KafirGirl

We read the Quran so you don’t have to.

Live blogging my way back home. Sorta.

with 18 comments

Another one from the travel log.  Or tlog as I like to call it.  I’m so fucking hip.

Know what a $5 cup of Costa coffee looks like?  Just like a $2 cup of Costa coffee back in the States.  And I would know — that’s what I just paid at the Dubai airport.  And you know what?  It was worth it.  I chugged that shit down because I was told I wouldn’t be able to take it on the plane.  Turns out the flight got delayed an hour and a half, and I burned up my taste buds for nothing.  I was so sad that I went to Starbucks and paid $4 for a cup of green tea.

Yeah, I’m just throwing money around now.  Whatevs.  I spent a grand total of $160 during my week-long stay in Pakistan.  And that includes a trip to the spa where I pampered myself with a facial, hot stone massage, wax job, manicure & pedicure.  Plus a 50% tip for the lovely young ladies who took care of me.  Anyone who has to touch feet for a living should be compensated well.  Just sayin’.

They were really nice, these girls.  They understood a little English, and they didn’t laugh too much at my pathetic attempts at making conversation in Urdu.  I have the vocabulary of a 2nd grader, which incidentally is right around the time we moved to the States.

A lot of the visit to Pakistan was built around services.  There was the guy who cooked all our meals.  The woman who came in and made our beds every day, and the tailor who cloned my favorite pair of premium Levi’s.  There was the guy who drove us all around town, even taking us the scenic route without us asking (“So you can see the ocean,” he said).

Everywhere we went, there was someone there to wait on us hand and foot.  Someone poor.  Someone who probably doesn’t make as much money in a month as I make in a day.  Sometimes they were so young that if we were back in the States, I’d wonder why they weren’t in school.  I’d wonder if I should call Child Protective Services.  I’d wonder — but not in Pakistan.

The whole thing made me really, really uncomfortable to say the least.  Especially when they call me “miss” or “madam.”  I saw poverty in Pakistan the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere else.  I see it every time I go there, and then I go back to my cushy ass life and forget all about it.

I’m not saying I’m rich.  Far from it, actually.  We do well for ourselves, but we’re practically kids.  We’re in our 20s.  We’re just starting out.  Hell, we’re not even lower middle class in the area we live in, and we’re constantly calling ourselves poor.  “We’re too poor to go on vacation” or “we’re gonna be so poor after we pay rent.”  Ugh.

I can’t even think about the word poor without the image of some 5 year old knocking on my car window, hand cupped, saying “For God’s sake, please, miss.”  I will never say that again.  …at least until I settle back into my cushy ass life and I forget again.

On a less depressing note, I went to the duty free liquor shop and scored 2 big ol’ bottles of top shelf liquor for $40.  KafirBoy is going to love the shit out of me when I show up with those.

Also, I’ve rocked the most horrendous seating arrangements ever on this trip.  From NYC to Dubai, I sat next to a woman who put her head in her husbands lap and her bare feet on mine.  No joke.  I had to tap her awake and ask her to get off me.  Nicely.  From Dubai to Karachi I sat alone, only not.  I was surrounded by beardos and one particularly creepy non-beardo who stared at me while I slept.  You know how you’re almost asleep and then you open your eyes because it feels like someone’s staring at you?  Yeah.  2 hours of that was way fun.

From Karachi to Dubai, I sat next to a very smelly woman who threw her trash on the floor and yelled in Punjabi at the Korean flight attendant to fetch her some 7 Up and a toothpick.  Then she yelled at me in Urdu to translate for her since the flight attendant was non-responsive.  She also took out a shawl that reeked of moth balls and threw it dramatically over her shoulder, slapping me in the face as she did it.  And then — yes it gets better — she picked her teeth and wiped the toothpick on the seat.  For, like, 20 minutes.  She also spit in the corner.  If you don’t believe any of this ever happened, try taking a flight from Karachi to Dubai.  I guarantee it’ll be the most horrible 2 hours of your life.

Anyway, for the last leg of my journey, I didn’t bother specifying what seat I wanted.  I ended up in the bitch seat, aka the center.  I’m hoping I’ll at least end up sammiched in between some hotties.

ETA: didn’t happen.  I was sammiched between a really nice older gentleman and a really fat guy.  The older guy and I had some good conversations until I took some sleeping pills and slept for, like, 7 hours straight.  Through crying babies and all.

I’m home now, and busy doing a whole lot of nothing with my hubby.  I slept through pretty much all of the flight home, so I didn’t make it very far into chapter 13.  I’ll have it updated soon though.  I’ve got a whole weekend ahead of me, remember?  Did I mention how nice it is to be home?  See ya’ll soon.

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Written by kafirgirl

November 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Rant

18 Responses

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  1. Good post. It’s getting like your personal thoughts are now more interesting reading than your wade through the “holy” book – not that you should stop, someone needs to read and explain it to save us having to, thankfully that someone is you.

    But I’m sure not everything in Karachi is dirt cheap:

    “It’s obvious really, the cheap things are services, the expensive things are products.

    Equally obvious then, the people who provide the services cannot afford the products.”

    from here

    RNB

    November 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm

  2. Ah cattle class travel. Isn’t it just fun?!

    I haven’t been back to Pakistan for almost 17 years. It’s an intimidating thought, though it shouldn’t be. How long were you there for?

    (This is UnIslamic by the way – I got rid of my blog because I found myself parroting your posts and you say it much better than I do)

    Scream Riot!

    November 1, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  3. Glad you’re back, hooray! Welcome home. :) Thanks for telling us about your trip– these glimpses of Pakistan have been very interesting!

    The Perky Skeptic

    November 2, 2008 at 1:07 am

  4. Hey RNB, that’s what my friend was explaining to me. Services are cheap, but actual day to day living in Pakistan is pretty expensive. My friend’s parents mentioned in passing that they pay 3000 rupees a month for a woman to come and clean their house and 30,000 rupees for their electric bill. It killed me.

    SR, I was only there for 6 days, and one of those days was spent sleeping off some serious jetlag. It wasn’t too bad. I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll be back. There’s nothing left there for me. Most of my family is here, and I hardly even know the ones who live in Pakistan.

    kafirgirl

    November 2, 2008 at 1:10 am

  5. Ah, I presume you went to see a friend? It’s strange, I never had the urge to go back, but it seems like I’m really missing out on the beautiful scenery. Maybe one day…

    Scream Riot!

    November 2, 2008 at 1:14 am

  6. Fly with Saudia next time Kafir Girl, cos u know, i mean, it’s the only airline where u can sit seperate from men, it’s good that way.
    I like the bit where u told about the non beardlies, i mean- beardlies are just sort of dumbly offensive u can say- their stareing isn’t as offensive as their bad breath. It’s often the wannabe types flying back to Pakiland convinced they’re really the next Bill Gates or something, cheap suits, cheap aftershave, cheap sun glasses and leering at everyone from the flight hostess to the sleeping girl with her parents.
    One of these weridos actually follwowed me to the fucking plane’s bathroom and kept just dead eyed stare at me as we both had to wait for the latrine to be free. Me, i just was standing there all hunched up like a gnome, pressed against the plane’s wall, there wasn’t even a window to look out of. In the end i couldn’t take it no more and stormed off the other end of the plane to the far end loo, but i was so flustered- i got the hostesses onto him.
    Fly Saudia KG, it’s total pardah, Pardah- the only way to travel.

    Jasmine

    November 2, 2008 at 2:53 am

  7. Huh, if u can get any electricty in Karachi that is, it’s supposed to be the economic hub of Pakistan but look how many blackout we are getting!
    People are thinking Pakistan is cheap and stuff, huh, ghee, gas, lawn suit, transporation now also- everything is money now. Now IMF is telling everyone has got to tighten their belts, how much more tight it’s got to be, there’s whole familys and stuff just survive on chai and roti- all u can eat if u got less than 150 rupees daily basis. This is justice and stuff? How come? This is why people is getting angry now, it’s not cos we hate America and stuff, no, it’s cos we just feel the hole country is sinking and America throwing missiles and stuff on us- also, i mean, is it helping?

    Jasmine

    November 2, 2008 at 5:22 am

  8. KG.. welcome back. No seriously we were kinda worried if Pak goes belly up when you were there. Also with the earthquake and all. And was also thinking about Jaz’s gf in nwfp.
    glad to have you back. =))

    Shashi

    November 2, 2008 at 9:07 am

  9. Shashi, ty so much, really, ure so very very sweet with that!!
    Hugs from Jaz.

    jasminefrompakistan

    November 2, 2008 at 9:13 am

  10. Yeah, Shashi, it’s great to be back. I talked politics with a lot of people while I was in Pakistan, and the one thing on everyone’s minds at the moment: the economy. Nobody said jack about the States because they’ve got their own problems. I did ask about what they thought of McCain and Obama, and I shit you not, most people laughed when I asked about McCain.

    Jaz, you’ll be happy to know that I high fived the window when I flew over the country you’re living in. Everyone was asleep so nobody witnessed my supreme nerdiness.

    kafirgirl

    November 2, 2008 at 11:07 am

  11. I know what you are saying KG. I was talking to a couple of friends from back home and they were like.. ‘dude do people even support McCain?’ when I told them that with Karl Rove he could even become the next POTUS they were shocked. well.. i pointed it out that we were the same in this regard.. reminding india voted a bit for Sonia Gandhi. fuck.
    this tuesday i will be a nervous wreck.. if McCain wins I am going back to Hyderabad.

    @Jaz.. hugs from me too. but i will be a bit worried until u come back from pak.

    Shashi

    November 2, 2008 at 12:19 pm

  12. High Five Kafir Girl and no way ever think ure a nerd and stuff, cos we think ure ace in all ways.
    i knew u wouldn’t forget me and stuff Kafir Girl.

    Shashi, i got another 5 weeks until i go, it’s immediately after eid, most important thing is i will be with me mum’s side of the family- Ahmadis who won’t marry me off without me permission. Sad, right?

    Jasmine

    November 2, 2008 at 12:48 pm

  13. Glad to hear you are safely home. Always good to come home to the boy and dog(s). :)

    Robin

    November 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  14. OK – All you atheists.
    Pack you bags! You Gotta Go! Go as an in leave this country. Scoot, Scram Beat It!

    Rahul

    November 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

  15. WTF??? what about the crimes committed in the name of religion?

    Shashi

    November 3, 2008 at 2:19 pm

  16. OK – All you atheists.
    Pack you bags! You Gotta Go! Go as an in leave this country. Scoot, Scram Beat It!

    http://i38.tinypic.com/dwz1xc.jpg

    It’s a spoof:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/atheists.asp

    Karin

    November 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

  17. watercat

    November 3, 2008 at 11:19 pm

  18. welcome back KG!
    it’s always great to be home :-)
    i’m gonna miss your tlogs though…

    Yoke

    November 6, 2008 at 5:37 am


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