Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ali's Travelog: Pakistan

FlyfishMagazine's Westernmost correspondent, Ali Hassan, who has been AWOL for about a week now, finally grabbed some bandwidth and sent a few pics from his fishing trip to what is at the moment at least, one of the most dangerous places on Earth. So far he hasn't been fishing but he does know where you can get a cool bootleg copy of Avatar really cheap and is doing more than his part to revive the dances of the early 90's.

"Betullah mehsud (Taliban commander) has been killed in a drone attack. There will be a tit for tat response. However, I have not been spending much time home. The city of Peshawar is heavily fortified with police and military check posts. Some check posts have tanks and RPG personnel. I am shocked and happy to see that the city limits has been deweaponized. No one is carrying a gun however the tribal belt is a different story. Last night my cousin hosted a party in a suburb (hayat abad) which not too long ago had Taliban patrolling its streets. There was alcohol and dancing girls. My family and friends find it extremely amusing that being raised in a western environment I don’t drink however I did not reject offers to do the Macarena Dance with the girls."

The average Pakistani citizen is an extremely humble and probably one of the most hospitable individual on the planet. I did mange to squeeze in a partridge hunt in the country side and saw the great Pashtun (tribe) tradition of hospitality. We climbed a very large mountain in chase of partridge and was surprised to sea a delegation on locals awaiting our arrival with tea and sweets midway. We continued our climb, the mountains are intimidating, made of large boulders and the occasional fig tree.

The locals are of a different stock, many with blue eyes and sharp facial features illustrating their European bloodline. I was just as impressed on their ability to climb these mountain with plastic slippers. My $150 pair of Danner USA shoes could not keep up with our guide in flip flops. After a half day hunt we descended down to the village of Swaway and stopped at the local mosque for evening prayers. Next to the mosque, Village kids were playing cricket and just for fun my cousin told them that we are here to administer vaccinations for all kids under 15. There shy smiles immediately transformed into worried looks as they took backward steps resulting in every child running home and abandoning their game. Some kids were so terrified that they left their bats and balls on the field. Who says American kids don’t have anything in common with Pakistani kids.

The electricity and Internet connection is poor. Unfortunately, I need both to stay connected and not having electricity hinders my ability to do so. I cant log onto the blog due to poor Internet speed. So I cant update the blog or stay on line for long. However I have attached a few photos. The first is a vendor selling a DVD of Avatar (bootlegger). 2nd cow transport on camel back. See you folks next week

With the security issues he is facing it might be hard for Ali to wet a fly on this trip. After all he is in a place where that big bird you see flying overhead might well be watching you and capable of turning you in a watery vapor at the drop of a hat. Hopefully he will get a chance to do some fishing but if not his reports will still make for good reading. While other blogs bring you fish porn we may be the first to provide first hand pics of an cow riding a camel. I'm just saying.....

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