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'Where are you from?'

asks a curious teenager.


, we reply. The boy looks at us with unconcealed admiration.

'Do you like Pakistan?'

Even though we have only just arrived in

Lahore, we nod in agreement.


he asks and immediately raises a hand holding a smartphone.

With a broad smile we stand next to him and let ourselves be

immortalised. In no time at all, we are surrounded by a whole group

of young people who all want to take a picture with us. We seem to

act like a magnet to them. And not only to them, but also to their

parents, neighbours and friends. We are an oddity, and that is quite a

strange experience. We had not considered that for many Pakistani,

we might be the first foreigners they have seen for a long time.

After 9/11, tourism in Pakistan completely collapsed.

Many youngsters born after that fateful day have never before seen a

Westerner. Time to change that.

text & photos:

kathleen van bremdt

- photos:

sven hoyaux