Stories about travelling

Deported from Israel for being a Muslim who visited Pakistan

Destination: Israel Purpose: To visit Jerusalem and everything within it which ‘drives men mad.’ I had spent months preparing for my trip to the country with the primary aim of visiting Jerusalem and seeing the great historical landmarks such as the Al Aqsa mosque and Wailing Wall. I had purchased clothes appropriate for the sweltering heat of the Middle East, booked my flight well in advance and converted almost all of my remaining savings to Israeli Shekels in an almost hyperactive state of eagerness. It was in this mood that I reached Ben Gurion airport on the morning of the 24th of ...

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Disney World the Korean way: The magic of Lotte World!

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park. I want them to feel that they’re in another world.” This approach made Mr Walt Disney come up with the idea of Disney World, a place I always wanted to visit but couldn’t. Little did I know that South Korea had a surprise in store for me in the form of “Lotte World”, or as I like to call it, the Korean Disney World. Being someone who has not let go of her inner child, I was more than happy to discover Lotte World. I just ...

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South Korea: Why I prefer to live in the East rather than the West

After reading an article on life in South Korea, I decided I should add to it by writing about my own experiences here. I came to Seoul in December 2012, bang in the dead of winter. There was snow everywhere! Being a fan of K-pop, I knew about Seoul or I thought I knew a lot about it! I expected buildings, trains, well-built roads and busy people all around in one of the most overpopulated cities in the world. What I didn’t expect was the striking natural beauty; stunning mountains and the breathtaking view of the Han River is what I’m ...

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A Lahori in Perth

Moving is hard – we all know it. Packing, unpacking, settling down in a new place, adjusting to the new neighbourhood and surroundings is all exhausting and takes a significant toll. However all of this is exponentially exacerbated when you have to move to another continent. Those of you who have been reading my blogs will know that I am a ‘Lahori’. Now the true significance of this term can only be understood by a Lahori, but let’s not get side tracked here. To cut the long story short, I moved to Perth a while ago for my Master’s and it has ...

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The infamous ‘Muslim Room’ and other travel horrors

Recently, I boarded an Etihad Airways flight from Islamabad to Chicago. On a stopover at Abu Dhabi, the plane filled up with a lot of South Asian people; approximately 95% of my fellow passengers were brown. Not being a frequent flyer to the US, I was unaware of the desi population that infests Chicago. 14 hours later… We finally landed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. I was tired, worn out and my body ached – as did everyone else’s, I’m sure. After a long wait, I finally made it to the immigration officer. He asked me a few general questions: “How long will you ...

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Ditch the malls; The bazaars are where the fun is at!

I remember the first time went to a mall; it was way back in 1977. The place was called Brent Mall. Hindsight tells me it was not too big and probably inconsequential, but it looked huge and I hated it. It was a sanitised place of shopping, crowd dressed every which way to impress, straight lines, homogeneous construction, and uniformity of thought. No culture or creativity. Today, commencing from USA, expanding to Europe, Middle East and now Asia, the mall is the ‘in’ place. It’s a destination, where you can spend the day. shop, eat, snack, have coffee, watch a movie ...

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They call her Berlin

Berlin is like that friend, who as soon as you meet, shares her deepest, darkest secrets without any shame. She’s been betrayed more harshly than Jesus, has seen more blood than a haematologist and has had her fair share of wars waged on her soil. Anyone in her position would just clam up and hide their scars; not wear them on their sleeves all the time. Yet, Berlin showcases her biggest mistakes for the entire world. Just when you think that a broken person like her has probably forgotten how to really live – she takes you to a party so ...

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Journey to Quetta: The road less travelled

At 5:00am, my mother woke me up for our long awaited trip to Quetta. Although I have been to Quetta many times, this time around I woke up to a heightened level of excitement. I now owned a Nikon D7000 and could not wait to take pictures of the scenic route to Quetta. We began our adventure at 6:00am. By 7:00am, we had reached Daraban. A gust of fresh air and a soundless environment greeted us ─ no traffic signals, no pollution, no horns. It was only us, the sheer silent beauty of nature and an escort that accompanied us for 10 ...

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Discrimination is not funny

This past year has been a year of travelling. I have been to three countries in Europe, two in the Middle East and two in Asia. The hardest part about travelling? It is not getting accustomed to different kinds of foods or customs that are so alien to my own. In fact, it has nothing to do with getting to know other cultures. The hardest part about travelling is seeing how people view my own race, culture and nationality. I am sure many Pakistanis can relate to this. In fact, on all my trips this year, I travelled with Pakistani friends. ...

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My experience with ‘Call-a-Rik’

Travelling around by rickshaw is something most Pakistanis, especially ones in the cities, are used to. Travelling through a ‘Rik’, though, is an entirely different experience! When a colleague told me about the Call-a-Rik service, I immediately decided to give this new addition in the public transport of Pakistan a try. Here is my account of the experience. Reserving a Rik: I visited the website of the service and found it be very distasteful. They definitely need a better web designer, but I digress. The purpose of my visit was to gather some information about the service and to book ...

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