Pakistan’s reaction to foreigners is officially worse than China’s. I suppose the term ‘worse’ is open to interpretation here: by worse I mean less stealth and more blatant fascination that manifests itself in all sorts of interesting ways. This includes entire extended families stopping dead in their tracks and us parting their middle like Moses did the Red Sea, trailing a wake of gaping mouths. There is also the not-so-sly camera phone pictures and the estranged, overly friendly camaraderie that is hard to swallow without a hint of skepticism (Does that man really want me to sit on the grass with him and eat grapes?). Then, there are the pictures. In this arena I fall very short of desirable – I’ve gathered it’s not socially acceptable for a man to approach a woman he doesn’t know and ask for her picture. Instead, they turn to the blue-eyed, blonde-haired, big-nosed and broad-shouldered male foreigner. In our 1 hour self-tour of Lahore’s ‘Old Fort’ Neil was approached and posed no less than 10 times.
I very happily took some pictures of him and his new Pakistani boyfriends as well (featured below!). Between this and China, He has been immortalized in many a strangers photo albums and computers.