Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 150: Gun Smoke, Thunder, Pakistan Wins(!), and a Movie

Lahore holds an endless number of surprises, presented daily by the dozen. A few weeks into our trip and I still hold that within one day we do as many things here as we would have done within two+ weeks in LA.

Another busy day (Saturday) with early morning visits from family members and a trip out for errands and lunch. Lahore is known, perhaps above anything else, for its love affair with food. Restaurants upon restaurants line the streets, and you'll find the most unique eateries here. One such place is Gun Smoke, although now probably out of fashion with locals, a place to see for us out-of-towners. It is a Western themed diner, done quite thoroughly I'd say, where the waiters are dressed in complete cowboy suits and Texan-style elements like cow skulls and old riding saddles add excitement to the environment. Old Western movie posters line the walls and the diner's tagline reads like a movie rating, "R: RESTRICTED TO PEOPLE WITH REALLY GOOD TASTE, STRONG FLAVORS, RUDE WAITERS." The waiters, bless their souls, attempt the maximum of rudeness they can bear by slamming down your drinks and speaking in their versions of gruff Texan voices. One of the other unique aspects of Gun Smoke that you may enjoy is opening up peanut shells and throwing them on the floor. When the restaurant is packed, I've heard, the floors are covered in peanut shells (I obviously warn anyone with peanut allergies, or any kind of nut allergies NOT to go here).

More chai at home (at least 3 rounds of chai in a day, of course) and family activities. Out in the evening with khala to try a new hair stylist, Shahzad, where conversations of local hair artists made it clear to me that in Lahore, everyone knows everyone and everyone is everyone's business. During a stop over at a store, rain started to pour down, and back at home hail scared those waiting for us. Once the lightening and thunder began, we stayed inside the shop, not wanting to step out in the water especially after a strike of lightening made the electricity go out (generators were turned on). Thunder here, as I've mentioned before, is like bombs exploding, nothing like it is in LA (I learned from khala that it's the humidity in Lahore that makes it crack and boom like that). Eventually we left and reached home for another cup of chai and more family time.

Then, of course, Pakistan won a match against Sri Lanka in the Cricket World Cup 2011!! Thanks went to Shahid Afridi. We watched on for most of it at home and later we saw people gathered around old television screens outside in paan-wala shops and small workshops. A few of us went out for a 10:30pm showing of a new Bollywood movie, "Tanu Weds Manu" (not recommended) at this beautiful theater with stadium-style, plush seats and sparkling marble floors and a spectacular sound system that made the music reverberate through your heart. Outside as we all exited, a group of young guys drove by in a car yelling, "Pakistan Zindabad! Pakistan Zindabad!" in joy over the cricket match win. Even as I write this now I hear whoops and honks of happiness somewhere far away and the occasional firing of a gun (also in happiness, as I heard last the day the people of Egypt won their battle and PIA pilots won their pleas against corruption).

So ends another day in Pakistan =)

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