Sunday, 25 February 2007

My first Saturday in Karachi

Saturday morning and no work. Great. At last a chance to look round Karachi. I’ve got a small map from the lonely plant guide book. Not very details and the hotel one is even worse.

Having studied the map of down town Karachi I realised there were a lot of things to see. One thing clearly missing. Bars. There are no bars or clubs but what the hell, they can wait till next holiday making that beer all the more sweet when the time comes.

I decide to walk around. First the markets. The main on is Saddar Bazzar which is about 1 1/2 kilometres from the hotel. Easy to find just leave the hotel hang a right then a left!!!! Easy? And easy it was. Only thing to watch for was the traffic. As with all city centres it does not have a clear start or demarcation line but before you realise you are in the bazaars. If you needed directions the best advice is follow the dust. The whole place is dusty but the nearer the market the more the dust. Easy!!

It sells everything from pots and pans to outlandish plastic flowers and the ever present assortment of T shirts and jeans. It would not have been complete without the street hawkers selling ‘genuine ray bans’ and fabulous ‘Rolex’ watches.

There was one block of shops that specialised in leather coats and sheep skin jackets. Really good quality. You can pick up a decent leather jacket for about 100US$.

Then there are the gold shops. If there was one there were 100 all selling the same type of jewellery. The gold is that bright yellow colour you associate with Middle East gold. And no I did not check the prices.

But what is a bazzar without these things. All part of it right. I wondered thought a range of streets some small some pedestrian only. One of the first things you notice if the lack of women. I’ll rephrase that to the ‘absence of women”…

The few I did see were pretty. The ones covered in black from top to bottom..? Well they could be attractive underneath it all but I did not get to see...

The walking in the sun and heat and the ever present dust made me want of a long cold beer. I fancied finding some shady place, some little hidden away bar of café where I could sit down and watch the world go by. Not to be. No beer and no hidden away café. So next best thing was to get myself a cool fresh orange juice at a street sided stall. You know what? It was great! Took Abdul about 5 minutes to hand crush the oranges and make me a long cool drink. You know what? It was good, very good but did not quite make t to being as good as a cold beer!

Then I sat at the juice bar, juice in hand people watching. I don’ for one minute think I fooled anyone that I was a local just watching the world go by but it was fun and totally hassle free. The place, it never stopped, people rushing from one place to another, jumping on and of busses and constantly haggling on the price of whatever they were after. The whole place is a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds and the smells. Almost a totally new range of sensations.

The people and the shops with all their bright colours to the busses painted in very colour of the rainbow. I got to wondering just how long does it take to paint a bus. Years surely?

It was such a wide range of smells for deep fry to fragment curries and spices and that sort of mixed humanity that comes for some many people together.

Anyway enough of the sitting I’ve go to go. When I set out this morning I had given myself 3 hours max as this afternoon is apartment hunting.

And last but not least Karachi Supreme Court. Be good!!!

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