Monday, February 27, 2012


So I have been here 21 hours so naturally I am now an expert on the country. Some of those hours were eaten by (truth be told) a delightful experience with immigration...who'd a thunk? The remainder bit was occupied with the obligatory nap and business meeting then followed up by an unexpected guided tour of Old Town Lahore with my business associate Yanaal Khan, and here is what I have to say about it.....

Fox News is full of shit man!

This city is gorgeous and not worth the secretive fretting that I have been doing since I found out I would be coming here.
Is it clean? Well no, but most 3rd world countries cannot fill those descriptive shoes. The difference is that you can clearly see how once upon a time it was. History oozes from the freakishly small bricks that were used to create some of the most mammoth structures I have ever seen, and carved marble structures that can't be climbed without carribeners and rope. Lantern lit streets reserved for foodies and pedestrians dotted with the smile ready locals all dressed in filthy 3 piece suits and sandals. Descriptors come back to me now in such rapid succession that for once I come to the conclusion that it must only be experienced, but alas, I will do my best.
Acres of manicured lawn trampled into submission by 5 times daily prayer and pigeons as fat as Disney cartoons.
Is there poverty? Yes of course, that is why I am here. To bring the much needed affordable health care to those that can't afford it, but its not a smelly poverty. Pakistanis are remarkable clean (save for their clothes) the Muslim faith requires it.
Are they hostile? No. At no time have I felt anything but welcome by service staff and locals alike. They seem happy to see me, considering that there is no room (or point) in the government budgeting for tourism. That doesn't mean they don't want us here. There is a higher population of guns on people, so I won't be blinded by false security in testing the night life but under the watchful eye of my host, the enormous expanding sky is my limit.

From the remarkable hotel room I have to the vast palatial walls of Fort Lahore I have been stricken by this place. India taught me the meaning of the loud speaker prayers that reign over the city 5 times every 24 hours, but Pakistan has taught me to associate that ominous chanting with comfort and affinity.

As home sick as I am on this trip, I feel that I have made a connection to the city of Lahore that usually comes with meeting the staff I will be working with and that doesn't happen until tomorrow.

I thought that I would easily forget my 38th birthday as I spent it in a Bangkok airport. I had no idea that it would be one of my finest, just a day late.