Everyone says that Islamabad is a sleepy, quiet little town. Compared to Karachi and Lahore, that’s true. But compared to say, Whittier, California or Brighton, Massachusetts, it isn’t. This is because every single night of the week you will find people up late, eating dinner, having shisha, and of course chatting. Another way to say this here is “gup shup,” a Punjabi term that means something like chit-chat, but encompasses more than that. Gup shup is friendly, open, relaxed conversation and hanging out, and Pakistanis excel at it. It is one of the reasons I feel very at home here: what is better than staying up late at night, eating yummy food and chatting?

Today’s photo is of one of the many places you can go for some good old fashioned gup shup in Islamabad. And also, as it turns out, stroganoff pasta, which was the special of the day. I ate dinner there at 10:00 pm (I know, Oprah recommends no eating after six, but I haven’t started my detox yet). My friend had grape shisha and a cappuccino, and a lovely time was had by all.