Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pakistan 2013: First Two Days

Sorry for not blogging as often these past couple of weeks. But to make up for it, here's a rather lengthy and picture heavy post - a continuation of my Pakistan posts.

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8-9 April 2013
 
As I’ve mentioned, we arrived in the late evening of our first day/night in Islamabad. We didn’t do anything but check-in to our hotel. Along the way to the hotel, we saw some campaign posters. It was campaign season too in Pakistan at that time. Their elections were held May 11, I think, while we had ours (Philippine elections) on the 13th.

Looks like Manila, right? With the campaign posters and concrete barriers along the road.
 
The next day aside from our meetings with the client, we were able to go around the city. Thanks to our very generous client. After our meetings, we were able to freshen up in our hotels and then they picked us up for dinner and some sight seeing. We first went to Pakistan Monument.


 

From Wiki: “The Pakistan Monument in Islamabad, Pakistan is a national monument representing the nation's four provinces and three territories. After a competition among many renowned architects, Arif Masood’s plan was selected for the final design. The blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan's progress as a rapidly developing country. The four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces (Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh), while the three smaller petals represent the three territories (Gilgit-Baltistan, Azak KAshmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas). The Monument has been designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country and depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement, dedicated to those who sacrificed themselves for future generations.

 





Then we went up to Margalla Hills to visit Daman-e-koh. But before going to Daman-e-koh, we stopped by the road to take a photo with the Faisal Mosque.
 

 
From wiki: “The Faisal Mosque is conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan and named after the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who supported and financed the project.

The largest mosque in South Asia, the Faisal Mosque was the largest mosue int he world from 1986 until 1993, when it was overtaken in size by the newly completed Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.

With my colleagues and client
Explore Daman-e-Koh after the jump...



From Wiki: “Daman-e-Koh is a viewing point and hill top garden north of Islamabad and located in the middle of the Margalla Hills. Its name is a conjunction of Urdu & Persian words: Daman, which means center and Koh, which means hill. Daman-e-Koh therefore meaning center of the hill.

It is about 2400ft from sea level and almost 500ft from the city of Islamabad. It is a popular destination for the residents as well as the visitors to the capital.

Daman-e-Koh is a midpoint for tourists on their way to the higher view point Pir Sohawawhich is located at the top of Margalla Hills at an elevation of about 3600ft. There is a plan to construct a chairlift from Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa.

Monkeys are a common sight during winter. Cheetahs are frequently reported to descend from higher hills of Murree during snowfall.

What I love in Islamabad is their wide open spaces. Most of the places we visited are family friendly with sprawling spaces for the kids to run around. A little warning though at the entrance of the park.  
 







Look at that view.  There were only a handful of high rise buildings in Islamabad.



There's our little friend. This little monkey almost had a go at me. I was talking with my colleagues near the railing when he suddenly jumped out of nowhere. Good thing I was able to run haha.



 
Islamabad hired architects to plan the city. The city was divided into different sectors.

 


We also chaned upon this man playing an instrument much like the sitar. I can't remember what the musical instrument is called.


Then they brought us to their “market”. I think this is in F-7. As I've said the city has different sectors (like F6 or F7) and each sector has a residential area, a market, a school, etc.
 

 Anyway, we tried finding some shops where we can find tops like the one I was wearing here but we didn’t find any (we shopped for that blouse from another day in another place hehe). But we did find this haven, or should I say heaven! I was in bookstore heaven - Saeed Book Bank. Much like the Fully Booked store at Bonifacio High Street but they sell their books at very cheap prices. Our client joked that the books sell cheap because no one reads there hehehe. I must have spent an hour going through their children's selection. They had to call me and tell me all the others where done. I bought a lot of children’s books and activity books for Miya there for only around P2,000. And I think I bought around 10 books – mostly hardbound books and if not hardbound those coloring books with sticker sheets. Miya was so happy when I showed them to her.

 



We were then brought to Saidpur Village for our dinner.

From wiki: “Saidpur is a Mughal-era village on the slopes of the Margalla Hillsand located off the Hill Road to the east of Daman-e-Koh in Islamabad. The village has the footprints of various civilizations, including Gandhara, Greek, Buddhist, Mughal, Ashoka and the colonial periods, and now serving as a popular recreational spot for both local and foreign visitors.

We ate at one of the restaurants in the village - The Polo Lounge. The restaurant was built around an old structure in the village.

 




We saw a Pakistani celebrity eating there. I can’t remember her name but our clients (all guys) were going gaga over her when we were there. She seemed really famous.
 
 
 
Sorry we just had to take a picture with the waiter. Isnt’ he a cutie hahaha!
 
 
It was really cold and windy during night time in Islamabad during our trip. My shawl was not enough to keep me warm. And because of the (power) load shedding, there were intermittent brownouts while we were there.  

After dinner we explored the village where an old temple was located, which was converted into a sort of museum.





 
 
 This was another restaurant in the village which is just across The Polo Lounge.
 

It was almost midnight when we got back to our hotel.
 

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