Archive for the 'Pakistan' Category

Now in Lahore and some updates

Its time for an update. I’ve been very busy lately and have hardly had any time to write. Quite a bit has been going on that I’d like to share.

First of all, we’re on the move once again. Two weeks ago I had to go to Dhaka for two days for a couple of presentations after which I came to Lahore. Maliha and Rohail were supposed to join me from Kuwait in Dubai on my connecting flight from Dhaka to Lahore. However, due to some delays in my flight, we couldn’t make it together. Nevertheless, we got to spend a weekend in Karachi with my parents and sister which is always great; and we are now in Lahore.

On my request the company has given me a really nice accommodation since I’ll be staying for around a month. Hotels just don’t work over extended periods and if you’ve got a kid. Therefore, Rohail is no longer restricted to a hotel room and has plenty of space to run around. The place also has a huge garden a minute’s walk away and its a fairly peaceful and secure area. The bathrooms here are about the size of my bedrooms in Kuwait. Either I have tiny bedrooms there or people have huge bathrooms here!

They have some great restaurants in Lahore (hey, this is the city of the Food Street) and we’ve found a place called Readings that brings in used but in excellent condition books from the US and sells them at real cheap prices. We’ve raided that store twice already and picked up a lot of books for the three of us.

On another note, I finally got the iPod Touch 2G (that’s the new one). Its one hell of a slick gadget and I’m totally enjoying the slew of applications that are up for download at the iTunes Store. There’s tons of stuff there ranging from games based on the awesome orientation-sensor (or accelerometer, as they call it) to a copy of the Holy Quran along with multiple recitations. Though what sucks is that in Kuwait we can’t access the US store and therefore we’re deprived of the complete collection. I’ve heard there’s a way around it but so far I’m content with what is available. Along with its music capabilities, you can comfortably watch video content on it as well and this really helped the time tick away while I was stranded at the Dhaka airport for 5 hours on my way to Dubai and then another 5 hours in Dubai due to a missed flight for Karachi. I got a plastic cover from Virgin Megastore temporarily and have ordered the RebelTouch cover on-line which I really like.

I also picked up a Sony H-50 digital camera from Amazon a couple of months ago after my Kodak Z612 got ruined in Cox’s Bazar. Its pretty good and has 9.1 MP with 15x optical zoom. It also has a large vary-angle screen and has an interesting Night Shot mode that sort of works. Along with all the good reviews, what sealed the deal for me was the fact that it came with a lens-hood and a remote control in the box. Here’s what the folks at DigitalCameraReview have to say about it. I also picked up a 4GB memory stick with it that should hold a sufficient amount of content.

For the time being my gadget craving is satiated.

Trip to Ayubia and Nathiagali

View in Ayubia PTDC  hotel

Last weekend, the three of us went to Ayubia and Nathiagali (scenic hill stations in Pakistan) with a good friend of mine from Islamabad, along with his wife and son. We had a great time and his son is about the same age as Rohail so the company was well matched.

While driving from Islamabad towards Ayubia, we could feel the weather get very cool as we climbed up the mountains. The drive was very scenic and we saw a lot of monkeys along the way.

After checking in at a nice hotel in Ayubia, we headed straight for the chair-lifts. It was an interesting experience, especially getting on and off the chair lifts. Not as refined as you would expect. We also went to a trekking path called Pipeline but had to give up mid-way due to rain and hail.

The next day was a brief stop-over for breakfast at Nathiagali where the view is breath-taking. We also touched Murree for some ice-cream on our way back to Islamabad. The trip was hectic (especially for the guy who was driving!) but a lot of fun.

You can see some of the pics here.

Twenty20 Cricket Final and a reckless statement

“First of all I want to say something over here. I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslim lives all over the world.”

That’s what the young Pakistani cricket team captain; Shoaib Malik had to say after he accepted the medal for the losing side. That was a reckless statement to conclude a final-worthy, nail-biting finale between the two cricketing titans – India and Pakistan.

By saying that, he unnecessarily brought religion into the game and upset not only the Muslims in India, but also the non-Muslim supporters Pakistan has. I’m quite sure it was a sub-conscious mistake on his behalf but it was extremely distasteful nonetheless. I hope he follows through soon with an explanation, if not an apology.

The World Cup Twenty20 final itself was amazing and it was good to see cricket being played in its full spirit and form by both the sides. Pakistan was successful in limiting India to 156 runs and it seemed that we were finally going to break the long-lasting curse (Pakistan has never beaten India in any World Cup match – ever). Pakistan started off reasonably well but soon started losing wickets and if it weren’t for Misbah’s commendable fight in the end; we would have lost with a lot more than only 5 runs.

It was good to see both teams performing so well even without the ‘super-stars’. Both Dhoni and Shoaib Malik displayed a lot of potential as sensible captains. They consistently made good choices during the match and showed immense faith in the younger players. This match is aptly being hailed as a victory of youth.

On a side note; I’d like to add that I believe Twenty20 is the future of cricket. Test cricket seems like a useless waste of time and even One Day Internationals seem too prolonged. Any sporting event should not last longer than 2-3 hours im my opinion. I’ve had enough of “Test cricket is the real cricket”. What’s the point if you can’t watch a match ball to ball? Anybody who manages to watch Test cricket ball to ball needs to find a job!

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and our Vitz

During my trip to Pakistan I noticed that a lot of vehicles were running on CNG. It is basically an environmentally clean alternative to petrol or diesel. Not only that; it is also very cheap and the current price of petrol in Pakistan (~KD.250/L) makes it a very viable option. It costs approximately half the price of petrol and a huge majority of cars are using it. A recent study announced Pakistan as the third largest consumer of the source behind Brazil and Argentina. A lot of cars come factory-fitted with the CNG kit and if it doesn’t, you can take it over to a shop and get it done in about 3-4 hours. Once it is done, you have a button which you can use to switch between the two sources of fuel.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Cheap
  • For most people there, petrol is barely affordable anymore.
  • Cheap

Cons

  • The cylinder takes up most of the room in the boot.
  • Has a noticeable effect on the car’s performance, especially acceleration.
  • Additional weight in the car due to the cylinder (approx. 50 kgs), that probably doesn’t help with performance either.
  • Frequent fill-ups (one fill lasts about 90 kms) and long queues at the limited but growing CNG stations.

When I was there, my dad purchased a second car for the home; a Toyota Vitz (Yaris in Kuwait) and we took it straight to the CNG place from the showroom (below is a pic of it getting CNG-ed). By the way, the Vitz has a really cool digital dashboard (pic below).

vitz-getting-cnged.jpg

vitz-dashboard.jpg

[CNG WIKI]

Many happy returns of the day – Pakistan

Pakistani flag

Today is Pakistan’s Independence Day and it has turned 60 years old. God only knows where its going but we all hope and pray that its towards more prosperity. These days there’s a lot of uncertainty and Pakistan is under immense pressure from all sides; the mullahs, ex-leaders and USA. I’m not in the mood to get into details and in any case; sitting and whining never helped anyone.

For now, all I’d like to say to Pakistan is, “Many happy returns of the day!”.

Back from Pakistan

We just got back from Karachi last Wednesday. During this period I thought I’d give my blog a rest since there was hardly anytime to meet all the friends and family back home, so blogging had to take a backseat.

Anyhow, the trip was a total blast! Had a great time and it was lots of fun in our freshly done up home there. Thankfully, Rohail didn’t get sick though he was bothered by the humidity. He had a great time running around the house in his walker and enjoyed the company of so many relatives; especially his grandparents and aunt. I think we must have run up a huge electricity bill since we kept the split units running in high frequency.

Now that we’re back it feels a bit lonely and we’re trying to get used to the life here. Car battery died; got that replaced, the cooling in our house died; got that sorted, and so things go on.

D-6 Our Home in Karachi

Our home in Karachi is almost ready. Its been almost about 4 months that my folks have been busy with the complete renovation of our Karachi house. The work was extensive and included slight structural changes and practically a 100% upgrade on everything else. That includes all electrical wiring, plumbing, sanitary fittings, windows, doors, marble flooring and then some more stuff.

The toughest part for them was to manage this work and make sure there’s a minimum exposure to being conned, since a lot of people in this business are out to make a quick buck (e.g. providing low quality materials, cheating and outright fraud). My father decided he would best address this by minimizing the scope of fraud by getting the materials himself and getting the work done and paid for in a phase by phase manner. This strategy added a lot of headache but greatly reduced the potential for heart-ache.

Finally, it is looking good and things seem to have fallen into place well, however, there are still some touch-ups and a final coat of paint that needs to be done. They plan to move in by the end of this month and Inshallah we’ll be checking it out when we go there mid-July this year. A few more pics here.


Who Am I?

A Pakistani living and working in Kuwait who enjoys movies, gadgets, photography, technology, cars and a good book. This blog is all about things that interest me and what is going on in My Life.

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