Thursday, 27 December 2007

A sad day for Pakistan

Just logged on to read the news on BBC before going off to bed. Benazer Bhutto blown up. Along with 15-20 other sad souls.

BBC front page:----Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 16:34 GMT

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is killed in a suicide attack at an election rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
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My comment.

Yes its sad. Anyone for anyone to be blown up and killed that way is very sad. However for Ms Bhutto to some extend to goes with the job. Remember a few months ago on her return to Karachi there were bombs going off. She survived but others died. She had been Prime Minister of Pakistan 2 times already. So maybe time for a change but not this way. She was also under investigation for corruption and various 'questionable' business deals etc. So there were a lot of people who wanted a change but not including her in the equation. Unfortunately everyone says violence does not work. Well it does. Current President as an example as he took over in a 'coup' and Bhutto is dead. So lets watch things develop. All very sad for such a Country trying to improve and there are indeed thousands, no, I'm wrong there are millions of ordinary Pakistanis out there trying to make it better for their families, their country and their future generations. My prayers go out to all of you in Pakistan.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Karachi airport

Leaving Karachi for the Christmas break. On the way to Seychelles for a holiday. Strange mixed feelings as I had and still have so much to do at work and Wanna has started to make quite a few friends. To go or not to go?.... But the travelling has meant that I had to buy a few presents etc for friends and family. So had a very interesting afternoon running round Karachi. Its great when you need to buy something. Makes you visit shopping areas which you would never see otherwise. Karachi has nearly everything. One thing is does not have is petrol grass cutter. nowhere could Ii find one. (Not much grass in Karachi and what they have is cut with a manual machine as labour is so cheap).

I bought fishing hooks, big lures for game fishing, some outboard engine impellers ! Also a Sander, electric planer, drill and a car radio. I know what you are thinking why buy that sort of stuff? All for other people. I'll sell the items on the island for a profit which will pay our stay!! See I'm not so stupid as I first seemed.

Last but not least was a quick trip to the jewellers. Stuff for Wanna and Sarah and Vivi. That was my day gone!!

Wishing you all a very Holy Happy Christmas from here in Karachi. No doubt I will be adding more from La Digue.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

At least 50 killed after express train derails in southern Pakistan

Found this in The Independent. I checked. Same train I was suppopsed to be on last Friday!!!! Someone up there is looking after me very well.

By James Macintyre
Published: 19 December 2007

An express train packed with holidaymakers derailed in southern Pakistan early this morning killing at least 50 people and injuring many more, officials said.

The train was said to be travelling from Karachi to Lahore when 12 of its 16 carriages came off the rails near Mehrabpur, about 250 miles north of Karachi, said Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, a charity that dispatched ambulances to the scene of the accident.......

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Town planning

Town planning Karachi style... worth the wait for it to upload

Friday, 14 December 2007


We were due to go to Lahore last night. Were due to take the overnight train from Karachi to Lahore. Even had a complimentary pair of tickets. And beautiful tickets they were too!!
Had an early meal and then packed a few bits. Remembered the passports, money and something to wear. Even organised a bag of cold beers to consume on the train on the way up there. Then the phone went. Khalid called to inform us that the train will be late getting into Lahore due to bad weather. So instead of arriving at we might get there by 5pm. Way to late to get to see the closing of the boarder ceremony which was to be the high light of the trip. So big decision. Cancel trip. We'll go another time. Not sure therefor what I'll be writing about this weekend.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Chilling out on a Saturday

Had a lazy Saturday. Went to work for the morning and fortunately Wanna dragged me out at about 3.00pm. Good thing as otherwise I would have been there forever. We then went off to visit a Thai friend, Her husband is a fanatical model plane flyer. I say models these things are 2 meters long!! And he's got hundreds of them. I'm been invited to join him at the flying club when I get back from Seychelles. Should be fun. Getting to their house took about 45 minutes as they are out near the National Stadium. I know, where's that anyway!! I could not find it on my own either. Anyway interesting trip through the traffic. Entering the compound (under construction) I could not help but notice the pick axe stuck in the desk. Check out the photo. Odd or what? Someone does not like office work!!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Dinner at LalQila

We had a really great evening with Khalid and his wife, joined by Ian and Aldo. We started out by all meeting up at Khalid's house. Sat ourselves down and started chatting away. Before long Aldo and Khalids son had got the guitars out and were starting a jamming session.
Finally we dragged Aldo away and we went to the very well know Restaurant on Shisa Faisal. Its styled on an open air Fort with towers and moats etc. Beautifully lit with backdrops etc.
The whole place is set up as a buffet with a wide assortment of Pakistan food obviously from all the regions. There was whole section devoted to Bar B Q chicken, mutton, steaks etc. Then a separate deep frying area for prawns, fish and again areas for curries, Dal's and salads. And last but not least were the sweets. Whole range of European goodies and fantastic local ice cream.. Khalid did explain how it was made but to be honest I was too busy eating it to listen closely!!
As a finale Khalid had ordered a cake which he had presented to Aldo. It arrived with the waiters (all dressed up in medieval type costume in keeping with the 'Fort' ambiance). Great idea.
The evening closed out with hot coffee. It was very cold evening so after freezing on the outside followed by cold ice cream the coffee was very welcome.
On our way out we had some "Pann". Its a local mixture of spices and dried bits rolled in a fresh leaf. About teaspoon full in size. You eat it and it gives a very very good mouth cleansing taste and feeling. Really finishes off a good evening with friends. Obvious really good 'cause after that you can kiss everyone goodbye with good breath!!!!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

The King and I

Very good evening at the pearl Continental Hotel to Celebrate the King of Thailand's 80th Birthday. Probably over 300 people there mainly foreign Embassy and Consulate types but quite a few business people as well. Obviously on this occasion also the Thai community residing in Karachi. And there seem to be a lot of them.

The evening started at 7.30 pm and consisted of meeting other people and having an excellent buffet of Thai and Pakistan cuisine. Interesting mixture. The whole thing wrapped up about 9.30 and after the departure of the 'foreign guests' the Thai contingent sang a couple of songs to the King. Unfortunately I did not get it on film. A good evening was had by all.

Monday, 3 December 2007

A bit of a me, me and me syndrome

I had been taken by Khalid to Makro a big new warehouse type store similar to ones in UK.

Had a look round and bought a cold box and water cooler. Followed by a relaxing coffee in Dunkin Donuts!! Thats it!!!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Ormara day trip.

Ormara is an old coastal port town (25° 16' 29N 64° 35' 10E) located in the coastal region of the Balochistan province. It is located 350 km west of Karachi

Its historical routes are linked with Alexander the Great, who stayed here with his army for a few days on his way back from India, in 400 BC. One of his generals "Ormoz" died here and the present day Ormara was named after him. (source Wikipedia)

That's interesting but what has it got to do with this Blog I hear you ask. Well the Jinnah naval base of Pakistan Navy is located at Ormara. And I had been invited to view a new reclaimed site for a proposed Submarine Rebuild Centre. Its a long trip for a 30 minute site inspection but the journey itself makes the whole day worth while.

We left Karachi at 5.30 am and were out of town before anyone had woken up. Takes about 4-5 hours on a really good highway, part hugging the coast line and some up through some terrific barren mountains. It was really amazing to depart a crowded city and enter what is some of the most stunning rock formations. More stunning when you realize they are not granite or hard rock but a type of clay/mud. The eiry shapes are all wind formed and spectacular. One in particular is called the Princess of Hope.

The problem I had was trying to capture the immense scale of it all on a camera. There were no trees or features which could be used to compare depth so the size could not be captured. I tried with a couple of shots to catch trucks making their way along the winding roads. They carry bitumen and diesel from the boarder with Iran to Karachi. Why? Well its come from across the Iran boarder so no duty just a few police 'charges' along the way. This fuel is apparently sold at about 50% of Karachi pump prices. So as you can imaging there are quite a few over laden trucks taking this route!! All fun and games.

Arriving at Omera there is a Navy base and photos are strictly forbidden.
We managed to find the local fish shop where we bought some mackrel and lobsters. Being so far away from Karachi prices were much more competative.

Next trip I'll be more confident and do some subtle stuff. The sea was incredible, blue, clear and teaming with fish. Sure they knew our rods were safely back in Karachi....

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