Thursday, 28 June 2007

Cyclones in Karachi

There has been a lot in the news recently about the weather. Strong winds and heavy rain. Seems really that most of it passed us by. I know a lot of people died but difficult to grasp the whole picture. Any loss of life is sad.

You can see from the attached map we just missed the main part. Seems carried on to UK. Well I'm off to Thailand tonight and hope the weather there is going to be OK.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Leather factory

I had a super afternoon yesterday. Visited Shehzad's leather factory.
Met up with his brother and a Spaniard called Antonio and shared lunch together.

Shehzad has a good business buying in coarse leather and converting it into high quality material for shoes and handbags etc. He buys in the leather after it has under gone its first treatment. That's really the first chemical treatment after the skinning and the initial cleaning.

He then treats it, colours it and can produce it to any standard required. Soft, hard, thin, thick etc. All seemed easy when he explains it but me I had no real idea. We then went to his chemical factory. He makes the leather softening creams we put on shoes etc. All in all a good day out. The photos show the rough leather being brought in to his yard by donkey cart and of ht chemical factory renovation.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Moving and moving on

The title sounds a bit philosophical but bear with me. I've been in Karachi for 4 months (I know you've read my Blogs). But chatting to Dad tonight I confirmed my real thoughts and ideas and made a decision to bring my boat to Karachi and live on it. Why pay rent when all I want to do is live on a boat...

It seems so obvious and easy. Just get someone to sail it up here and I can live aboard. Better than the condo and far better than being tied up (pun) with rent etc etc. So decision time tomorrow. Few calls to Seychelles coming up and then we can move on. I am off to Thailand this weekend and then Seychelles in August. (unrelated note:- Need to check I catch up with Sarah my No 1 before she disappears off to Uni end of August).

But back to the main point this posting. Getting the boat here should be easy. Steve the chap looking after it is a good Captain and know the ropes etc. (another pun). He also knows my boat.

So big day tomorrow... I'll be on the phone and see what I can organise. About time I made a stand and stopped blaming everyone else. Maybe this is what I've been waiting for. And in Karachi if I have no power on my boat I cannot blame the system anymore.

Will post tomorrow with real positive news for sure!

And the weeks fly by (again....)

I've said it before time is really flying Karachi. This last few weeks has been no exception. If anything its getting faster. I finally managed to go and get my Play Station fixed. Khalid kindly took me to a shop where they insert the 'copy chip'. This lets me play any copy software. Great excitement.
The shop gave me a new night racer car game. Seemed simple enough just go as fast as possible from A to B. Right.... Give it a go.. I tried 3 times and did it in just under 9 mins 53 secs. Few scrapes and crashes on the way. World best? Was I the new Lewis Hamilton of the world wide net game family? No chance the machine was expecting 1 minutes something to do the circuit. Clearly a long way to go to catch up with Mr Lewis. I'll practice this weekend and let you know how it goes. (Slowly is my guess!)

Well tomorrow no work. Planning on a quiet lunch and an evening having a few beers at the British Club.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Electiric cars Karachi style

Forget the Detroit's and hybrid cars. We read about all this day in day out. But here in the developing world of Karachi, residents have taken the lead and show example with the introduction of electric cars. Yes electric powered cars as seen on TV, but adapted to meet local ways.

Not just cars but Taxis. Helping highlight the environmental issues to the public so they understand the dangers of global warming and showing how making every little effort helps. These Eco friendly vehicles, running on roof mounted petrol generators are providing the solution much sought after in the developed world. Easy to install and run. Just buy a generator and strap it on the roof. Fill with petrol and off you go. That's what you call an electric car Karachi style.

These 'electric taxis' are often to be seen cruising done the boulevards of Karachi picking up customers and providing the public service so required and showing what can be done by individuals with initiative wanting to make a difference and help the environment. (Check the photo, source Khalid Munir).

Hey give these guys credit, they know how to meet the challenges of global warming and avoid using petrol whilst becoming Eco friendly. (Am I serious?.....)

Just look at the new Pakistan Eco Electric Car. The way to go. Henry Ford would have been proud. Pass on this information to your friends. Next time in Karachi make sure you go electric......

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Is it Sunday or is it 'Power Cut' day ?

Plan of the day. Decided I would have a 'sort of private working day' as the is office is empty. Thought if I go in there I'll get no disturbances I'll maybe get something useful done.

8.00 am I'm up, watered and fed. And already a power cut. So off to work. Not much better there with no generator. What next. Church and caught the second half of Mass in English.

Went home and again a power cut. So read the 'For rent' section of the newspaper. Not sure I've the energy for moving but somewhere with a generator does have a strong appeal. Lucky I've got gas for making my coffee. So coffee in one hand and 'For rent' section of the Dawn paper in the other. Settle myself down comfortably and start circling in the good sounding ads. I don't believe it only 30 minutes back home and the power is off again. Its only off for another 30 minutes so not to bad. Will make some calls in the morning for sure.

Power back on and I decided work can wait till tomorrow. The powers that be, (pun) are clearly telling me not to use computers for work on a Sunday. So now you can see instead how I spent my time revamping my Blog. Also managed to chat with Wanna and caught up with the girls in Seychelles and Clarance over in California.

Also had a scout round some of the editing support of my Blog server. I fancy setting up some form of RSS. Whats that? Well that's exactly what I am trying to find out as well. Second question What for? Same answer That's exactly what I am trying to find out as well. When I know I'll pass it on.

I'd best get this posted before another power cut.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

The last supper

Wanna left in the early hours of Wednesday morning so Tuesday evening we went for dinner to the Bar B Q tonight. We had been before with Nazia my Land Lady. But but this just the two of us. Romantic evening!! Not really we got there only to find a bunch of the Chinese Contractors team also having a meal. Said our hellos and left them to it. But it was interesting of all the places in Karachi they chooses where we were. Must be a good sign. But we had been to a Chinese restaurant the night before. Not so good. Apparently Chinese food is becoming very popular in Karachi but what we had was a 'sort of' Chinese food. Much prefer Wanna's stir frys.

We had a super grilled rib of lamb and salads and homos. The place really knows how to cater just check the photos. Racks and racks of food. Washed down with water. Yes Lloyd drinking water!!! Well it was that or Coke. No competition really. The best part we we walked from and back to our apartment. Only about 500-600 meters but enough to enjoy and so much better that being delivered everywhere in a car. We felt the hot humid air from the sea and smelled the various fragrances from the local cooking. Also managed to avoid several 'blind' drivers who were trying to avoid the same pot holes as us!!! Well they should have seen us!

It was a good calm end to Wanna last visit. Now I will settle down to work and plan to get to Thailand at the end of the Month. Will keep you posted.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Our trip to Gaddani Home of scrapped ships

We decide to have a Sunday venturing out of Karachi. The Lonely Planet Guide is good for ideas but we decided to visit Balochistan the next province about 30 kilometers west of Karachi. Why ? Well the Lonely Plant for one says no one goes there!!!! Good enough reason for me to go. Its a tough place. It has a harsh and very dry terrain and the clearly from the history and having to live in such conditions makes people are fiercely independent. We decided to go with our driver and visit the ship grave yards of Gaddani. Famous for the ships that are run up the beaches and then scrapped piece by piece by cheap labour. It is out of bounds to foreigners. But we decided to try anyway. Sure enough it was out of bounds. The police guarding the road were good they rang back to Karachi to see if we could pass. We were told very helpfully, please next time you come bring a policeman from Karachi along for the next trip and it should be OK. It is apparently an environmental disaster area. ( )

So we left and stopped at another police station to see if we could visit Hub Dam. Seemed a good idea to check. Well good job as it was the same answer. We did not get a great deal of photo opportunities on this trip. One of the police station which looks more like a fort and the second of a squashed bus. Dread to think what happened there.
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Saturday, 2 June 2007

Shopping in the Market

Saturday. Off to work as usual but this time had promised to take Wanna shopping to the Market. Actually went to buy some cotton to cover the seats in the lounge. Wanna is convinced they need covers due to all the dust in the air. So we had a good walk round and found what we wanted. Had a Pizza then home. No power. Usual 2 hour power cut which fortunately I normally miss as I’m at work where we’ve got a generator!

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Dinner with the Colonel

Last night saw us go to the house of Colonel Ramzan for dinner. We met his wife and two daughters, Sons were out working. Had an enjoyable evening chatting about life in general. We had a few whiskeys and excellent food. On the way home I told my driver that I would not be going to work as the usual 08.00am but would go at 09.00am "OK Boss, Thank you Boss, Good, Night Boss'" So I assumed he had got the message.

07.00am next morning I look outside the Condo. There he is cleaning the car. So I decided if he's here and I'm up I'll go to work. "Qassir what are you doing here so early?" "Well Boss I worked for other foreigners before and when they drink in the evenings they say things that the next morning they forget. I did not want to turn up at 09.00 and find you also had forgotten the instruction and complain to me that I was not there by 08.00 as normal". No answer to that one so off to work at 08.00am as usual.

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