Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Aha! I knew it! My mental thermometer is accurate. Yesterday I thought it was about 41 Celcius/102 Fahrenheit, and I was right! :::does a sweaty victory lap around the computer chair:::

:::dies of heatstroke:::

Ever since moving to Pakistan I’ve been trying to come up with a realistic analogy to explain precisely how hot it is. Hot as hell? That’s about as explanatory as ‘Cold as hell.’

Hot as a convection oven? Nah, no one’s ever been inside a convection oven so they can’t relate.

Hotter than a black dog in the August sun, in Mississippi, in a toaster oven? (don’t ask)

I finally came up with a good analogy, I really did. Pakistan is as hot as a blow-dryer pointed at your face (set on medium heat, not cold shot). It really is, if you drive with the windows down the hot air takes your breath away, dries out your eyeballs and bakes your skin till it feels tight, and maybe even golden-brown. -tssssss- It’s so hot here that I use more chap stick in the two hottest months of summer than I do all winter in the US. (lest the lips dry up and fall right offa my desiccated face)

I can’t wait until monsoon season starts and the sky opens up and drops sheets of vertical rain on us. But you know, once monsoon season begins I won’t be able to wait till it ends and fall begins. And once I get sick of fall I’ll….

As a rule

Man is fool

When it’s hot

He wants it cool

When it’s cool

He wants it hot

Always wanting

What is not.

-Author unremembered (maybe Ogden Nash)

Just in case anyone’s wondering why so many comments on my tag board have gone unresponded to, it’s because my own tag board won’t let me post half the time. So, I’ll respond here instead. I wanted to reply to A’s comment about moving back to Islamabad.

I moved here about 3 years ago from the States, and though it’s been disappointing at times, I really haven’t regretted it. I kinda have a love/hate relationship with Pakistan, and with Islamabad (my current city ) and Karachi (my favorite city, United Bakery Zindabad!).

I love Pakistan because: The people (the common ones, just walking down the street) here are still basically good. If your car breaks down, ten guys will help you fix it, or if it can’t be fixed, they’ll push it to the side of the road and even call you a cab.

Chivalry (in some form or another) ain’t dead. I say this because once my cousin was sitting on a bus in Karachi when a guy sat down behind her and started poking her from behind. She changed seats and he followed her. She changed seats again and he followed again. Then she stood up and yelled at him. You know what happened then? The other guys on the bus got wind of what was happening, and they grabbed the poking pervert, threw him out of the bus and beat the holy snot out of him. Then they piled back into the bus and drove away. Though perverts exist in every country, I like to think that in Pakistan, for every pervert there are still a hundred guys willing to beat the crap out of him if you tell them what’s going on.

A similar thing happened to my sister and I on an international flight from Pakistan to the US. Some young morons kept making rude comments and purposely jostling the back of our seats, we told the nice old Pakistani uncle sitting next to us, and he stood up and screamed at them so loudly that the entire plane heard it (shame shame), and then he had the stewardess change our seats.

I also love living in Pakistan because there is still a strong sense of community here. (by here I mean anywhere but Islamabad) In lower-middle class neighborhoods where not everyone owns a car, (like where some of my family lives) a person who owns a nice car in the neighborhood gets the honor of driving everyone’s brides around. The person with the car enjoys an elevated status, like everyone’s big brother. This same car, when it’s not transporting brides, is also the neighborhood ambulance. If you get sick at 1 am, you just send a man from your house around to pick the keys up from the car owner.

Why I hate living in Pakistan though, the police are corrupt, the government is corrupt, drugs are obscenely cheap and shockingly common, the elite running this country are mainly godless heathens and you can’t buy or sell anything (property-wise) without the clerk demanding a bribe from you. My father bought a piece of land and the CDA office withheld his ownership papers for six months because he wouldn’t pay the clerk 25,000 rupees of ’Mubarak Money’ (Mubarak means congratulations, 25k is over four hundred dollars). My dad hates, hates, hates corruption and won’t bribe anyone for anything. He was calling the office every week and screaming at people to no avail. Finally one day our real estate agent showed up with the ownership papers in his hand and handed them to my father. Turns out that he got so tired of watching my father stress and fight that he paid the bribe himself. Twenty five thousand rupees is a lot of money.

See, normally, you pay a bribe when you want to do something illegal. Here, they expect you to pay a bribe just to do normal things, to get by. You go to the motor vehicle office to transfer ownership of a car and the clerk goes, “Sorry sir, I can’t seem to find your paperwork. Perhaps you can convince me to look for it?” Then you’re expected to pay him.

Hmmm. I don’t want to slander Pakistan, because I really do love it. I love the people here, but I equally hate those people who are exploiting the country and running it into the ground. It would be one thing if Pakistan was fighting a large group of criminals. But the problem is that Pakistan’s run by a large group of criminals. (100 ministers went to hajj with their families on Zakat funds last year. None of them have been punished) How can you fight something like this? You feel really hopeless sometimes. But still, I don’t regret coming here! Though if someone asked me whether I thought it was a good idea to leave the US or UK and come to a Muslim country, I’d say yes, but try the UAE instead, ok? (not Duabi though, too wild and fancy free. The other emirates are a little more sedate…)

-sigh-

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