Monday, 12 November 2007

Amazing and only 10 minutes from my office...

Karachi is a really complex, contrasting place with numerous levels of society. So it was with great interest that I and Khalid, accepted an invitation to the Karachi Boat Club for lunch today. I've refrained from talking about work in my Blog but obviously it is a place where I meet most of my contacts. Well today I was pleased to accept an invitation by Mr Ansari and his son for lunch at his club. His company is undertaking all the shore based concrete piling works at our works site and a good job he is doing to. (And no I did not need to say that!!).

The Boat club is in a wonderful setting built in 1881 and still going. It is situated near Karachi Port on what was years ago an open area having since become somewhat crowded and confined. However the membership in fact is possibly now stronger that ever. It apparently has over 950 members all from the elite and business communities of Karachi. I'm told over 750 are active. Well in so far as eating and drinking are concerned I was given to understand that a few beers etc in the evening are quite accepted and normal behavior. A plus for sure when considering most Karachi eateries!!!!

We were shown round the dining rooms where there are pictures of rowing races and actives dating back to 1908. Well before my time. The atmosphere is very Colonial and reminiscent of several Clubs I have visited in various Countries over the years. It was great fun,

To see the pictures which had been preserved over all these years spoke volumes not only for the early members but the current ones who appreciate the historical significance and for maintaining and keeping things going so well. Like it or not he Colonial past is part of it. I felt really privileged to be there today.

And it was not till 1963 that Pakistani's were allowed access as club members. I'm sure they were allowed in earlier for supplying support services!! Amazing but that is how it was in those days and indeed it is very difficult to understand how it all worked, and more difficult to apply our current standards to those of our forefathers. Makes for interesting discussiosns!!!!

We were also shown other parts of of the Club before we went for lunch so we had had a good look round adn viewed omst ofh te facilities. The gyms could wait!!. Yes not one but two!!! Also racked up were some fabulous lookoing rowing boats, sculls, 4's and 8's. All brand new. Fiberglass jobs! Beautiful swimming pool etc, I did read on the notice boards that the ladies had different swimming times that the men. Pity!!!

Lunch was quite amazing. I had just left our offices located in one of the most busy, dustiest, polluted and crowded port areas to end up sitting only 10 minutes away eating Lobster Thermardor. (only caught this morning fresh in the waters of Pakistan). We of course discussed the lobster and fishing in general. Organised some fly fishing for next Saturday. Inshallah.

The lunch was great and the company even better. No mention of Politics. What politics? Surely the Country can run itself while we have a quick lunch. When we left the place was still working, taxis plyings, shops open etc! I know all wasOK as I checked on the Internet when back at the office. "State of Emergency" whatever that meant to the Karachi Boat Club I'm unsure as the place was still in place. And indeed I am sure it will weather whatever else it thrown at it.
Whats for lunch tomorrow.... Man I'm struggling in Karachi...... Not such a bad life or what?

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