Tony in Pakistan

Hi everyone, hope this finds you people well. I’m fine, having a blast in lovely Pakistan! Been here about 11 days now and it’s going great. Meeting wonderful people, staying with kind local hosts, eating interesting food, some slightly spicy, some very spicy! Also visiting some amazing places with my wonderful local hosts, Shahid Malik in Karachi and Zuhaib Lashari in Hyderabad. Zuhaib even took me to his family home in a small town/village 3 hours drive from Hyderabad and we visited and drove in the Thar Desert! We drove up to a viewpoint with a stone tower and I felt the nice breeze as we took pictures. The highlight of my desert trip was visiting Naukot Fort and touching its ruggid old stone brick walls. They had several cannons to touch and Zuhaib and I walked to all 4 corners of the upper ramparts. I was very impressed with the 19th century construction. We also stopped in at a Buddhist temple that had some nice carvings and decoration. I’ve already visited several important shrines in both Karachi and Hyderabad, though the best one was in Sehway, north of Hyderabad. I went there with a French Couchsurfer named Thomas. I met him at a Couchsurfing gathering in Hyderabad on a previous night. Thomas and I went on an interesting adventure and attempted to find Radi Fort, which we did , eventually, though it took a 30 kilometre long ride in a rickshaw both ways! Our final destination of the trip was the small city of Sehwan with its Sufi Shrine to Shahbaz Qaldar, an 8th century poet and spiritual guide. The shrine is huge and many people and families were in attendance, kids ran everywhere. There was a pleasant atmosphere, not as busy as I’d imagined, unlike at the shrines in Karachi! Speaking of Karachi; where I spent my first 4 days in Pakistan, it is a mega city, it is huge with noisy traffic rushing everywhere, day and night. My host lived in the north of the city, which meant his neighbour hood was reasonably quiet, but from his house to his office, took at least an hour each morning. Returning often took us over 2 ours in an evening! It reminded me a little of Dar Es Salam in Tanzania! Also, the smell, like rotten eggs at times, mainly due to the heat and poor drains :). I’m slowly being introduced to the culture! I’ve eaten Bryani, chicken and rice cooked together and roti of course, a thin dry flat bread, resembling Chapati. I’ve also tried Lasi, a sour drink made from yogot! I found it disgusting, but locals like it. Also eaten chicken rolls, which I kind of like, though I prefer the non-spicy ones. Desserts tend to be very sweet, just like Pakistan tea, which coming from England, I love! Very sweet is their tea! I also had something called Cholay (chickpea) dish. I had this for breakfast one morning! Not sure if it’s normally eaten for breakfast, but it tasted good. They also have the interesting eating method that consists of ripping off small peaces of roti bread and using it to scoop up food such as Cholay or Rice or small peaces of chicken and eat food this way. I find it a little messy, but a good challenge :). Best go as it’s very late in Hyderabad! About 2 am. Another update soon and maybe some videos! Stay safe everyone. Tony :).