LAHORE and its habitants

One Pakistani shared this : A Woman says to GOD: “I don’t want to marry. I am educated, independent, and self sufficient. I don’t need a husband. But my parents are asking me to marry. What do I do?” 

GOD replied: YOU are my finest creation and undoubtedly you will achieve great things.  But some things inevitably will not go the way you want.  Some things will go wrong. Sometimes you will fail. Then who will you blame? Will you blame yourself?

Woman: NO…

GOD:… That’s why you need a husband!

When a friend returns to Pakistan, his friends meet him with flowers. When locals return then all their family, even their neighbors go to the airport. If you help once to take someone to an airport or pick him up, then he tries to do the same for you in return. It can cause some problems at airports as sometimes is hard to manage such huge crowds of people, and who really need to, can’t pass through easily.

I was hosted by a girl and her sister. It’s so hard there to find girls to stay with. They were renting a house. It’s hard for girls and especially for the guys to find a house (in a good place) to rent. They were lucky being from Hunza that is known where there are good and responsible locals, that’s why. Going to stay in a hostel was a better choice as it was in the center, and I could be completely on my own. I stayed in a back packer’s hostel. The prices were European but the quality was far from good. Disorder, rats and dirt (as lots locals live so, so nothing surprising in it). When it rained, water went inside the rooms. The rooms are not isolated. Blankets were dirty and there were not enough for everyone if the hostel was full. I had to sleep with clothes on to keep warm (it was January). No sheets were provided, but even still, it was the best place from the offered, unless you stay in an expensive hotel. Then the quality would be higher. The 2 hostels in Lahore have no concurency so travellers still stay here. This is the best place to meet cool long term travelers, who are the biggest adventurers and have fun international parties in a hostel. Here they can provide you any information needed, but its manager Sajad won’t miss a chance to get money from you, proposing his overrated services. Be careful, what you can get for 4 Euros, he will make you pay at least 10. Even during the hot summer he tried to charge guests separately for an air conditioner. I preferred another hostel worker, Kashif. He is an extraordinarily good hearted guy, who always does his best for his guests. Any question, ask him as he will always proved you the right information. I loved our motorbike rides. He showed me around and accompanied me whenever he could. Locals are always very curious, asking the selfies with every foreigner. As they saw us together they always asked his permission. He bluffed that I am his wife so everyone left us alone to enjoy our walks. My local angel protector. He felt goooooood :).

I personally loved to arrive to Delhi gate and then take a walk till Badshani mosque visiting on a way cute, old streets, bazaar and being absorbed by local atmosphere. Masjid Wazir Khan was my favorite mosque that I visited here (all information about it you can easily find in Wikipedia).

Badshani mosque and the territory around it is the main weekend attraction for the locals. Each weekend it brings masses of visitors. It’s highly recommended to visit Food Street, which is just on the other side of the mosque. In this street you can find old, authentic buildings in which are restaurants providing wonderful views to the mosque. In this street you can also find different souvenirs, cafes, hotels….. . Walled city is the main spot to visit in Lahore. Don’t miss it, but be very careful crossing the roads! They are really bad drivers and I even saw some dead bodies on the roads (especially bikers). Your surgery could cost a real fortune so be super careful if don’t want any trouble.

If you’re not lazy (I was lazy), take a rickshaw or a car and go visit the Pakistan/Indian border ceremony, which is everyday at 16.00. The border is just 40km from Lahore.

Sufi nights – Another cool experience. Sufi night happens on every Thursday at the shrines of Sufis. But please keep it mind it’s usually very crowded with lots of hustle and bustle. It can be unsafe because of many pickpockets, mobile snatchers and beggars. So don’t visit it unless there are some local people are going with you. I came there with 2 guys so I was safe. didn’t feel neither any particular attention towards me. Some gathered but not more than me when seing a Pakistani at Lithuanian party. Guys were more busy with smoking hash and other drugs, dance, play music – that’s why they come here. All this creates a unique spirit that’s worth seeing at last once during your stay.

Kushti wrestlers in Lahore – it’s the traditional ancient art of Indian wrestling. I had the pleasure to see their training that takes place in Walled city, close to The Badshahi mosque. All the guys seemed very friendly. Though I was the only woman there, they all seemed cool. Nobody harassed me or gathered too much, like if I was a part of their small society. They voluntarily posed for videos, pictures and made me feel at home. Really liked these guys company.

The oldest cinema in Lahore is so old and neglected that even not every local knows of its existence. It is located in the poorest district of the Walled city. I went there with my polish friend, who is movie maker (he proposed me to go for a date (for fun) that I would never forget 🙂 ). People immediately surrounded us. There was no sign of any women. There were maybe 50 locals just glued to us and gathering. I felt uncomfortable with so much attention and many men gathering around. We tried to escape by going inside the cinema. Yes the cinema is still open. It shows old Indian/Pakistani movies. A ticket costs 50rupees. The mass of locals followed us. Luckily not everyone could or wanted to buy tickets to get inside with us and the cinema workers kicked them out. We were free for a while. 15 minutes of watching a movie about a mafia, who managed to kill people standing in front of them, while shooting in the sky, was enough for us to understand the movies subtlety so we went to explore more. The building seemed to be falling down. It was probably never renovated after its construction. All the seats were broken. Stray cats were passing by… and rats. The workers didn’t mind so they let us enter the ‘projector’ room. It was a cool, non touristic experience that still now brings a smile to my face just remembering it -the best, the most crazy and funny DATE ever, though not real!

Wedding party, with dancing girls. I had the chance to participate at a party the day before a wedding, in a village around 50 km away from Lahore. In the same garden they separated the women’s celebrations from the men’s. The future husband had rights to enter the women’s place. He arrived later, being met in the street and accompanied by music to the brides place. One guy was using real drugs just in front of everyone! There are lots drug dealers in the villages, but nobody does anything about it, as if it is completely normal. All the celebration was just talking, taking pictures and eating and drugs (for some). All the guests are very welcome and well fed. When it was finished they connected the 2 spaces into one, with just the men left. Then the girl dancers came! Yes, girls dancing for the future husband and his male friends. For this party the guys get the smallest banknotes possible, to have lots to throw on the dancers. For a few hours a dancer can earn a solid sum of money. It’s just not the most prestigious job, so they take their mums who kept eye on them and collect and calculate money that guys throw to the girls while they are dancing. I saw a dog, a mummy-dog, in bad condition. She was hungry, looking for food for her puppies. I tried to feed her a bit and give her some attention that she probably never had before in her life. It was an attraction for local men. They came and started to take selfies with me. They were sitting by my side hugging me, treating me as a thing, trying to put me by force in positions they wanted. What else to expect from uneducated people? I really got angry. I cared of the dog and they had no compassion for me, so what would they think about an animal…. They didn’t understand that she needs food and caring for. They even didn’t understand that they can’t manipulate me just like a thing, without even asking my permission. I told my friend to tell them that if they don’t stop, I would make a drama. He asked them to stop manipulating and touching me, but they hardly listened. I insisted to get out of there, and soon after we were in the car.

The Modern districts of Lahore are expensive. There are even modern blocks of flat. Wait, they are not just simply blocks of flats. They are super modern, functional apartments, with chic interior designs, gardens, balconies, swimming pools, security and wonderful views….. Rent for one of these is about 2000 Euros per month. Expensive private houses are of really good quality and have nice designs. It looks just like in the most expensive New York districts. Restaurants are very modern too and look like restaurants in the West. Prices, for sure, are like the West too. Sometimes it seemed that it’s cheaper to have lunch and drinks in Paris than in Lahore’s modern center. If you come in January, be sure to try local grilled fish. You can buy this for a good price at the street restaurants in the (poor) center. Super tasty!

“Educated” locals really like parties very similar to those in Europe,  though these Pakistanis really do smoke a lot without even going to a balcony. You just get back from one party and straight away you get an invitation to another. I was invited to an activists 60th birthday party. There were about 80 people, many different business people, designers, doctors and many more ..  I’ve never seen such huge birthday parties in my life. People came and went, they were changing nonstop. I don’t remember anybody’s name. They were all so exotic and my brain didn’t work well enough to take in all that new information, but I survived almost until the end.  It was hard to leave as they didn’t want to let me go. They wanted to introduce me to Shaan actor. I always have crazy ideas/scenarios in my head for different occasions, so it was interesting to share our visions. We were thinking to maybe make a small video together, but my life in Pakistan turned upside down so I had no chance to do any project with him.

I met lots of interesting people there, and it was so easy to meet them.  They like to share and introduce their guest to everyone they know.  I met some wonderful photographers. I met Khawar Riaz a few times, and because of him I had the chance to take a part in the fashion presentation “Blink it on”, and I got to walk on a runway. From that followed lots of other new acquaintances and opportunities,  like posing for some designers and and invitation to “5 star Asian channel”…… .  It was cool to try new, completely different activities.  This had its dark sides too (people were mainly good when expected profit but when I was in need, sadly just few reponded). This all is in my blog about collaborations with Pakistanis

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Diana Vaneta

Just another wonderful day. In my stories you won't find lots of descriptions of visited and seen beauties. Usually such information is easy to find on the internet. For me, the most important is how visiting places and meeting people made me feel. The real beauty of a country can hardly be described by words. In order to preserve privacy, all the names of persons in my stories are changed. And unfortunately my destinations are not intended for lazy, comfort-searching tourists. My priority is to explore countries which are considered ‘dangerous', complicated or out of the average lists of tourist destinations and mainly involve places, which there is little or no information about. You would ask, why? My answer is, because usually in those countries people tend to be the most incredibly welcoming, friendly, respectful, helpful. Every time I leave them, I leave a piece of me with my newfound family.

3 thoughts on “LAHORE and its habitants”

      1. Keep exploring the world and learning like this. You make it a better place by what you do. You have a way to go. I admire you a lot for what you are. Stay Blessed and crazy always!

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