Kyle and I made it to Pakistan and finally have internet access at our house! Hooray! Sound the trumpets!
First, the journey here. Due to the wonderful, darling, stupid cats, we could not fly the most direct route. So we flew from Washington DC to Frankfurt, then from Frankfurt to Istanbul, and finally from Istanbul to Islamabad. It wasn’t too bad, over all, but we had a one hour connection in Frankfurt which was a BAD idea. The airport in Frankfurt is GIGANTIC and it took us forever to get to our gate. We made it in time, but the gate was hot, stuffy and uncomfortable. Also the plane from Frankfurt to Istanbul felt REALLY small after the big, DC to Germany plane. AND one of the kittens (grr) decided to poop. Kyle took care of that. Thank you, Kyle.
There is a by-the-hour hotel in the Istanbul airport, so we managed to get some rest during our six hour layover there. The flight from Istanbul to Islamabad was quite nice and uneventful. When we got here, it was early in the morning, raining, dark and HOT. Though not as hot as it could have been thanks to the rain.
Anyways, the rest of our first day is kind of a blur, so on to some overall first impressions….I apologize that I don’t have any pictures yet.
Islamabad is beautiful! It’s a very green city with nice streets, lots of gardens and plants that are very well maintained. The air is clean – no air purifier needed. In some places, I feel like I could be driving down the road in South Florida. There are also a ton of exotic looking birds (they say you should take up bird watching when you join the Foreign Service) which the kitties really enjoy. There are also some “hills” – mountains to a southerner – to the north which are very beautiful, and remind me a lot of Kathmandu. But I know there is no chance of seeing the Himalayas behind them, even on a clear day, and that is sad. There are of course some Himalayan mountains in Pakistan, but they can’t be seen from here.
It’s already obvious to me that Pakistan has the advantage of a seaport (Karachi) we have waaaay more food available in our commissary and cafeteria than we did in landlocked Nepal. I am excited to get out to the local markets and stores, but we haven’t really had time for that yet. Expect more updates on local shopping and dining to follow!
We are in a temporary house for the moment, our real house is not quite ready. But this house is very nice and very big – I have a primary and a secondary kitchen. The only downside is the many lizards that are sharing the house with us. Most are tiny, but a couple are too large for my comfort. The cats love them though, and they’ve already killed a couple. I don’t think they mean too, they just want to play. Kyle doesn’t like it, but I’m considering putting a bounty out on the ugly brown lizard in the den.
Kyle and I are still learning the ins and outs of the diplomatic life here. The community is much larger than we were used too, so it’s been a little overwhelming at times, but I think we are finally making friends and figuring out how it all works.
I know this isn’t much of an entry, but now that we have internet I wanted to let everyone know about our first few weeks in country. More to come!
PS – My new “headline” photo is a picture of the the hills that you can see north of the city – I think my Kathmandu friends will agree that the landscape is very similar.