Shaggy wrenched the wheel from side to side, grinding his teeth madly, eyes popping out of their sockets as he whooped and overtook a truck at one hundred miles an hour, dust streamed into the air as we screamed along the dirt road, the underground Pakistani rave receding into the distance…
Twelve hours earlier…
Captain Aviator pumped my hand again and, in flawless English, babbled excitedly about how great it is to meet a foreigner exploring his country.
“So, Will, there is a very exclusive party tonight, I can probably get you in, there will be girls, music, drugs, everything, what do you say”
With a hearty ‘hell yeah’ I followed my very new friend to his $50,000 dollar car and sunk into the leather seats.
“When people think of Pakistan, they think that this is a poor country filled with nothing but terrorists and sand; the truth is, Pakistan has the most diverse landscapes in Asia and Pakistanis are some of the friendliest people in the world”
The captain was preaching to the choir, I had been in Pakistan for nearly six weeks at this point and had encountered nothing but generous hospitality from the many people I had met. I had stayed in shepherd’s huts and in squatter houses, in plush apartments and family homes; I rarely had to pay for anything as my Pakistani amigos always insisted on getting the bill.
What really amazed me was just how crazy and fun-loving the rich kids of Lahore and Karachi are; if you’re going to be born into a rich family, Pakistan is a hell of a place to be born – with a bit of money and a lot of attitude you can move mountains.
We skidded to a stop and another Pakistani in a green t-shirt got in the car and began to roll a joint whilst handing out snacks, I instantly forget his name and renamed him Shaggy as he vaguely reminded me of the stoner character from Scooby Doo.
We headed out into the night, the bright lights of Lahore giving way to small towns, villages and, finally, rolling countryside. The guys appeared to be very lost. We got out of the car to smoke our hundredth joint and soak in the night sky. In the distance, lapping the edges of my hearing like a gentle wave, I could make out music. We got back into the car and followed our ears until, out of nowhere, we found a dirt track leading to a barbed wire fence with a line of thirty glamorous Pakistanis trying to get past the private army that appeared to be guarding the entrance.
Captain aviator elbowed his way to the front and began discussing with the AK47 wielding security whilst gesticulating wildly at me; it appeared that having a white friend at an exclusively Pakistani party was a good way to skip the line.
We sailed past the security and followed our ears, the party was pounding up ahead, bright lights shooting into the sky. I passed a gaggle of gorgeous Pakistani girls passing round a plate of mystery powder, glimpsed a couple romping in the bushes and was high-fived by a muscle-bound leviathan in a tank top. This party had all the ingredients of a crazy cocktail…
In the centre of it all, surrounded by trippy lighting and water features, a huge gazebo sheltered a crowd of two hundred swaying to electro-swing and goa-trance, infected mushroom and dubstep.
Captain aviator appeared out of nowhere, pressed a pill into my hand and disappeared again into the night – kind of like Batman.
I made my way into the crowd, people staring at first but quickly moving forwards to shake my hand, to ask questions and to pass me a beer. A beautiful girl in a golden top with eyes the colour of emeralds passed me a straw and a plate of flour.
This was absolutely fucking nuts.
The private security looked on as fucked up ravers danced in elation and couples disappeared hand in hand to the toilets. I spotted Shaggy staring intently into a flower bed and went to ask him how he was doing.
His eyes were huge and he was beyond fucked. The first dose of MD began to hit me and I bopped and weaved, whooped and soared. I made my way behind to the DJ booth and was invited behind the scenes; which were so insane that I shall not even attempt to describe them.
Minutes ran into hours as I desperately hunted for some chewing gum and caught another glimpse of Shaggy attempting to climb a tree with a beer in one hand. Captain Aviator was nowhere in sight and I allowed myself to be pulled into a group of Pakistanis.
“You’re Will right? The guy backpacking across the world? You have to bring more people to Pakistan!”
I promised that I would and danced with the young, rich and beautiful people of a country set to become the next big thing in Asia… It was an intoxicating experience.
The very next day I had to cross the border to India and so, reluctantly, I allowed myself to be pulled from the party and Captain Aviator and I went in search of Shaggy. We found him half-impaled upon a rose bush with a huge smile plastered across his face.
We headed back to the car and, to my horror, Shaggy got in the driving seat. Captain Aviator was grinding his teeth like crazy and double-fisting joints, he seemed to care very little about the current predicament. I considered the options; I figured that I could probably, maybe, just about be sober enough to drive if it came to it but just as I was about to offer Shaggy lurched in his seat and turned around.
“You are worried about my driving?” he asked, eyes huge black pits of pupil, his jaw locked in a painful looking position.
How the fuck did he know? Was this guy psychic!?
Without waiting for an answer, he turned on the radio and sped off as the worst possible song for installing driver confidence began to fill the car; Riders on the storm…
There’s a killer on the road
We sped up, the car’s wheels losing traction on the dirt road, dipping into a ditch.
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
We shot out of the dirt road and hit tarmac, missing a donkey by inches.
Take a long holiday, let your children play
Shaggy turned around to talk to me, the vehicle reaching speeds of nearly one hundred and twenty kilometres an hour as he asked me what I liked best about Pakistan.
If ya give this man a ride. Sweet family will die
I spotted Shaggy’s face in the mirror, twisted and scrunched, his tongue out to one side as he dodged potholes at an insane speed.
The captain passed Shaggy one of his many joints and, to my relief, our speed began to slow a little bit as Shaggy started to chill the hell out… Finally, I felt as though maybe, just maybe, we might make it back in one piece.
This is Pakistan; it is filled with stunning mountains, friendly people and unlimited surprises. If there is one thing I have learnt in my time here it is this…
Everything is possible in Pakistan.
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Disclaimer: Drugs are illegal and can get you in sticky situations. I don’t condone drug use of any sort. If you intend to consume, please be safe. This article is not intended to persuade, but rather to inform.
Please also note that this account is entirely fictional and definitely did not happen…
Writer and entrepreneur. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will has been on the road for thirteen years, travelling to far-flung lands on a budget. Today, he runs a number of online ventures, including The Broke Backpacker – the world’s largest budget travel blog. He is passionate about solving the plastic problem and cleaning up the oceans. Currently, Will is based in Bali where he plans to open his first Tribal Hostel in 2020.