Pakistan – beyond all expectations

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When I arrived at the Lahore airport, in Pakistan, and despite the sympathy of the customs police, I was questioned for about 15 minutes about the reasons for my visit to the country. They were obviously incredulous and did not seem to believe my reasons which were to visit and get to know their country. Tourism in Pakistan is uncommon and probably for that reason the guards were curious about me.

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I left the airport and asked the taxi driver if he could take me to the hostel I had booked. He confirmed he knew where that was but the truth is that we were driving around looking for it for more than one hour before we could find it. Once we found it, I was surprised that it was in a secluded street in the middle of nowhere! But, it was the cheapest accommodation I have ever had, it cost me 1 euro and 60 cents the night.

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Pakistan is undoubtedly a world apart. Away from all the diversion and technology that we are used to, I actually saw children playing in the streets, even when it was raining. I found Pakistanis very curious. Every time one saw me taking a photo, would come to ask to have a photo with me. I was surprised that they hadn’t heard of Portugal, not even of Cristiano Ronaldo! When I mentioned the name they just stared and looked puzzled. I was happy to see that Pakistanis are very friendly people and always had a genuine smile and I was greeted on the streets all the time.

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I visited the city of Lahore and was immediately under its charm. Its chaotic streets can drive one crazy, with all the traffic, the crowd, the donkeys and bicycles. The streets are like mazes and it is very easy to get lost. As I like to infiltrate myself amongst the people, I got lost. Eventually I found my way back to the hostel with the help and sympathy of some police officers. And then there is the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque which are beautiful and quiet … contrasting greatly to the rest of the busy town…

Photos: @ Rui Daniel da Silva

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