Post-visit Pakistan trivia

  • In Pakistan, the hipster beard was so in. I still can’t get over that. The sunnah beard on the one hand, and the hipster beard on the other. It would seem confusing, but it’s really not.
  • Now that I’ve returned to the US, my hair has returned to its usual size, and I no longer look like a thatched cottage. Is it the humidity? Because Lahore is pretty dry right now.
  • petfoodI felt most surreal when walking down the long and varied foreign petfood aisle in the Dubai-like new Al-Fatah Store, and seeing an apparently middle class woman pick out tins of Fancy Feast. Am I wrong, or would picking out some botis from her handi be cheaper and better for kitty? IDK.
  • This isn’t something to brag about, but listen: you can have a fun life there. You can consume anything you want in Pakistan. It’s mostly available. The food is fantastic. The clothes are fabulous. The social lives are active. The work lives (for the upper-middle classes) allow for leisure and family. There is inequality but it matches inequality worldwide.
  • art1.jpgI like the new street art. It’s sort of kitschy and self-conscious.

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The motifs in Pakistani women’s fashion are astoundingly varied, and quite frequently avant-garde. I had to hunt, often, for a traditional floral pattern, amidst large numbers of bird- and birdcage-centric embroidery. Birds I get, but birdcages? Also honeybees – large ones. And people. That women’s kameez in a clothing store (above) really made my day. Those are military helicopters, with soldiers climbing out of them, with the Pakistani flag waving overhead. And yes, when I walked away, I saw someone examine it, pick it out, and take it to the fitting room. Wish I had the spare cash to pick up a kameez for anthropological purposes alone. 🙂 It was hard work, though, finding a kameez that fit my size. Apparently the available sizes in ready-to-wear clothing are the smaller ones, and larger (like US size 14 and above) women tend to get their clothes tailored.

On the Knight Bus in Lahore

Every time I get on the road in Lahore, I feel like I’m on the Knight Bus. And so is everyone else.

My nephew (my driver) is cool as a cucumber while cars hurtle around like (it seems to me)giphy.gifbumper cars (just almost but never quite there). We found ourselves in a snarl of cars going in every direction in a tight space yesterday and I thought, wow, I would absolutely lose it if I was driving, GET OUT OF MY WAY YOU STUPID DRIVER, but it took just a couple of minutes to get out of the seemingly hopeless configuration. People seem to communicate like with their minds (“I’m just going weave my way into this non-
existent lane between two busy lanes” “Sure, yar, go for it, but I’m gonna go a nanosecond ahead of you” “Hello small children I’m going to blow past you, don’t diverge from your path even a millimeter” “Lalalala yeah sure, whatever”). The degree of skill and awareness it takes to do this, day in and day out, in extremely busy traffic, blows my mind.