Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Metal Craft

Ok since everything seems to be falling apart right now (at least seems like it). I thought it would be a good time to post something completely irrelevant, something that doesn’t make my blood boil or give me sleepless nights.

Whenever there is a industrial area near a city like we have one in Islamabad. There’s always the matter of pollution, the traffic and all its issue and I totally agree to that. I really do, but the fact is it’s not going anywhere for quite a while. So if we have to live with it why not enjoy the good stuff, yes I did say the good stuff. You can always see the glass half full now can’t you (didn’t we learn anything from psychology class?). So this is my way of seeing the glass half full. I drive past this place for years now, the molten red Iron, the masked works men and tons of iron it’s just surreal somehow.

So let’s just sit back relax and enjoy the crises.Here a little glimpse into a factory at 3.00am.

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Input, Output…

Two of the most repetitive action that any human ever does are, well, eating/drinking and you know … excreting.

Well, if you’re into traveling between Lahore and Islamabad through the motorway and are huge fans of cleanliness in eating areas and public toilets, then Sukhekhi is the place for you to stop over on way from Lahore to Islamabad.

Their KFC have the finest zinger in Pakistan (Yes, I HAVE eaten zingers from most of the cities of Pakistan), and their Public toilets are very very neat and clean.

So yes – spread the news!

Hidden Treasures

Bamyans in Golra

Flickring through Islamabad MB group on Flickr, I ended up looking at the serene beauty of Golra’s century old Bamyans Banyans (aka bargad ~ century old is purely my own assumption).

Have you been tO Golra Railway Station ever? If no ~ wake up, pack up and get going. Its a MUST visit. The picture above seems familiar? If you closely watched vital Signs singing their tunes in early 90’s … you can recognize it :) Remember Islamabad’s 5th gift to world?

The News published a fine article almost an year back on Golra Railways station and it’s heritage museum … citing:

… All said and done, it is a gem of a museum and well worth a visit, especially if you remember the good old days Golra's Treasureswhen traveling by train was an exciting prospect — something to look forward to as you packed your bags; a hamper with food and books and magazines to read when it became too dark to look outside. A paratha and an omelet never tasted as good as when you had them cold with a nice hot cup of tea bought from the vendor on the platform. The strident voices of other vendors as they called out their wares — most of these to titillate pangs of hunger that are somehow intensified during travel — each trying to outdo the other so he could be heard and be the one to make the first sale, the thrill of travelling on a ‘choo-choo’; or ‘chook chook’, as we say in this part of the world; the clouds of hissing steam coming out of the wood and coal fired engine; the hustle bustle of passengers and porters and the “All aboard”, call of the guard as he waved his green flag, are all part of childhood memories a visit to Golra Station brings back — a nostalgic hour or two well spent!

A Chat With Ludovic

Ludovic.JPG Recently I posted about arrival of French traveler who is hitchhiking around the world. I had a chance to chat with him for a while, and it was an interesting meet up.

I reached his place on time as agreed by us on the previous day. I rang the door bell and a soft spoken voice with French accent replied, “I will be right there”. I had earlier looked at pictures of Ludovic on the web, but I was still curious about what he would look like in real life. A few moments later, the door opened and a 6′-4″ figure was standing infront of me. He had grown slight beard, probably out of respect to local customs and cultures (that was confirmed later as well). We walked through the car porch, and into a room which had a table at the center. Ludovic left the room for a while and returned with his laptop and documents. We immediately got down to business.
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A visit to the National Art Gallery

A few weeks back the National Art Gallery opened its doors to the public near the Parliment house. It has managed to attract quite a number of people.After seeing the advertisement in the newspapers and hearing about it from several people I decided to pay visit to the gallery.
It was totally different from what I expected. A you approach the entrance of the vicinity you are greeted by a sentry of seven large black statues of burqa-clad figures, haunting and dementor like. On close inspection it was found that they are made from fibreglass although from a distance they seem to be made from charcoal.
The gallery which took over more than two decades to be materialized now houses 600 works of art featuring 126 artists. Grouped in 16 exhibitions with each hall dedicated to a certain subject.

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Photogragh: Aamir Qureshi
There are several internees around the gallery who can explain to the visitors what the painting and the sculptures depict. Although most of the time I did not find them helpful. The room which was dedicated to love was perhaps the most controversial of the exhibitions( or may be the hall at the top floor) where some paintings displayed nudity. This was totally out of the blue for me and many other who would expect strong censorship.
I was totally taken by surprize when I saw a several paintings depicting homosexuallity. I wonder why the mullahs haven’t criticized yet? I was also appalled to see that the paint on the wall was already getting scraped off due to the water getting leaked from the ceiling in room of the miniatures.
Although the general effort in bringing all these pieces of art together at one place is very much appriciated and is a visual treat for the art lovers.
The Art Gallery opens at 11a.m. Theres no ticket from 11a.m to 2p.m and later when it reopens at 3pm there is some sort of ticket.
And do remember that when you go into a hall that has this sound which is quite irritating dont keep wondering what it is. The sound coming from the speakers is the sound of childeren reciting Quran mechanically in congregation. I found this later from a news paper.

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Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP

We will never learn or will we??

Who stole goods from Melody market during curfew?

Traders, especially those selling soft drinks, said they had left deep freezers in front of their shops, full of soft drinks, ice cream and bottled water, but all these items disappeared during the siege of the area. The shopkeepers also protested on Friday night and alleged that police were involved in the disappearance of goods from their shops. The shopkeepers have displayed banners in front of their shops, asking the ‘culprits’ to deposit the money for the items they had stolen.

and the recent curfew caused loss of 55M Rs in Aabpara, Melody markets.

who should blame who now? Culprits en actuale will remain missing & Unidentified.

A Day On The Panjpeer Rockies

View%20At%20Panjpeer.JPGI was surprised this Sunday to find one of the best kept secrets of Islooite outback. I have never seen such rock formations and hills made of of huge sandstone boulders stretching for miles. And I named them the “Panjpeer Rockies”
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Rapid Mass Transit System?

magnetic_train.jpgCDA is currently seeking invitation to bid (ITB) to carry out a feasibility and reference design for Rapid Mass Transit System for the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. At least they are thinking about it, credit goes to them all.

However for the record a similar study was carried out in Karachi for construction of a magno-metro for 26 KMs, and guess why it was finally decided to be dumped. Well the project was estimated to cost at US dollars 289 million. But a delay of 1 year would have costed additional US 20 million. As this is not Finland, where public sector projects are completed before time, and under budget so much so that it has become a joke, therefore, as per last reports, it was decided to call the project off.

I am not sure on the latest developments on that front though. Some one can enlighten me. I think Sheikh Sahab will fund the project from the fiber optic cable rent that he has the vision to get, when laid under the railway tracks.

Dig a hole

If you dig a hole from Islamabad going through the centre of the earth you would end up there…

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Due to no marking of Pakistani cities on the map it took me two hours to find the exact location of Islamabad.The we are here spot is exactly in front of the Parliment house. YOu can start digging from there and would most probably end up in Pacific ocean left to Chile!

While Going Offroad

hike.gifRecently I got an email from a a hiker from UK who wanted to suggest some tracks in the Margallas. I was pleasently surprized to see the expats’ interest in hiking and bush walking, sometimes even on their own. I would however recommend not to venture out solo on your own, because you might get mugged or robbed especially if you don’t look from around.

It’s always recommended to travel in a group of two at least. Happy exploring!

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