One thing that is the same all over the world? McDonald’s.
Well, kind of. The ubiquitous McDonald’s sundae is actually a hundred times better at its Islamabad outpost: the ice cream is creamier and the whole thing is drowned in hot fudge (U.S. franchises being stingy when it comes to toppings for some reason).
There’s another difference: remember when Big Macs came in styrofoam, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were battling it out for supremacy, and you had never heard of global warming? You don’t have to imagine that here. Except for the Cyndi Lauper thing. Pakistan is very up-to-date when it comes to pop music.
And finally, there’s one item on the menu that lets you know you’re not in Kansas anymore: the “McArabia” sandwich. McDonald’s answer to local ethnic food is a vaguely Middle Eastern chicken wrap. I haven’t been brave enough to try this yet.
Of course, these days I don’t know if I’m brave enough to go to McDonald’s. It has, you guessed it, recently been added to the list of places likely to be blast targets. I’ll be finding my cheeseburgers elsewhere for awhile…