Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lahore Lakwatsa

I had a very funny experience at the Lahore airport. When we went out a group of reporters ran after our group. Our guide quickly blocked their way and told us to board the car immediately. We then rushed out of the airport premises to do some shopping. Later in the day our guide told us that the reports though I was a famous pop singer! LOL! 

We went to a complex that had boutiques selling clothes. It was really hard to choose a dress and Badar's wife had to decide for me. I only brought sneakers with me so I had to buy a pair of sandals to match my new dress. I was amazed at the locally made selections. They could rival those made in Marikina! Again Badar's wife had to choose my sandals for me. 

We checked in at a lovely hotel and antique Rolls Royce was on display at the lobby. It was owned by the highest ranking government official back in the 1920s. My guy friends checked out every nook and cranny of the car. 

The next day we spent some time shopping and I couldn't help but admire the garments and cloth. It's amazing how much handiwork goes into each cloth and dress, very much unlike what we use back home. 
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Karachi Experience

I started writing this post back in September after my adventurous visit to Pakistan. Our first stop was Karachi. It was a short 2 night stay and we spent most of our time in the hotel for our events. I loved the fact that Karachi had a lot of big, tall trees and life seemed pretty relaxed even though we were told that the situation was a bit volatile.

We landed in Jinnah International Airport. It was there that I realized there isn't that much info about life in Pakistan from media. All we see are bad stuff, much like how Mindanao (in the Philippines) was depicted. My friend Badar said that it wasn't really the case and that life is normal and that Pakistan has a lot of beautiful places.

I had no idea what to expect (that's the problem when media paints an incomplete unfair picture about certain parts of the world), but I was surprised to see a McDonald's right outside the airport. There were a lot of other international brands active in the market.

The modes of transportation was quite interesting. Saw a lot of really old cars, huge tricycles and colorful buses that would give Philippines jeepneys a run for their money. A lot of locals also used motorcycles. Also saw donkeys on the road (they look like Eeyore!), but I pretty much fell in love with the buses but it was quite hard to get a decent photo since I was always just inside the car and the bodyguard kept hiding my view with a sunvisor.

In the evening Badar brought us to Port Grand. The place looked very posh and I felt like I was transported to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. My outdoor photos didn't turn out so good (as usual arggghhh). It was a bit hard to find a restaurant because we wanted to try so many different things, but we ended up at Ghaffar Kabab House to sample some local delicacies. One of the dishes Badar ordered was brain and I was the only one who was brave enough to try it. I tried it because Badar said it's supposed to make one more intelligent and only the elite would have it often. It's an acquired taste though, but I'm glad I tried it.

Aside from sampling local dishes we discovered this awesome chocolate cafe where I ended up eating so much. Butlers Chocolate Cafe also had a branch at the airport and we ended up buying loads of chocolate to much on for the rest of our trip. 

I hope to visit Karachi once more someday and maybe see the rest of this hidden paradise. 
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lahore: Cooco's Den and Cafe

A few months back I had the chance to visit Pakistan for the very first time. We took a long plane ride from Singapore to Bangkok to Karachi. A lot of people are probably anxious about going to Pakistan, but I wasn't since my good friend, Badar, has been telling me about his lovely country for six years now. I didn't get to see much of Karachi since we spent most of our time cooped up in the hotel for events.

After Karachi we headed to Lahore on a short plane ride. We arrived just as the sun was setting. Seeing the sun made me feel homesick. Before heading to the hotel we visited Badar's home to say hello to his family and we did some shoe shopping (they have lots of awesome shoes!). In the evening we visited the Badshahi Mosque and then had dinner at Cooco's Den and Cafe.

It was quite a trek going up to the restaurant and everyone had to take rest stops because of me (haha). It was pretty dark at the rooftop though and my photos didn't turn out good (except for some long shot photos of the mosque). I had a grand time taking photos of the art collection on the first floor. It was really interesting to see that they had some stonecraft items displayed as well. They said they were also made in Pakistan. 

Cooco's Den and Cafe's history is very interesting. According to the menu it's location used to be the red light district and the restaurant used to be a place only for adults (for adult fun). Badar mentioned that the food there was delicious so since he knew my allergies I left the task of ordering to him. He got quite a lot of different dishes and I tasted most of it even though it was spicy. Growing up in Manila I never really had the chance to try similar dishes although when I met Badar he introduced me to Middle Eastern/Persian food and I surprisingly like it. My tolerance for spicy food though is still pretty low, but I discovered that yogurt helps increase tolerance!

I hope I'd be able to visit Lahore again someday and try more yummy Pakistani dishes :) 
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Singapore's Gardens by the Bay

When Jay visited a few months ago we checked out Gardens by the Bay to see if it would be a place my Mom would like to visit. We just hopped on the shuttle to see the whole property since I wanted to conserve energy because we were planning to go to IKEA after (haha). The park was still pretty new during that time and the conservatory was closed that day so the experience was like walking around my Mom's garden. We'll likely go back when my Mom comes for a visit.

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