1. Queues (or lack thereof): Have you ever been on the receiving end of a swift elbow from someone clad in a burqa? It’s not pleasant, and it’s even less amusing when our oh-so-pious country(wo)men feel that by virtue of their sex, they don’t need to wait in line. Hell, why wait, period? There are very few things quite as annoying as people who shove their way to the front of the line while screeching that they are “ladeeesss”.
2. Trains barely function now: It’s a little sad, you must admit, that the train system in Pakistan under the Raj was far superior to its current incarnation.
3. Seat-stealing: To see some of the people on domestic journeys is to witness territorialist ambitions unseen since Genghis Khan overran the Great Wall of China. Seat assignments are treated as vague guidelines,and there’s no problem in demanding someone uproot themselves at the last minute, because a gentleman thinks that his female companion’s honour may be threatened by a stranger sitting next to her.
4. Accommodation extremes: It’s either cardboard boxes via the Pakistan Tourism Board’s “motels” or half a monthly salary for a five-star hotel. How about a little middle ground here? Family and friends are all well and good, but it’d be nice to pick destinations based on more than which khala you can crash with.
5. Bathrooms: The less said the better, but in short, cleaning products aren’t just for international travel. The aim of our (male) populace leaves much to be desired, both on the ground and in the air.
6. Personal space: It’s not uncommon to find a protruding gut borne by a heavily perspiring gentleman bumping you constantly while you’re in line for something. Even worse is the way in which the movement of an inch by the line necessitates a full foot-long step forward by the people behind you. Still, it’s better than in planes, where someone will insist on sprawling as widely across a seat as possible, thereby reducing available leg- and arm-rest space for their neighbours.
7. Personal space: It’s not uncommon to find a protruding gut borne by a heavily perspiring gentleman bumping you constantly while you’re in line for something. Location/Location: When you get to where you’re going, you’re still in the same country. It’s a bit of a let-down after all that movement and flurry of travel.
8. The lack of decent food at airports in Pakistan: If you think that week-old pizza looks vile, try the plasticwrapped sandwiches that constantly circling waiters try to sell you. You’ll ask for a can of soda and wind up with a full pantry, all brought “just in case” you decide that the pound cake from last year is deserving of immediate consumption (because it is your last chance to ever eat again).
9. Intrusive neighbours: Dear sir/madam. It is none of your damn business, despite your automatic assumption that I somehow care about your opinion, as to what I do, whether or not I’m married, and/or how much money I make. So stop asking.
10. No Coming-of-Age opportunities: Honestly. When was the last time anyone could really take a “road trip” in Pakistan, ill-advised life choices, poor judgment calls and all?