes there are earthquakes and there is a monsoon season, which can cause terrible accidents. Most people live in the towns.
Surrounded by India, China, Afghanistan and Iran, Pakistan is truly a blend of east, west and anything between. Some of its highlights include cultural capital Lahore, the artificial capital Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi, frontier city Pesahwar, and the Balochi capital Quetta (the closest you can get to Afghanistan without crossing the border).
Perhaps the best word to describe a journey to this land is adventure, in all the positive senses of the word. Pakistan has a bad reputation abroad, and sees few tourists. It’s a shame, for this is a fun place to travel.
We landed in Karachi and I don’t have many memories of it.
It took twelve hours to arrive at the city of Sadiqabad by train but it was very prominent due to the fact that it has got double story railway station for the stops of almost all express trains, which is unique.
I could just smell the sweets as I got off the train the fragrance was all around me. Sweets of Sadiqabad have a unique taste and fragrance which cannot be found in any other place. Sweets like Sohan Halwa, Rustam Barfi and Jaleebi are the speciality of this city.
We arrived at the door step of my dad’s brother’s home. What a welcome! There were just queues of family members just eager to meet me and my family. My dad was just exploding with happiness to great his mum again. The clothes that everyone was wearing were very traditional ‘salwar’ resembles a pyjama drawn tightly in at the waist with a string and is tailored in such a way that it tapers at the ankles. The ‘kameez’ is worn over the ‘salwar’. This is a long shapely outfit, which resembles a long shirt. The women had beautifully decorated salwar kamess but the men just had plain white ones. These clothes seemed to be much more attractive then the jeans and ugly trainers.
My uncle that I had not seen for many years could not wait to teach me how to ride a motor bike. So he took me and we head out before it got dark. The trek to the mud hut to get the motorbike was always exciting. The earth smelled fresh and new, promising warmth, and as the birds awoke, they’d repetitively practice the prologues to their songs. We’d walk past the apple trees, and I could smell the sharpness of the rotten fruit that had dropped to the ground. Occasionally, I’d slip on a peel, so I learned to be careful not to run too quickly. We’d walk past the water troughs where the tadpoles were busy wiggling their way to frog hood and pick up the pond trail on the other side of the musty-smelling mud hut. He started giving me a lesson, but the first time I started the bike, I crashed it into the icecream tri cycle. But I was alright after. Read Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it
Pakistan was and edgy and traditional experience. You are really out in the wilds in some places. The hospitality is enormous and traveling there was a huge educational experience. The buses and trucks are quite a sight in themselves. The owners take great pride in decorating them in near-psychedelic colours and ornaments
In my whole life, I have never seen so many guns in one place. Peshawar is a wild town full of Afghan refugees, smugglers and pathan warriors. I wondered what had made these people leave Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a country torn by civil war where Russians, USA and Britain have tried to control the situation. Every where I looked teenagers, were walking around with rifles. It was an incredible journey getting to Peshawar. One place that we visited that sticks in my mind is Peshawar. However we nearly fell off the edge of the mountain, getting there.
After Peshawar we went to the mountain ranges and beautiful valleys. In these valleys we met, a few original tribes living as they have done for centuries. My dad and I went to make some pure honey “freshly made”, the guy said in Urdu.
It was fascinating to go to Quetta, a mountain range near the border with China. Here the climate was mostly hot and dry. Quetta has three large craggy mountains. Quetta can rightly be called the fruit basket of Pakistan.
It was a difficult journey getting there. We traveled by road. It took us a day. It would have taken less time but the roads were narrow made up of large rocks and sand, so the van kept on getting stuck. We were on the edge of the road at one point, looking down scared the daylights out of me. We also had a couple of near misses. The ruckus from the bottom of the van was unbearable, because of the noise and excessive shaking. As we slowly climbed the mountain road to reach our lovely wooden hut, it seemed almost impossible to reach the top, but every time we reached it safely. The rocks and deep potholes shook the truck and the people in it, like a paint mixer. Every window in the truck was rolled down so we could have some leverage to hold on and not lose our grip we needed so greatly. The fresh clean mountain air entered the truck; it smelt as if we were lost. But my dad was an expert map reader, and we found our way from the endless journey.
When we were there, everything seemed so natural. There were massive rigid bulky rocks and beautiful, fresh, sparkling water. We went on top of the mountain and stayed the night in a wooden hut that was beautifully handcrafted by the natives.
At home I regularly attend the mosque on Friday it is very important for my religion and family, it was a real pleasure for me to attend in Pakistan. So eventually our holiday came to an end. What an event filled time! I felt sad fastening my seat belt in the plane as it was taking me back to England, but I knew I would be back again soon.
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