These things really annoyed me about Pakistan
As the final few blogs on my Aussie in Lahore experience come to a head (and I promise there are only 2 more to come), I felt I should share some of the items that really annoyed me about my time in Pakistan.
Whilst they are probably not end of the world items, they are small things that caused undue stress and hinderance to the otherwise positive experience, and I will be the first to admit that sometimes I may have been too ‘precious’ and these are in fact nothing to worry about…but here goes, in no particular order….
The Airport is a defining experience and a stressful one.
During my time in Pakistan I flew, and flew a lot…For some strange reason I had kept most of my boarding tags and when I left I counted them and stopped when I reached 200 boarding passes….thats a lot of flights in 18 months, and many of these where via the International terminal.
Every time I flew internationally I would become anxious about the airport, as it was a complete shambles, from arrival to finally clearing the last checkpoint. Once inside I could breath and grab a coffee and relax.
The airport experience goes like this…Massive line ups to get into the drop off area with army checking cars boot/ bonnet and often asking for tickets and passport and where you are going, a shit fight to get out of the car to then face supposed line ups to get in, but utter carnage with hundreds of family flocked around and blocking the entrance, which you had to fight in through with your bags, another army and security check to get inside with ticket and passport once you fight your way to the door, more drama trying to fight your way to the x-ray machine to scan your bag, then you go through a body scan and body pat down, regardless of any beep or not, the check in counter is as feral as outside, with people pushing in and paid porters barging to the front of the counter (see photos above), the line up for customs is equally as bad with about 10 counters for Pakistanis and one desk for foreigners, but this is full of Pakistanis with foreign passports…once you clear customs you immediately face another line to have your passport and stamp checked again (I can never work out this one as to why or what purpose it does apart from job creation), another bag x-ray and body scan and pat down, another passport and ticket check and your in….it is trauma…but compared to recent events in Australia with pretty lax airport security, the number of ID checks are probably ok…
The lack of respect, especially in cueing for things.
As with the above airport experience, this practice was observed anywhere where most countries would expect/ demand civilised line ups.
Banks, shops, doctors, restaurants, anywhere would see people barging in, refusing to line up and generally be rude. There may have been several instances where I would tell people what I thought, but basic respect for others is badly lacking..
Having photos taken – by strangers without permission.
Being the Goora (foreigner) in town created a bit of attention, and started from when Stacey and I visited to have a look back in Oct ’15…on the plane people where taking ‘secret’ photos where they took selfies but angled the phone to get us in, or blatantly took face on of us….
Fast forward to the family being there, and there were so many times the scene was like the old Western movie of a the packed bar and piano playing, but instead of the ‘bad man’ walking in the door, it was the white family…and the piano (restaurant) would stop, stare and start taking photos…
We had situations where we were practically mugged by people trying to take photos, and had to ‘escape’ to safety…not that it was unsafe, but it appeared like a mob and could have got out of control…the bit that pi#@#ed me off was these Pakistani guys would blatantly take, and expect to take photos of my wife and daughter, yet, what would happen if i rushed up and started taking photos of their wife and daughter? I doubt I would be in Australia writing this at the moment! Hypocrisy was what annoyed me with the situation…
On the reverse side, I have never felt more like a celebrity at work, the number of selfies with people, and store groups was massive, and this I had no issue with, as this was people I knew or worked with…it was the random stuff that annoyed me.
Being asked for a job and visa to Australia
I lost count of how many times people (who I knew, or had just met) asked me to help them get a visa to Australia, or a job or how they can get a visa. Sadly, most of the time I had to answer them with a simple “I have no idea how to get a visa”, as that is the truth, I don’t need one and don’t need to know, so I think I drove a lot of traffic to the Australian Government website, so if there is a sudden spike in Pakistan visa applications, I will take some blame Mr Turnbull!
I understand a lot of people in Pakistan wish to better themselves and get a second passport, but just because I am from Australia it doesn’t mean I have an open access network of job opportunities…but that didn’t stop random people wanting to send resumes, ask for jobs via LinkedIn or face to face..
Being asked for money
Another aspect which people were not shy about was to ask for money. This happened from the first month and continued throughout the stay, again regardless of how well they did or didn’t know me, the expectation was the foreigner was a ‘quassi’ ATM machine.
Staff, guards, drivers, employees, anyone, would give a story of how bad their life was or someone who needed an operation etc and just simply asked for money, often in the 5-10 times their monthly salary amount, without battering an eyelid. It puts you in a difficult situation, as you empathise with them, but face the ethical dilemma of what to do…and I did give extra money to my guards, driver etc, but they would still ask for more, which really pissed me off…
From dodgy planes that shudder and shake, to meals you can’t eat PIA was always a battle. When one of their ‘egg beater’ ATR planes crashed and the fleet was grounded, all was ok again after they slaughtered a goat on the tarmac (clearly), pilots where found drunk, drugs found being smuggled by crew, toilets didn’t work and the CEO was detained and not allowed to leave Pakistan over corruption concerns, so there wasn’t a lot of faith.
The other aspect of flying in Pakistan, and especially worse on PIA was people using phones..again this may have brought some anger attacks by me to them but when you are told to turn off your phone for safety reasons and a massive piece of metal attempts to fly – do it! They didn’t and would ring, talk, WhatsApp as the plane shuddered down the runway…I don’t care if the action is legit or not, if they tell you not to, don’t! The weird thing was the same person would sit next to me reciting the Koran prior to take off, but then use their phone…something wasn’t quite right about these two actions…if you’re praying for a safe journey- do the right thing as well!!
I know these are all small things in the scheme of things, but are some of the aspects that frustrated me in Pakistan.
The good news is, I have two more posts to come…one on what I saw in business, and the final word and the things I loved…all this before starting my South African blog, so if you haven’t subscribed, do so at www.canberratocapetown.com
Blatant two faced people
The negative perception of the west and others whom are ignorant of any opinion