Friday, 29 February 2008

Happy Weekend from Karachi

Was wondering round town today and took a few snaps of daily life.

Amazingly small world

I came back to the office late this afternoon to find a new email, see text below.

HiArif Begaumi, who has recently joined up with our firm, suggested I check out your blog. While I've seen just the two most recent entries, it was your profile that interested me more, as there are several common areas.I'm a 58 year old male civil engineer, also Pisces, and was with Scott Wilson (and Kirkpatrick, in those days) for a bit over 5 years in London, Basingstoke and up on site in the Humberside / North Lincolnshire area, back in the 1970s. I came back to Karachi at the end of 79 and have been here ever since. I spent several years on the design and construction supervision of KPT projects, principally the Jinnah Bridge Phases 1 and 2, and another one in the M.I. Yard / West Railway Yard.Nice to gather you are enjoying your time here.RegardsKhalid Hasan

Well I work for Scott Wilson as well. Don't normally talk about work in my Blog but this is a bit different don't you think?...

Small world? We're meeting up next week for coffee. Will tell you all about it.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Going home

I did not have a driver today and so decided to take my time going home and capture some of the flavour of rush hour traffic. For some reason we hit a really calm period. No worries. Its interseting to see the donkeys and also the old men struggling with heavy loads. I say old as I am told a lot of the very old looking chaps are in their 40's. Tough life. Me I'm at home writing this while they are still out there earning a living.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

"Just another Sunday"

(That was by the Small faces?, What was ?.. The title to this posting!!!)
We did not wake up till noon today. Must be the jet lag but most unusual. Still tired. We decided to get out of the apartment and have drive. Half way to the Hawks Bay area we turned back having decided we needed to get things from the market. Going along we passed a small nursery which seemed to be teeming with colourful potted plants. We swung in there and had a walk round. Lovely and made even more so as all the surrounding area was dry, dusty and very sandy.

The old chap who showed around made out he did not understand English. However after trying several times to grope with Wanna he finally let out an apology. Yes in English! So we left him to it. No tip.

Finished off with a try at 10 pin bowling. Only the 2 of us so not much of a fun event really. I do think anything like 10 pin bowling really needs a crowd.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

'Choppers' or are they Huwies?

Having spend a small fortune on a model helicopter whilst in UK and managed to get it safely back to Karachi I decided to give it a bash outside our Condo to see if it really worked. Hand carried it in my brief case no less. That's enthuasism for you. On the way out I had expected to be stopped at Heathrow. We were including scanner, then a take your shoes off job. Never ending... Given all this and the extraordinary lengths they go to just to make travel even more uncomfortable I had expected at the very least to have had it taken off me. That's is my helicopter. So happy surprise all round when I just carried it through without any stops or queries. I rushed back to our Condo. Practiced for at least 5 minutes in doors (why become an expert of course) before venturing out. Truth is that flying a chopper is not that easy. It was also windy out there… Obviously need a lot more 'in house' practice before I venture out. Still it is a bit of fun for me a few spectators. Not sure they realized it was supposed to fly and given my performance they probably still don't.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Karachi return

Back after a good time in UK. Seems the usual thing, us in Karachi and suitcases in Dubai! They arrived late yesterday evening. Things here are calm and it seems the election went well for the people. Not sure the existing Authorities feel the same way! On a much milder item. I bought a model helicopter whilst in UK. You will be seeing pictures of it soon enough!!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Norwich with Boy Bishop

We had a super day out in Norwich with Owen, Charles, Linnie and Wanna. Picked everyone up and then went first to Linnie's shop 'Second Hand Rose'. Its closing down end of Feb due to various reasons, not least of which is lack of customers due to the economy etc. Met her business partner Jane (?). She's the blond one sitting in the middle of the photo, not the bald head (thats Charlie) on the left!!! Then off we went to Norwich for lunch at Waggaworld. A sort of Japanese/Vietnamese/Thai/Laos/Cambodian type of place serving mixed noodle and rice dishes sort of stuff if you know what I mean...?... Anyway it was good.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Big Mac's, HDTV's and fishing

After the excitement of Ipswich Football club it was back to Thetford and a trip to MacDonald's. That was via hte Thetford Museum. Both the museum and MacDonnalds are experiences not to be undertaken to often. We had a takeaway at Mums house and Wanna got to see some family photos. Why is it parents always seem to keep pictures of us when we were little kids?...
This afternoon was spent helping Mother in choosing a new HDTV. Drama there!!!! Which one to choose. What colour? Do the sticky labels come off? Will the stand fit in my room? Will it work properly? Does it get the golf, etc etc….Difficult decisions so we had to do a trip back to the house to measure what was there and see how well and bigger and more modern TV would fit in? Finally got it sorted out so everyone happy. My blood pressure now back to normal!! Also I can say with conviction it is now safe to leave Mum at home for the weekend. The latter part of the afternoon was taken up with a spot of fishing and we caught a few small ones. Some big ones got away. (Have you noticed it's always the big ones that get away). Check out the big catch below. Wanna still not happy with the maggots!!!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Owens neighbours.

Owen has a great location in Thetford which is made even better as he has some really good neighbours. We've met 3 of them. Two brothers Paul and Andy (Twins!) living in separate houses. Well Paul tells me he is 15 minutes youngere than Andy! Also Doreen. Seems a really good street.
Paul owns a Lotus Lotus 'ESPRIT' V8 SE and he took Wanna for a spin. 150 miles per hour down one of the country lanes. She loved it.
This was followed by a much more pedestrian trip in Owens car to the maggot dispensing machine. That’s right! A maggot dispensing machine. The idea it that anglers ill buy these and use them for fishing. Must work as the machines appear to be doing good business? There Wanna was not so impressed. "Ugh!" was the reaction when the tin was opened to reveal a bunch of wriggling little maggots. We even ended up having to fix the maggots to the fishing hooks for her. That’s another story.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Ipswich Town Go go.....

Owen had organized tickets for us to go and see Ipswich Town Football Club. ITFC !! . They were playing Watford at home. This was a Championship match. So great excitement. We, Owen, Charlie, Wanna and I to Ipswich. After parking we bought the obligatory hot dogs and paid a visit to the 'shop' (Planet blue…) where we purchased wooly ITFC hats. Then we looked the part, real supporters. The ground was packed full with an almost capacity crowd of 24,245 people. I didn't count but we were told on the tannoy system. It was real fun with the crowds around us really getting into the spirit of it all. Seems most people around me knew more than the referee on most of the decisions he made. Seems if they were to be believed he had not read a rule book for some time. They obviously had and kept trying to tell him so, but he did not seem to hear them!! Great fun. Unfortunately Ipswich lost 2-1. (Was a fair result if truth be told) Even Owen conceded to that.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Haircut Norfolk style… sort of…

One very interesting thing was getting a haircut at the mobile barbers. It seems some old chap has set himself up in business running a barbers shop. What differs from the competition is that he set it up on the road side. That's right. He has a truck parked on the road side. Seems he has fitted the bus/coach with a gas heater for warmth and an inverter on the battery to supply 240 volts. All you have to do as a punter is turn up and park your vehicle enter the truck and get a trim. Could not be much easier. Does cost you a fiver….but to hell with the cost, I also opted for a trim of my beard which was another 2.50 pounds. After this rash approach I realized it all soon adds up to a lot of money. But I consoled myself by telling myself I had offset the fact there is no need to book, you get almost 100% guaranteed free parking, that’s right no parking charge and no queuing for parking. So really the cost of a quick trim is not so bad. And it was quick, took all of 5 minutes. I worked it out 7.50 pounds per 5 minutes not bad. And there was someone waiting after me for a trim.


We made it up to Norfolk by tube, rail and car to get to stay with Owen. Well worth the journey. We caught up with Mother and then had a wander around Thetford followed by an excellent dinner with Charlie and Linnie. Paul joined us as well as Owens son Andrew. Charlie was a bag of nerves making some excellent Thai food and waiting for Wanna's approval. Talk about a cat on hot bricks. Which I am pleased to say he got full 1000% approval so much so Wanna had a second helping! The food was excellent and a good evening was had by all. As usual Charlie had a couple of good jokes to get us all in the mood. Just wish I could remember them. Wanna got into Rasta mode!!!!!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Catching up with Sarah

After a good breakfast/lunch with Wanna it was off to the Angle to meet Sarah et al. We decided to walk and see a bit of the sights. Well it was cold and we had an hour to spare so we stopped in an east end pub. Had a quick beer and used the loo. (Amazing how much you need the loo in a clod windy climate!!). The folks in there were great and advised us to get a double decker route master bus to the Angel. Only three stops!! Well we waited at the stop for about 15 minutes and then along came our route No 43. Got on and handed the driver 1 pound. "Whats that for ?' He asked. "its 2 pounds each to the Angel....." he told me with a big smile. He must have seen the shock on my face and was very friendly about it all. I have only been back about 3 hours and already cannot believe the cost of everything. Real horror shock. Well got to meet with Sarah and arranged for her to join us at the weekend.

London here we are

Arrived in London. Cold or what?.... About +6 Degree C. So we decided, for a bit of fun to take the train and tube into town and catch up with Sarah. Well the 15 minutes train to Paddington took 45 minutes and the 10 stop tube ride took another hour. Terrible. After that we droppped our bags at the long stay place in Liverpool Street Station. That part of London life clearly had not improved.
Next off to see Sarah. But before anymore travcl we decided to indulge in a full English Breakfast at a local pub. Then when fully fed on sausages, bacon, beans, fried eggs and toast, we could catch up with Sarah, Christoff and Colette.
Really good to be back in UK and see so much. Things have changed and all seems to be new and very different with a lot more bright colours around. Still cold!!!
While in the pub the Landlord asked if we wanted our photo taken behind the bar. It was all starting out as being a fun trip.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Off to London

Its cold and windy in Karachi. About 10 Degrees C. Shivering more like. Anyway we are off to London tonight.I understand it is warmer there!!! Global warming or whatever. Will be missing the elections as we get back on 19th and they are being held on the 18th. Good planning. More importantly the 40th day or mourign for the death of Benazir Bhutto is also something we will be missing. That's tomorrow and I do not know what that will bring. I can read it over a coffee in London!!! Will write some more soon.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Email testing of Blog posts

I'm sending this by email to my Blog. Just to see if it works. Will make Blogging while travelling a lot easier.

+92 334 3859378

Saturday, 2 February 2008


UKAP?.. That's the United Kingdom Association of Pakistan for those of you who don't already know. Basically it's an Association for UK Expats in Pakistan. It was originally formed for support reasons back in the pre Independence era. Helping distressed Expats etc. More recently it declined with so many Expats departing etc. so it almost became almost defunct. However in the last 18 months it is having something of a sort of revival. An example of which was our get together tonight. About 24 of us. Mixture fo Expats and Locals having a bit of a geathering. Idea was to meet up and play games of trivial persuits and so forth. Lots of fun and it was held in Matthews house.
This event of course was on at the same time as the 1st of the 6 Nations Matches. Well it would be !! Sods law. Including England verses Wales. I missed the rugby not because of the function, but becasue it was not even on the local TV. Real bummer. But WALES did win. So there is a happy very ending!!!! First time since 1988. So a great win. Well done lads.
Oh and yes, it was a good, and, very successful games evening as well.

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