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Anybody visited Islamabad/Rawalpindi

(42 Posts)
Thewindcriesmary Sun 21-Aug-22 07:05:24

I am now widowed. Before I met my husband I went out with a man I met at work for some time (over 30 years ago, in the UK). The relationship ended on amicable terms. I thought he was a little too old for me at the time (14 years older) but differences in culture and religion were never a problem. He is Muslim and originally from Pakistan. He married and went out to work in Saudi. When he retired they settled in Islamabad where their extended family are. We have stayed in touch all these years as friends and recently his wife died. At first it was by letter but simce the internet was invented we have been in touch on a daily basis, completely platonic just talking about our daily lives. He has invited me to go out to stay for a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to going, I have travelled a lot but never been to Pakistan. Has anyone visited Islamabad and what was it like? I know Pakistan is a poor country and there are strict codes of behaviour. I suppose you would say my friend is upper middle class, they have security guards and maids. Has anyone been and what sort of differences in living should I expect? ( when I have looked at houses for sale in his district they are nice and modern but have those toilets where you squat for example.)

silverlining48 Sun 21-Aug-22 10:04:59

I havnt been north but visited south India 3 years ago. Oh those toilets! Thank goodness they were western style in the hotels we stayed in.
How about meeting somewhere midway ? With familiar toilets, smile
Wish you luck.

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 10:17:07

You could always try looking up his address on Streetview. I don't know if it will be there, but if it is then you can browse the streets in the area to get an idea of the house and its environs. It's a great way to visit an area from the comfort of your own home.

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 10:18:56

Just wondering how older people manage to squat when going to the toilet?

PollyDolly Sun 21-Aug-22 10:22:36


Just wondering how older people manage to squat when going to the toilet?

Oh yes! Just imagine the creaking of the knees, not to mention hips!

silverlining48 Sun 21-Aug-22 10:38:27

How to get trousers etc off ( and where to put them) before you even begin. ...oh I have been there, couldn’t cope; never again.

My mid way 4/5* hotel suggestion stands, (especially if his wife has only recently died, his family may not be happy ) but most of all, those toilets don’t go so well with our unexercised aged hips and knees.

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 10:44:19

I'm thinking more about balance. Surely not safe, if you fell over there is the possibility of injury and also loss of dignity.

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 10:49:55

It might be embarrassing but I would be checking you have suitable toilets wherever you are staying. It's a basic need to be able to evacuate in comfort! If you have a close relationship, which should be the case if you are going to stay for two weeks, then it's not going to be difficult to discuss.

Aveline Sun 21-Aug-22 11:15:24

When we were in Malaysia we found that in western style toilets there were often footprints on the seats! Locals obviously trying their best to cope with our sit on loos. shock

Annaram1 Sun 21-Aug-22 11:22:01

My son and daughter in law visited Pakistan a few years ago. She was instantly told off for having bare arms, and had to wear a head scarf. Didn't mention the toilets! I have used those squat ones in Vietnam. They are not that difficult.

Allsorts Sun 21-Aug-22 11:22:04

It wouldn’t be for me, I like Western comforts too much. I’m sure if you’re used to travelling to such countries you will cope brilliantly and have a good time.

SueDonim Sun 21-Aug-22 11:26:38


Just wondering how older people manage to squat when going to the toilet?

I’ve lived in an Asian country where squat toilets are common. People who use them all the time have much better strength, balance and flexibility in their bodies than Westerners do, because they’re keeping their bodies fit, plus you’d see very few overweight people.

Around their own homes, even the elderly didn’t often use chairs, they’d squat down on their hunkers, wherever they happened to be.

One advantage to a squat toilet is that the only part of your body that has any contact with anything is your feet! I was thankful for that on a three day train trip across India.

silverlining48 Sun 21-Aug-22 12:57:33

Ah, feet cleaning, maybe that’s what he hoses on the floor were used for in the ( not so) fancy squats at Mumbai airport....I couldnt work it out - and didn’t use them.
Was very relieved, in so many senses, that our hotels had european toilets.

Ladyleftfieldlover Sun 21-Aug-22 13:07:02

Many years ago when OH was in Iran on business he had amoebic dysentery. Whilst using a squat toilet in his weakened state, he managed to slip and badly wound his backsidesad on the tap … he still has the scar. I have a memory from 2018 when we went to Anghor Watt (sp) in Cambodia. I had a tummy upset and needed the loo. It was a wooden shack containing a bath full of dirty water, a small bowl and a hole in the ground. Fortunately I always carry wet wipes and tissues. Still grim though.

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 15:50:42

Ladyleftfieldlover Falling over is what worries me the most. As we are not used to them that is a real possibility in old age. The local oldies may be able to manage but what if you have balance problems due to a disability. Neuropathy is loss of sensation in the lower legs and seriously affects your balance. Even the locals couldn't cope with squatting if they had that.

Lathyrus Sun 21-Aug-22 16:28:23

I found professional class areas of Islamabad polite and welcoming of me as a westerner. However I did my research before I went on cultural expectations and was happy to conform in public. In private families had their own expectations and I was careful to try to adjust as I visited different homes. Mostly, in private people just laughed or let my faux pas go and I only realised later?

If he still has a number of close relatives they may be free with their opinions on your visit ??

As for the toilets they can be difficult for those who are not used to them. I found that most of the wealthier homes had one “western” toilet, downstairs.

Incidentally doctors advise that we should raise our feet on a stool(sorry about that?) when we sit on ours loos to achieve that squatting position.

BlueBelle Sun 21-Aug-22 16:40:06

I used the squatty toilets in my bungalow for about two years when I lived in Malaysia I didn’t find it difficult and you do get used to them Even now I never sit on a loo outside home anyway I always squat/hover

I d be much more worried about an old boyfriend being widowed and inviting you out to stay with him soon after his wife died but that’s probably my suspicious mind

MerylStreep Sun 21-Aug-22 16:46:14

You could start practicing now ?

Shelflife Sun 21-Aug-22 16:50:42

A visit to Islamabad to see an old boyfriend you haven't seen for 30 years may not be the trip of a lifetime you are expecting. I urge you to think very carefully before you pack your suitcase!! The squat toilets may be the least of your worries ..........
Please consider carefully before you go. I am not a killjoy but I think you should be very careful indeed!

BlueBelle Sun 21-Aug-22 17:00:24

I was trying to say the same shelflife that’s totally my thoughts wouldn’t worry about the loos so much as the intentions

MissChateline Sun 21-Aug-22 17:04:34

Shelflife, I’ve been debating answering this thread all day as I didn’t want to be the first person to allude to issues and problems far exceeding those of using a squat type toilet.
I guess that if I suddenly announced to my daughters that I was making a similar trip to see an old flame from 30 years ago They would be very concerned. The cultures, expectations and attitudes towards women and also to western women are very different. You could find yourself in something of a pickle. Please be careful.

Shelflife Sun 21-Aug-22 17:17:11

I keep thinking how I would feel if my dearest friend was embarking on this trip and I would most certainly be discussing my fears with her !
Catching up with an old flame in this country has its pitfalls but to do that in such a very different culture does not sit easy with me. Chatline my daughters would be like yours - very concerned indeed. BlueBelle, I did hesitate prior to posting as of course it is non of my business! but I am concerned.

Aveline Sun 21-Aug-22 17:22:59

Could you maybe compromise and meet somewhere like Dubai?

Chestnut Sun 21-Aug-22 18:03:07

Or even Turkey or Bulgaria.

silverlining48 Sun 21-Aug-22 18:10:53

I suggested meeting somewhere convenient midway, a neutral destination and would also hesitate. Its one thing talking/ writing but quite another to spehd weeks with someone recentky widowed who you havnt seen in 30 years especially in a country like Pakistan with such a different cuiture, especially towards women.