Travel Journal Overview:I found Quetta a great place to find out how Pakistan was. It’s not the most exciting city in the world, but it does have nice people, and good food.
I forced myself to sleep until 10am & woke up feeling good. I met the hotel manager over breakfast and we talked for a while over general things. Then, just out of nowhere he mentioned that last night a Baluchi Political opponent had been assassinated in Afghanistan and that a large portion of Quetta near the university had been covered in riots. Apparently the lightning I saw last night was actually distant explosions and gunfire. The noise on the street were rioters heading out to battle. Still, he shrugged it all off as an everyday type occurrence.
I headed out and saw that the streets were a bit quieter than they had been the day before, and there were more army types around making it a little tense. But life looked to be continuing on as per normal. I went back to Usmania for a Chicken Korma that was not a touch on the Mutton yesterday and failed in trying to translate what deodorant was while looking for it at a few stores. I did manage to get a few provisions for the train trip though.
At the hotel I realized I had not taken any photos of Quetta. This perturbed me a little due to the tense atmosphere on the streets. I headed back out with my camera, unsure of what to expect in this new country after a riot in military rule.
I stopped off at a fruit stall on the way and ordered a Pomegranate juice. It was here the two young owners saw my camera and asked for a photo. Sometime you don’t even have to try. As I was taking their smiling faces, I got a tap on the shoulder. I thought straight away it was the army. Instead it was a trio of men. The oldest with bright red henna hair, they were all smiling and pointing at the camera. I took there photographs and was soon surrounded by locals all asking for the same. The two guys at the fruit stall thought all this was very amusing, and also good for their business as people ordered from them while waiting for there photograph to be taken.
Even drivers and conductors of passing by buses began to wave out the doors and windows of their vehicles, prompting passengers to do the same. The hooting began, and soon rickshaw drivers were pulling up as well. The frenzy soon died down much to my relief of taking photographs of monotonous grinning faces, but still it was good.
I headed off in search of deodorant again, this time armed with an empty container. I was presented with Dover shampoos, talc and all manner of dried up deodorant sticks from yesteryear. Finally I found one small store owner who after showing me several glow in the dark ladies deodorants that no longer contained liquid finally appeared with a Johnson & Johnson deodorant stick that worked. Unfortunately he insisted on rubbing it on his hairy arm to prove this. Fortunately no hairs stuck to the deodorant.
That night I headed to bed. Turning the heater on in the hope of drying my clothes before the train trip in the morning. It didn’t happen!
Some related links from this website that you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Pakistan)
Stories: The Pakistani Truck Painters
Resources: How to Guide – Iran to Pakistan overland