Monday, 30 April 2007

Dinner in Karachi


We've just been to 'Salt and Pepper' an upmarket Pakistani restaurant in Clifton. It is an amazing place with about 50 different local dishes to choose from, curries, roasts, dall's, nan breads and a wonderful assortment of deserts. Its set in a village atmosphere with Pakistan music etc. Great first evening for Wanna in Karachi.

Karachi Airport

Caught the Thai flight 17.30 and off we went. At duty free we got a good deal on some 12 year old Jameson’s and Black label. No worries there. Even got a special offer free ‘carry bag’ with the 2 bottles of Black Label.

Good flight. Air Hostess from Thailand busy telling Wanna about the good shopping in Karachi. Cotton silks etc so my credit card was over spend before we landed!!

In flight announcement. “Passengers please note no alcoholic drinks are allowed into Pakistan’. ‘Did you hear that?’ asked Wanna. Surely you knew that before you wasted all that money in the duty free!!” ‘Don’t worry all will become clear..”

“Where are we?” asks Wanna. Where was Customs and Immigration and who are these men with guns?” “Darling we’ve finished with all that. You just walked through the Diplomatic Channel and Customs is not part of the deal!!! That is what these kind gentlemen are here for. See no customs, no worries about whiskeys etc. Now these ‘men with guns’ will follow us home to make sure we don’t get lost’.

Easy. ‘So what do you think of Karachi so far?....” “err err…” Sure you’re not blond?

Bangkok

Arrived in one piece. Whatever the pharmacist had given me worked. The plane was an hour late leaving and 45 minutes late landing so we made up some time. All this without another practice landing!!

Wanna was at the airport to meet me so it was a wonderful arrival. We had planned to go up to Bangkok for the evening but it was so late we just went home. Again all go go and more go.

Saturday morning did not wake up till nearly mid day. Went with Wanna into Pattaya to buy a few things and most importantly to see the new shop. Looks good. Sells food and beer and appears to be doing well.

Then back again to the house to sort out a few things for our trip back to Karachi followed by dinner with family and friends. Great day. Not a late night so we could enjoy Sunday.

China maybe Great but on this occasion not for me

Our plane was 1 hour late leaving Hong Kong and then is did an aborted landing. I was busy watching the ground rise and give us a big bump. But no! We were just about landed and next thing I knew we started to climb again. Stayed up for another 35 minutes. Apparently we had to use another runway. Seemed a bit late to me to find that out when your wheels are down and a few hundred feet of the ground. Still they never tell you the truth or real reason.

We landed safely and Alastair was saying that in all his years of travel it had only happened once before in Sydney. Eddie had never had it happen on his flights.

So anyway we were down and it was all quick quick after then. Through immigration and customs straight to the Sheraton. Booked and took our bags to the rooms. 10 minutes later we age off to a meeting.

The meeting was 3.00pm till 5.00pm followed by dinner. Excellent dinner with various Chinese treats. Had a couple of beers and a sip of wine.

We were home by 8.30. Just about to settle down early when Alastair called "Fancy a night cap its only 8.30?... See you in lobby at 9.30?" “Sure…..” a dangerous response…

We sat and chewed the fat and consumed a high number of beers till 1.05am then bed.

Alastair and Eddie were on an early flight so I did not see them again.

Just got to bed and at 3.00am I was up with the really rumbly tummy and as sick as a dog. It’s been that way till3.30 this afternoon when I went to a pharmacist. Still feel like shit. No Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square for me. Next time. Reckon I’ve lost about 2 kilos. Worst I’ve been since I had malaria about 9 years ago.

Off to Bangkok in a couple of hours. I’ll make sure I get an aisle seat!!! Let’s hope things improve.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Hong Kong

Made it to Hong Kong. Tiring flight and then straight to the office. Had a meeting with Barry and Sarah then rushed back to the hotel before going out to dinner.

Had a super evening with Alastair and Mary. They live in an appartment about 10 minutes fomr my hotel so just a quick taxi ride. The place as beautifully decorated in traditional Thai sylye complete woth water candles. It was like an oasis. We have bar b q steaks and a few glasses of wine. Best of all were the prawns. Great evening.

Seemed like I had known them ages.Time flew by and it was midnight before we realised. Back to the pad and up at 5.45am to go to Beijing
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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Off to China

Hi,

Its Tuesday morning and off to work. So much work to do today I should not be writing this till later but...! I'm getting excited as my flight to China is this evening. Well actually I leave at 2.55 am tomorrow!!! Horrible time to fly. Going from Karachi via Bangkok and Hong Kong. I'll spend a night in Hong Kong then off to Beijing.

I've only got one day in China so I do not expect to see much outside of meetings. Will be great if I can squeeze in a quick visit to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City.

You'll need to check back here to see how it all went.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Its gone again... Time

I’m sitting at home in a power cut!!! Told it is going to get worse and more frequent during the summer months... Ugh!! Think I will buy a small portable generator. Can use it here for a few months and then take it home and use on the boat. I know what you are thinking ‘Writing on a computer without power?’. Well I’m using a laptop….

Reread my last few Blog entries a bit earlier this evening. Boring or what? Lets be honest here, they were not very exciting. They lacked any real interest and nothing new. But and a big But at that….on the good side (Thank God) no video.

Having read my last Blog I realized yet again time is flying in Karachi. But there are happenings. On the work front I visited a steel rolling factory last week situated about 1 hour out of Karachi. The landscape is flat and barren. Like any shrub land on the edge of a desert which it is. I had years ago visited Gujarat in West India. Its next door and exactly the same.

On the ‘fun’ side. Last Friday evening I went down to the Rose and Crown and had a few beers followed by a night cap of real whiskey. Slept well. I say real whiskey as it was Famous Grouse whereas the local Brewery ‘Murree’ which also produces whiskey really produces alcohol essence to which they add essence of whiskey. Not the same taste as the real stuff and definitely not the same feeling next morning. Not so much a hangover but a sort of muggy feeling like you drank or ate something that did not fully agree 100% with you. It was a good night and I am going back next week for a St Georges 'knees up' night, what ever that is. I’ve paid my 500 rupees entrance and intend to enjoy it to the full with an edited report on events to you next week. No photos taken after 10.00pm!!!!!.

I’ve also been in touch this week with my friend Shahzar about sailing and possibly fishing this coming weekend. Lots to look forward to.

But the best news for me is that on the 25 th April that’s next Wednesday I am off to Hong Kong and China, yes China for a meeting in Beijing. I leave here at 2.00 am on Wednesday and should be in our Hong Kong offices at 2.40 in the afternoon. Beijing next morning. A first for me. I’ve never been to Beijing before. So should be interesting. The place is getting ready for the Olympics and so there will be lots to see. On my way back I am stopping off in Thailand and having the weekend with Wanna. She will then come back to Karachi with me which is great. I’ll post a few photos of that. The plan is to have Friday evening in Bangkok and Saturday in Pattaya then back to Karachi on Sunday evening.

We are off to Seychelles on 5th May for about 15 days. Catching up with Owen and Charles and Lynnie. Am really looking forward to that. Sure I'll be adding a few photos to my Seychelles Web for that one. And of course a few Blog entries complete with video.

I nearly forget. As you know I have been taking a few videos and posting them via 'you tube'. Well about 2 weeks ago I had a message via 'you tube'. Someone, unknown to me recognized my driver in the video. It’s a 3 second shot and there are millions of videos on 'you tube'. Just think about it. Someone recognizing my driver!!! That’s incredible and that’s worth writing into the Blog!!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Time still flying by

I realized yesterday I had not written anything on my Blog for a few days. Time has really flown by. Work is picking up and the social side of things is all on the rise.

Last week I got invited to the British Deputy High Commission for a cocktail party to mark the end of the Expo Pakistan 2007. There were a lot of delegates over from UK to meet local business person and develop trade. Good evening. Had my first real G&T since arriving. Was it good or what.

Traveling to Karachi etc you think you are seeing the world but really it is a small world indeed. Seems us expats follow well trodden paths. When working some time back with SMEC I was based in Vietnam and Daniel Lough who also worked for them was head office based in Australia. We never met. Then by chance I met him at the British High Commission ‘pub’ two weeks ago. We had dinner last Tuesday at a smart little restaurant called ‘Okra’. Food was great. And to cap it all Daniel brought along a bottle of New Zealand Red. (He even remembered to bring the cork screw!!) So super meal, good wine and company.

Apart from the above I’ve had one more Friday evening at the British Club. Good evening and I am beginning to meet a lot of new people. Been asked about a St Georges Day 'bash' involving an evening trip at the end of the Month to Dog Island. All bodes well.

Now back to work.

The secret to "Success" ..... is never, never, give up trying.