Islamabad (Pakistan), 28.06.2013
The day after our night race into the highly secured hotel was planned to be dedicated to relaxing. The Serena in Islamabad is a very beautiful, not too big international yet pakistani hotel. It felt very well to find some of the amenities and services we’re so used to from the west. The friendliness of the staff, the oriental decoration and tasty food made us notice the stark contrast to the Central Asian countries. We started with an extensive breakfast, reading the news, just having all that time that in the last years was never available due to early flights, conference calls in the mornings and other inventions that keep you busy from the early morning hours on. Inspecting the hotel we found it also has a spa, and went for some pampering after an easy lunch.
Having survived 2,5 months of pretty much daily driving, the majority of the time on quite bumpy roads, if any, 90 minutes of stretching and pressing (aka Thai massage) were the perfect treat for the back for him. And two hours of beauty treatments for her refreshed the senses that had become so focussed on navigating, documenting, solving practical issues and admiring the beauty of nature floating by.
Towards the end of the day we agreed to meet our Pakistani friends that we met in the Hunza valley, Aatif and Amber. We went for dinner together in a great restaurant overlooking the Islamabad city lights. In the darkness of the night some fireworks appeared as we were enjoying our dinner. While they had italian food, we chose Pakistani cuisine. During dinner we spoke about a thousand things. At some point we got an explanation of the economic situation in Pakistan, the corruption, the black economy, how people in reality are so much richer, but need to hide their resources to be able to afford all those completely normal things (electricity, security, education etc) that should be provided by the state, but that need to be arranged privately in a country where the res publica are in shambles, to put it mildly. As I listened to the accounts, the practical day to day situations, I thought that if you would change “Pakistan” with say “Italy” or “Greece”, the account would fit perfectly. Maybe with the exception of the power outages, that in Islamabad happen every other hour. Electricity is rationed, everybody who can afford it buys generators to keep going. Food for thought.
At the end of the night we were very happy to have met Aatif, Amber and their family. We also have a second car now, a Pakistani bling truck, that we will hopefully bring back home safely. Aatif, Amber: thank you very much for the wonderful evening!
No trip data for today