Magnolia

Magnolia

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Checking In...

It's been a while since I last posted anything here...not sure how long but I feel like it's time to check in.  Life in Lahore, Pakistan isn't too bad.  Sure, I don't enjoy all the comforts of home in the U.S., but it's been so long since I've been 'home,' things are starting to seem normal.  I do miss having my car and the ability to just back out of the driveway (as my guards hold the gate open as they hold their weapon ready to use it if necessary) and drive around.  Going through the military checkpoints is becoming routine. I don't even panic when one of the guards makes us 'break the seal' or open the door and ask to see IDs.  And I'm thrilled when I see lettuce is at the grocery store and there isn't slime on it.  Ahhh...life in Pakistan!

Serving abroad has a way of putting you in a situation to get something you might not have otherwise.  There's shopping for things you see at Pier 1 or World Market...but paying a fraction of the price.  And when I served in Muscat, Oman, I discovered carpets. Oh, did I ever discover carpets!  I  now have 13 hand woven carpets in storage. And I love every one of them. You're also sometimes lucky enough to score big, like I did.  Here in Lahore, there is a body shop.  The owner, Imran, has a side business, or hobby, not sure which, of restoring vintage Vespas.  Once this was discovered, it was like a chain reaction...one by one, we ordered our Vespas.  First was a red one, then a baby blue version and then a maroon scooter.  Then came my turn.  I decided on black...but not just any black.  It's black with silver metal flakes.  And to be really original, I was put in touch with 2 young Pakistani artists and together, we came up with artwork that reflected a Pakistani tradition called Truck Art or Jinga. This makes for very colorful trucks on the road.

You might have seen documentaries on TV about Pakistani truck art.  They are usually very ornately decorated with little to no background visible...totally covered in artwork.  When you see them close up, you can see that it is truly an art form.  I'm told it can cost anywhere from $5000 up to paint a truck. Lots of color, small flowers, calligraphy, verses...you name it and it is painted on trucks.

For my Vespa, I decided to bring home a bit of this art form with me.  It took several meetings with the 2 artists, but I think the result is well worth the time spent with them.  I didn't want my scooter to look like the examples above...I just wanted a little bit of artwork on it.  I'm thrilled with the result! Below is what the Vespa looked like when he bought it...

This is what it looked like once he stripped off the old paint and started the body work.  Everything was done by hand, and I don't mean electric sanders or anything.  On one visit, the worker was using a metal file to smooth over an area.



And the final product...



My biggest problem or rather issue is that I can't ride it here and I have another 15 months left here in Pakistan.  Imran has told me that whenever I want to ride it he will come and get it and take it back to his business and let me ride it around the property.  Right now it's in my house, under the staircase looking like it belongs there.  When I retire, this baby will go with me back to Fort Worth and I'll have a blast riding it around town.  With gas prices what they are, I'll love getting 85 miles to the gallon!

2 comments:

Jane said...

I LOVE your Vespa! How cool of you! I wonder how much that will cost to ship home?

Debi said...

Jane, that cute little Vespa is now a part of my HHE and will cost nothing to ship home! I am way under my weight allotment so no problem. I can't wait to get it home June 2014 and start riding it!