Went for a day trip to the capital (Islamabad) for a day trip. A relative of my dad took us along with his two boys, his nephew, another relative and his son. On our way we passed through the habitations of Blort, Rutta, Swaraka and stopped at the river Jhelum for a few pictures. The river forms the border between Azad Kasmir and Pakistan. We crossed the bridge the Pakistani government paid a Chinese contractor to build. Then onwards through Sharkathi, Valaithabad, Savsu Basha, Mora Harjaryal, Choa Khalsa, Knoa, Bank Chork, Colorsaida, Chork Pandor, Shah Barg, Sagree, Mn-Kyala, Rwath and Rawalpindi where we stopped at the white marbled shrine of a Sufi Saint to say a few prayers, take a few pictures and of course use the toilet.
Islamabad has a lot of plush neighbourhoods and a few barracks but as planned city I felt it had no character. It is situated beautifully at the base of the Murree hills. Some of the fashionable residents looked a bit weird to me. Seemed like they were trying to hard. We had lunch on the ground floor of a large canteen style restaurant. The ground floor was men only. The ladies and family floors were upstairs. It felt a bit odd seeing so many men in one room out for lunch and no women. The atmosphere was relaxed and congenial, mostly everyone seemed to be in the company of friends. I detected no tension in the air or testosterone fuelled noises or posturing. I suspect that in the society that encourages abstinence and encourages you to marry as you are able to support a family, most were probably already married. I wonder if societies with fewer single men of marriageable age make for more peaceful societies?
As it was a Sunday a lot of the shops were closed and the city was quite. West to a leisure park afterwards . It had a few rides and a climbing wall. Witnessed some from Baluchistan performing a traditional dance. There was something a bit Greek about it. As is the relationship between men in this country. Young male friends will hold hands in public. Something that in Europe would get you called names or ‘labelled’.
Went to the Raja bazaar in Rawalpindi afterwards. Very packed, everyone seems to be selling something. Stopped at McDonalds on the way back for the kids and a simple restaurant for dinner after that. Got back around midnight. Slept like a log.