Friday Lens Affair #90

Language Barrier in Pakistan

Today I’m featuring a striking portrait and story of overcoming language barrier from Pakistan. Photography was taken by Coen Wubbels from Photo Coen Blog. Cohen and Karin-Marijke Vis are running a blog called Landcruising Adventure together.

They are both amazing people. Do not hesitate to follow them on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated with their crazy adventures and beautiful photographies.

I have chosen this particular photo because I really want to visit Pakistan soon and it is a little teaser for both, my readers and myself.

Many people ask, but Marysia is Pakistan safe for women to travel solo? I think it is for some and I think I have what it takes. Experience in many patriarchal countries and tough travel environments.

Not to mention that I’m a total sucker for those kinds of stories. Overcoming the language barrier by Karin-Marijke shows the beauty of travel in foreign lands! At least for me!

Picture Story: Overcoming Language Barrier in Pakistan

Rough, yellow sand was sticking between my toes. The salty spray was moistening my lips. I looked out over the Arabian Sea that was aquamarine or turquoise, depending on how the sun was playing with the clouds. A walk on Gwadar’s vast, uncluttered beach with softly lapping waves proved a perfect way to unwind.

When looking at the map, the remoteness and vastness of the Baluchistan Desert had drawn us in and, we decided to drive there.

Our 30-year-old Land Cruiser that had already brought us from the Netherlands via Turkey and Iran to Pakistan was doing a pretty great job!

We had completed 1700 miles traversing a desert known for banditry and smuggling. We had been forced to take armed escorts with us and had been followed by the secret police.

When we arrived at this fishing village in the far southwestern corner of Pakistan, a few kilometres from the Iranian border, we were exhausted.

As I sipped my coffee that I had brought with me to the beach, I saw my moment of peace was over. A group of young girls came running towards me, giggling and holding hands.

They were all dressed in colourful shalwar kameezes. Some with intricately embroidered insets, worn with glittering jewellery. The girls were even wearing heels, even though they couldn’t be older than ten.

We stared at each other in admiration. Seeing a westerner clearly wasn’t a common thing in this middle-of-nowhere town. As soon as one had the courage to touch my skin and hair, others followed.

The language barrier was dissolved by our enthusiasm and genuine interest in each other. One girl spoke a few words of English. I have learned from her that they were on their way to a family celebration and therefore all dressed up.

Meanwhile, Coen had approached us and when they spotted the camera, I was no longer of any interest to them. For fifteen minutes Coen and the girls played with the camera. Girls jostling to be in the main spot for the best photo, with lots of jocularity and fun.

Suddenly we heard a shout from the pavement, a woman calling the girls. Whoosh, they went! Running across the beach, heels in their hands, full of laughter.

24 thoughts on “Friday Lens Affair #90

  1. I love the bold, straightforward look this girl gives the camera. She looks curious, confident, and wary all at once. Likely similar to the emotions of the photographer/traveler. Wonderful picture!
    Sarah R. recently posted…Free Family Things to Do in SavannahMy Profile

  2. Karin-Marijke and Coen

    Thanks for all the compliments. Pakistan proved to be an incredibly country to travel in. Hard at times, no doubt. It’s not a palm-lined beach destination, for sure. But we found the Pakistanis open, curious, easy to talk to, and incredibly hospitable. This story really just is one of the many beautiful encounters we had during our six-month stay there.

    • You where there for 6 months? Wow! That info kind of skipped my mind. I so want to go and travel in Pakistan but I doubt I will have more than 2 months! Let’s see how things go! Super jealous!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #92My Profile

      • Karin-Marijke Vis

        Marysia, Do you already have any idea where you’d like to go? If you have little time, we suggest you focus on the north: the mountainous regions. They are among the most beautiful places we’ve been on earth. However, you do have to check whether it’s accessible and safe. Things have changed since we were then. But if you go: Gilgit (northeast) and Chitral (northwest) are perfect bases from where to organize hikes in the area. In July they hold the highest polo festival in the world. Also very interesting. If you have questions, just let us know. We love talking about Pakistan and sharing its secrets!

        • Thanks a lot Girl! I would love to go June-August if possible, lets see how I will do with visa etc etc I will be writting you with questions for sure!
          Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #94My Profile

  3. Tara Lepore

    This was a great little piece!

  4. Imageining

    She’s lovely, isn’t she? Very nice image.

  5. Jay

    What a nice story and a beautiful picture to go with.

  6. Carmen (CarmensTravelTips)

    What a great story. That’s a little scary having to be escorted and being followed. I’m glad the girls were open to having their pictures taken. I’m heading to Israel the end of the month.

    • It is such a shame that you are only coming at the end of the month when I’m actually leaving for Greece and Sir Lanka!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #90My Profile

  7. Laura Hegfield

    What a gorgeous portrait!!! I love the story you have shared of this encounter.

  8. Wow this is such a beautiful story. It’s experiences like this one that make the best memories.
    Richelle recently posted…How to Become a “Travel Blogger”My Profile

  9. What a wonderful story and a way to connect without knowing each others’ language.

  10. That’s a great story! They were so fascinated by you. Even though there was a language barrier there, amazing how we can still communicate…
    Lauren recently posted…Go To Jail at the Morrin Centre in Quebec CityMy Profile

    • I always say that no matter the language you can manage to communicate somehow, it only involved willingness :)
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #90My Profile

  11. Karen

    Great capture of the girl’s face against the blue sky…

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