Day 2 of 30

This diary post is a part of a 30 day trip that I am taking this month which it also happens to be my first ever International trip. So for the next 30 years I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 2, 18-7-2012 – Atlanta International Airport, in plane, Local Time: 0800, Pakistan Time:1703

There is no denying that there is a huge difference. The world is much bigger than can ever be conceived while you sit in your room in Pakistan or whether you watch many a documentaries with your father on National Geographic. The experience of it is completely different. The technological differences started on Dubai Airport itself.

The technology has changed so much that me and an Indian lady didn’t dare step into the toilet for a good two minutes of deliberation, in which we had to decide whether the water is supposed to stand like that in the WC or not.  It was only after I experimented with flushing once that I discover that this is a new thing. Oh, and when you get up the smart toilet automatically flushes for you. You don’t even need to push a button.

The second difference was ofcourse the scale of the places itself. If I thought that Dubai Airport was big, then I was truly right in saying that I am only now starting to see the world. The Atlanta Airport has Gates from A to E, with a separate T terminal for domestic flights and a separate terminal completely for arrival flights. There are trains that led you from one terminal to the other, because walking here is a task that would require you to come to the airport at least 7 hours before.

The third difference is the value for time. People here value time of others and their own. There are no long waiting lines that I saw which are typical of a Pakistani Airport. Instead I felt (and therefore there is a severe probability that I will be wrong) that most of the people came only a hour or so before their flights.

The fourth difference, people really don’t care what you are doing and wearing. They just don’t have the time. They keep to their own work and do what they have to, and let you do what you have to.

However, there are certain points on which I meant to write down my comments and this has nothing to do with the rambling that I have already produced. A paindu quite literally on the flight to Dubai sat next to me. Thankfully he had the seat wrong and I was saved from his company. The reason why I say this, and again, this should not be taken in the wrong way, is because as soon as drinks and food was served on the Airline, he asked for beer. I can’t even imagine him asking or letting anyone have a beer in his own house, for surely Astagfurullah, it is a grace sin to even have a sip of it. Not only was it consumed however, it was even discussed in great length with another local who seemed to have spent considerable time in Dubai.

The similarities – people everywhere in the world as soon as the plane comes to a stop,

And of course a commentary from my side will not be complete without a detail account of the food I had.  The trip started off with Emirates airline, and the food on it was a chicken Salad resting on some greens, then the main course of rice and Chicken, then dessert which was some custard with a fresh strawberry in the middle, bottled water. The Muslim Meal that we got for diner in Delta Airlines from Dubai consisted off, Rice mixed with Ladyfinger, chicken and almonds – in other words, the weirdest combo ever. IT was presented with a fruit salad and a bun with butter and some weird fruit dessert again. Needless to say, I only had the rice. In the non-Muslim category, there was a choice of either Chicken or pasta. It looked really good and oh for dessert they had small chocolate pies.

In pre-breakfast we were served a cold sandwich of egg and cucumber (Thank god there is only halal Eggs to deal with) and banana and a kit Kat. Guess what I had. And then for breakfast, the Muslim meal composed of Fruit salad, weird omelettes with half bread and juice and a bun again. The non-Muslim category had potato and spinach with cheese omelette. I am seriously thinking of reconsidering the food choices I have been made to deal with.

At the moment, I am on my flight over to Washington, and the first sight of Atlanta, had left me breathless enough to conclude that yes, the world has progressed too much and my choice for living in Stone Age needs to be reconsidered.

I plan to start traveling and sightseeing as soon as I reach; the idea of whether to take a shower first or not is still a tossup.

 

Day 1 of 30

This diary post is a part of a 30 day trip that I am taking this month which it also happens to be my first ever International trip. So for the next 30 years I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 1, 17-7-2012 – Dubai International Airport, Local Time: 17:22

Today is the day when I first stepped out of my small world into the big world which, I think I should admit finally, has been a bit of scary for me. Despite being adventurous, and everything else, I have never wanted to get out of this country. I really truly have been quite content with the idea that I want to stay in my country. This however is a decision that I didn’t take because of any fear that I may have. Instead, it is a difficult choice that I have made quite knowingly. Therefore it is not a question of whether I like living in Pakistan or not; it is simply something that I have decided for myself, and am much ready to face the wrath of my future kids.

I got my first glimpse of the outside world and of the bigger world when I looked out of the plane window and saw what could only have been the Sahara Desert. A few minutes later, I was staring at modern day highways with wide roads, disciplined traffic, or in other words, my biggest fear.

When I was embarking on this trip, one of my biggest fears continued to be what I might get to see and how it might change me. From the most basic differences which may include wider roads, disciplined traffic, nobody going wrong way, to the more bigger changes of society where everybody has so much more to deal with that they have little time to notice others, where you can get the best education, opportunity, libraries, combined with the freedom of having so many choices at your disposal.  But the biggest change that I was afraid might occur in me is simply about how much simple can life be outside of Pakistan. It’s not just the daily cries that I or one would be rid of, varying from lack of Electricity, water, traffic, hypocrisy. It is something beyond this. It is that once when you are removed from worrying about all this, the potential that I may realize exists to do more in life. More research, more travelling, more work, an easier life which can be truly enjoyed by going to a library, or a park, or movie, party, etc. How different can life be when you are left without all these silly worries.

Today is the first day of that. Today is the first day when although I have not stepped out on foreign soil, literally, and am only in between transit from Karachi to Atlanta before reaching my final destination of Washington DC, I find myself at a world, which is not only cosmopolitan in the true sense of the word, but is also a city so different from what I perceived it to be.

It is strange no doubt to be proven so wrong on only my very first interaction with the outside world and only goes on to show that there is so much more for me to learn and see. Already I am starting to think that Dubai is not what I always thought it to be. It is not an artificial city trying to make itself blend with the Western World. Instead it is a place that embraces technology, mixed cultures and people, like any growing state does and has done in history. It is a state that seems to be not at all ashamed about the fact that it has embraced the culture of technology.

 

 

The hybridity that is so talked about in books and novels, which I had until now only read and heard about, is out on display in front of me and I am actually enjoying it. Are my worst fears about to come true? Is this the inevitable sign of the fact that I may actually like the outside world? Is this the beginning of the change which I have always dreaded so much? I don’t know anything at this moment.

Suddenly, for no reason the lines of my father are echoing in my mind that the high culture of any place always has the quality to absorb cultures of lower worth. Then does that mean that the change I dread so much is inevitable? And if it is, is it really any wiser of me to deny it and fight it?