Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Empress Market Part 1

Fahim and I are planning to do a short documentary on Empress Market. By coincidence there is a mini documentary film competition sponsored by Dawn Newspaper. Entries by 21st May. So we have some work to do. Fahim if you're reading this......

Monday, 28 April 2008

UKAP and Croquet

Had a really super Sunday afternoon at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi. We had the use of the staff facilities, swimming pool, grass lawn for Croquet and the indoor bar and amenities. The idea was to have a get together for the members and guests. We did well with about 40 persons turning up. Everyone brought with them some snacks and their own drinks. We had a few games of croquet and rounded them off with some Pimms. excellent way to while away time in Karachi.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Thai Expo Karachi

There has been a Thai Expo on at the PC Hotel in Karachi for the last 3 days. We visited on the opening day and again this morning. Its a small affair with about 45 exhibitors mainly in the fruit juice and perfume industries. Most seemed to be looking for local agents. In addition there were a few plastic and mechanical companies. Ejaz our friend fell into the latter category. He runs a company called All Tech selling epoxy flooring, and automated computer controlled workshop and welding equipment.We visited all the stalls and of course used his in our Blog!

Saturday, 26 April 2008


Caught up with Fahim and Wana this morning. (Fahim's Wana not my Wanna!!!!) We had arranged to go for breakfast. Fahim had located a place in Defence Housing Authority. Really good place with a wide menu to get you set up for the day. I plumed for the steak and scrambled eggs. Fahim and Wana went for eggs and we all washed it down with some good tea and coffee. The little fella chose cake!!!! The service was excellent and we even got them to take the photo. And they thanked us!!!
The main reason for getting together was basically to discuss moving forward on doing a short documentary. We chose Impress Market as a first off and plan later (after winning the Oscars on this one) to do something more substantial on Gadarni Ship Breaking yard.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Cricket Pakistan Style

Had a wonderful evening watching Twenty 20 Cricket with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan were showing within the first over why they are so much better then their neighbours.
We were in the main stand next to the pavilion and possibly had the best views. The most famous of Pakistan Cricket supporters Chacha "Uncle' Cricket as he is known, was on hand to cheer everyone on. In fact when not playing the crowd he was seated about 3 rows behind us. He found time to come over and have a chat!!! Story has it that ages ago (and he is old!!) one of the former Prime Ministers had seen him in full fling waving the Pakistan flag at local matches and was so impressed by his enthusiasm that he made him an 'honnary' ambassador flying him to the Pakistan international matches. Very nice and lovable gentlemen. Meeting him really added to making the evening.
Half time i.e. between Pakistan and Bangladesh batting we were serenaded by a female singer, Hadiqa Kiyani. Made all the young bucks shout and get excited for a bit of fun which only added to the atmosphere.

Additional reporting by Dawn was....

Misbah shines as Pakistan trounce BD: Twenty20 International
By Khalid H. Khan

KARACHI, April 20: Pakistan emerged as comfortable victors in the first-ever Twenty20 International played on home soil as they thrashed Bangladesh by a crushing margin of 102 runs at the National Stadium here on Sunday.Despite a bright start provided by openers Tamim Iqbal and Nazimuddin, who added 41 in 5.4 overs, the next 10.2 overs saw the visitors destined to lose their last eight wickets for 16 runs in six overs as they folded up for 101 in 16 overs, while chasing a daunting target of 204 under lights.Apart from Nazimuddin, who was seventh out for a 48-ball 42, which included three sixes, the abject surrender from the Bangladesh batsmen disappointed a holiday crowd of around 10,000 who found more entertainment during the 30-minute break between the innings as pop singer Hadiqa Kiyani performed live in front of the main pavillion.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Breakfast at the Marriott

We decided to have a lazy Sunday and went to the Marriott Hotel for Brunch. They offer a wide range of foods, usual European and some excellent Pakistan dishes. Neither if us were too hungry having had the last evening with our work colleagues at the local french restaurant. So pretty full before we arrived.
However we did have some good eggs and toast. Very English!!!
We need the calories as tonight we are off to see Pakistan verses Bangladesh in a 20 Twenty game. Starts at 6.00pm and should be about 5 hours. Pakistan has already beaten them in all 5 of the 5 day matches! So tonight could see some revenge or some prolific scoring. Either way we intend to enjoy it.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Office day out

Our Engineers and staff team decided on a day out and organised for . Cosy Water Park It's about 45 minutes out of Karachi, so I was told. Easy, so we set off to join everyone. 2 hours later we finally found it!!! Miles out of Karachi, in what can only be described as desert/shrub land. Not one road sign indicating where is was all the way along the 30 kilometers of Super highway!

(Photos from Cosy Park Web page)
Anyway we made it. Place has several pools and some high level slides. When we arrived the team had organised a shaded area, placed out the matting and ordered the biryanies. So far so good. It was a hot day in the low 30's and dry. Middle of a desert really. Once up on the slides you could see for miles and it was only adjacent to the area that there was any greenery. In its way very spectacular.

I even managed to brave the big slide and come out intact!

Friday, 11 April 2008

More local site visits

With only a few months to go I realise I must make a real effort and make sure I cover as much as possible. We, again me and my main man Khalid! visited the Mosque Masjid-E-Tooba. Its an enormous building built between 1993 and 1996, not old but well worth the visit. From an engineering point of view it is impressive as it is a 'shell structure' with a span of over 212 foot. Believe me once inside you realise just how big it is. Holds up to 5,000 thousand worshipers. In Pakistan it is only the men who go in mosques. I have not idea why this is or indeed where the women go to worship. Strange to me.
I did also see a humourous side. There are digital clocks everywhere. I thought this was high tech stuff established to let you know sun rise sun set etc. What was funny to me was that inside the main building the clocks had different times!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The house(s) that Jinnah build

Mohammed Ali Jinnah is a universally revered figure in Pakistan. You will see his image everywhere on buildings and in pictures. He is credited as having secured the existence of Pakistan. Jinnah is know affectionally as "Quaid-i-Azam" or the Quaid (Leader of the people or Leader).
I'm sure you'll all remember him from the film's Ghandi also Jinnah ? Well I decided to have a look around town and visit both the house where he was born and the one where he lived in his later life. Well we, that’s Khalid and I, did both places yesterday. His original home was under renovation and not really visible. It's located not far from the port area. In its hay day it was in what can only be described as being in a good location. His father was a merchant of sorts so really the area can best be described as having been a middle class type area (what a terrible English way to describe it….) but now… all a bit down market. Sort of area an Estate Agent would tell you has become an inner city declined area with massive potential. Well I saw the declined bit but could not see the potential. Karachi has moved on to newer and better areas.

We left there and visited, as a quick detour, his old school, then along to the house which he used in his later days. Lovely home, lovely location set in the middle of Karachi and once in the grounds all the noise, dust and pandemonium of day seems to fade away. The roof tiles are dated 1866 and so assume the building is of similar age. Just really spot with such a pretty house constructed in sandstone. The old Colonial types certainly knew how to live.
The photos show his inner rooms including his somewhat sparce bedroom, lounge and office. And fo coursehte author writing n hte visitors book. I hope much against my belief that the authorities make a real effort and do a good upkeep and get their act together so as not to loose their sence of history and indeed values.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Burning cars and buses - update

Just had a text message from a 'connected' friend.

Karachi 9 Apr. Security Update. Situation tense in the city after the clashes amongst lawyers. Voilence spreading throughout the city. UN Offices advised to close immedieately. All to avoid main roads.

Will see what developes tomorrow.

Burning cars and buses

Sitting quietly in the office when suddenly the whole staff team started to stand around the TV. Clearly not good news, but all in Urdu. I asked what is was all about, only to be told about burning of buses in Karachi. Its still on the TV. Virtual fighting is something difficult to get used to. Bit like reality TV and Big Brother etc. We can watch other people getting hurt and injured but sit at home in a safe comfort zone. Weird which ever way you look at it. However weird it may seem I am happy to leave it as virtual rather than get involved.

Dawn News were on it straight away.
Two vehicles set on fire as violence erupts in Karachi KARACHI, April 9 (APP): Shops on the busy M.A. Jinnah Road in downtown Karachi were shut and there was stampede after armed men resorted to firing near Tibet Center. Earlier there had been a scuffle between two groups of lawyers in the City Courts after which unknown persons resorted to firing at different places at M.A. Jinnah road during which at east two vehicles were set on fire. Meanwhile, strong police posse arrived at the scene and started patrolling on M.A. Jinnah Road. A police official said details of the incident were being probed. (Posted @ 16:35 PST)
Fortunately this is not near my home, in fact it is about 3 kilometers form work and 5-6 kilometers form my Condo. Added to which all the staff can get home safely. Lets wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sunday in Karachi

Went to work for a few hours and then decided to visit St Patricks Church. It was build in 1878 according to the plaque on the outside wall. Now a Sindh Government Protected Heritage Protected Building. However for all that, it was closed! Well it was 1.30 pm when I got there so I suppose, Mass having been held at 6.00am, 8.30 am and scheduled again for the evening it has probably been open enough. However the sun was out and the light seemed about right for a few shots. On the way there I tried a short movie. The streets of Saddar even in the market areas are quiet on Sundays as you can see. I've made myself a list of places to see and things to do over the next few months, including visiting the largest mosque in Karachi, couple of holy tombs, some palaces, a fort in Hyderabad and such like.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Party time

Just got home from work to see lots of cars outside our condo block. And lots of Ladies, great or what?!!!! All descending on to the Art College next to my Condo. Looks like a big dance is about to happen. It's great to watch from up in the Condo. From the rear bedroom, I can see into the College gardens and just watch the activities. Normally you are not able to see these parties (no pun intended) unless invited to these events. Not being from here, means the invites are few and far between. So I'll keep an eye on it all as the evening goes on, and see what transpires. The great thing is to see everyone out and enjoying themselves. Feels a bit strange to be watching like this as a sort of impostor but who cares. They do not even know I'm here. The ladies are nearly all dressed in local dress and most wearing spectacular colours, off set so well in the afternoon sun. Really fun to watch.

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