Geckos and Guns: The Pakistan Years By Sharon Bazant

This is a fascinating memoir of a family’s time in Pakistan.  The family was a nuclear family: father, mother, sister, brother. They decided they needed more adventure in their life, so in 1991, they left the Canada and moved to Pakistan.  Without the umbrella of being employed by the government, they did it all on their own.  They went without government housing, protection, or orientation.  The family spent five years in Pakistan, with the children finishing school while living there.  The book is very well written and Bazant does an excellent job of sharing beauty, poverty, caste system, dangerous and often scary events, as well as everyday life in a different culture.

There is no question that Geckos & Guns provides the reader with a very unique look into what life is like in Pakistan.  The very pronounced cultural differences, especially in terms of women and their role in society, would have been very hard to come to terms with.  In particular, poverty would have been dreadful to deal with.  I can not imagine many people wanting to make such a radical change out of their comfort zone.  In addition, it took a great deal of either courage or dumb luck that they manage to find a house, servants, food, medical care, etc.  Had it not been for Bazant making it a full-time job figuring out the ins and outs of the culture they would never have been able to live there safely.  

The book describes a world so far from my own personal reality that I found it rather stunning.  The country sounds at once lovely and antiquated.  I doubt that I will ever travel to Pakistan, but I am so pleased that I read this book and gained a different perspective of the area than I had before.  It certainly supports my personal belief that travel opens your eyes to so many new things that one could not possibly walk away unaffected. 

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