Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pakistan Off the "Vacation Destination" List

We are slowly but surely narrowing down and eliminating choices in near-by Arab countries that might have, at one time, been vacation destinations. Not that Pakistan EVER was on the list - no way, no how...

Not too long ago, DH had to go to Islamabad for work. I was NOT happy about it and made him promise me that he wouldn't leave his hotel. To go or not wasn't an option - his job requires him to go where he is instructed to - and he does. He likes his job. He likes his co-workers and his bosses. DH has a good job - one that has allowed him to travel all over the world. I've been with him to quite a few destinations and I too, have had incredible opportunities to travel and have gone to places and seen things that I never dreamed I'd be able to experience. DH can hardly say, "Sorry. Can't go to Islamabad. My wife doesn't want me to because she doesn't think it is safe." Thankfully he was only there for a few days and returned home.

DH stayed at the Marriott. Yes. That one. The one that was targeted in the most recent bombing in Pakistan. A photo of the hotel, post-bombing, was on the front page of one of our two local English-language papers, and DH was able to point out the area where his room was located - on the second floor, overlooking the entry way. I am so incredibly thankful that DH was NOT there yesterday! DH is not nearly as outspoken about "issues" as I am - any issues - he is very, very level-headed and no matter what remains calm, cool and collected. We are complete opposites in that regard. He rarely speaks ill of others - no matter what they do - or who they are. I, on the other hand, have a very difficult time holding my tongue and not very verbally calling a spade a spade when I see one. It is just not a part of DH's nature; it is a part of mine.

This morning, when DH was having his coffee and reading the paper, he did have something to say... When I asked him if Pakistan - more specifically, Islamabad, was a "nice" country or whether it was a third-world cesspool, his only comment was, "The infrastructure is not good, if that's what you mean, but the mountains are beautiful." Beautiful as they may be, I know that it is a place that I will NEVER visit in my lifetime, that's for sure!

My heartfelt condolences and sympathies go out to the families whose loved ones have been taken from them in yet another tragic attack on innocent victims.


  1. Please keep in mind that terroist do not a nation make. There's is so much more to Pakistan that what is relayed on the news, ad nauseum. No denying that it has its problems and then some, but please don't let the media ncontrol your outlook on a country and whether you visit it or not. There're millions of people, both Pakistanis and Non-Pakistanis, living in Pakistan, day in and day out, going about their lives - working, eating out, going to coffee shops, shopping, traveling. You'll never get to see THAT protrayed in the media. Or, as your husband mentioned, the beautiful mountains, including the second highest in the world and the most breathtaking scenery you can imagine.

    Keep an open and mind and what you find may surprise you!


  2. Ash - You are completely right in many ways! Starting with what you do NOT see portrayed in the media... And, as to keeping an open mind? You, know, I think I do try to - much of the time - I mean, look at where I ended up living post 9/11. And, we've had a scare or two here - but we remain. I wasn't overly excited about a trip to Kuwait - partially because of what is portrayed in the media - and what I'd seen on the news. Then, I went, and we had a magnificent time. Turkey has its problems, and I so want to go there... I will try to keep and open mind. Thanks.

  3. Spoke to a client yesterday who was booked in for last night! Too close for comfort.

    I have to say all the Pakistanis I know are really lovely people. Maybe they're like the Irish - there's a saying in Ireland that "the reason the Irish fight among themselves is that there are just no other worthy opponents!"

  4. Rose, I agree with you that the Pakistanis I know are lovely people. It would be very unfair of me to judge them all from several pretty significant incidents - the last one, of course, being pretty major - and if there is any truth to the fact that Americans were indeed being targeted - and right now, we have no proof that they weren't... But, still, one has to wonder. I must make it a point to speak to a friend of ours from Pakistan to get his input about the most recent incident. I think he would be quite hurt and upset if he found out for sure that Americans were the targets.

  5. Sabra - well MOST Pakistanis are lovely people, just not the ones going around and blowing themselves up :/. The targets are mainly gov't and military establishments who're seen as supporting the US in the war on terror and because of the US strikes into the tribal regions of Pakistan, where their bombs have killed many a civilian, along with the militants. While 2 Americans were killed in the Marriott bombing, most of the dead were Pakistanis - as has been the case with all the incidents so far. Americans have not been the target of the militants and until these 2 Americans died in the Marriott bombing, the last American that was specifically targetted was Daniel Pearl, more than a few years back. I work with a few Americans and know some that teach at the American Schools here, and while they are leery and upset over this stuff, like all of us are, they don't feel as if they are being targeted. But please do speak to your friend - his viewpiont may be different. I do hope you visit one day and see all the good this place has to offer :)


  6. Promise to keep an open mind about it all, Ash. And will talk to Adnan one of these days to hear what he has to say about the situation...

  7. Sabra - the bombing at the Marriott had nothing to do with Americans. There is a lot going on in Pakistan, politically, right now and while those causing all the mischief are angry about govt. support of the US - the multitude of people dying in these incidents are Pakistanis....

    It is sad that a country like Pakistan has been reduced to this - all in the span of a couple of years. Greater US intervention will cause only more problems internally.

    Btw - there is a theory going around the US marines actually had something to do with the bombing at the Marriot & that ammunition was already present INSIDE the building - which is why the impact was so huge.


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