Saturday, 28 June 2008

Village Restaurant

Ian's leaving us on Monday. Hes been here about 13 months working with KICT. He has been a strong part of our team and so much so that the lads in the office decided to take him for lunch. In fact we all went. Village Restaurant is situated on the beach front on Clifton. It offers basically a buffet type range of foods. A really fantastic and amazing range of Pakistani foods. Curries, kebabs, grills sea foods, some local dishes which we will never see in UK. The sweets, I can't call them deserts (way to much sugar in all of them) are just so good. Now time back at the office for a coffee and a doze.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Empress Market Part 5

Nearly there. We've completed the shooting including the coffee scenes for the 'before and after' the market shoots. Poor Fahim! It is now down to him to complete the editing. He is going to try and get it done this coming week. We should have one more meeting together and then hopefully close it out and submit to Dawn Newspaper. Now, I'm not to concerned if we win or just get an acknowledgement that we participated in their competition. Its been fun and we can do some more films over the coming months. Today we had Fahim, Wanna, Qaiser and myself all geared up for these final shots. Went well. Emad, Khalids son also joined in.
Today we had two cameras so there was scope for some more sophisticated filming. Well that was the plan at least. Having two cameras we then needed two camera operators. , Both are in the photos below. Emad in the blue jeans and Ahmad, one of the waiters. All good fun. Good luck Fahim! See you next Thursday/Friday.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Gas Bikes.

Just when you think you've seen it all going back and forth to work daily on the same road seeing the same cars and the same bikes... Boring.
Then out of nowhere its there, a gas powered bike. Quietly cruising by me as we are going bumper to bumper and he floats by. Ingenious. Only had a few seconds, just enough to register what I was looking at and click a single photo. All he had done was strap on a small gas cylinder and link it to the engine.
I checked it out after seeing this. Seems all you need is any old gas cylinder and a piece of plastic pipe. Also some sort of regulator similar to any other gas burner. Link it to the carburetor and your powered up. That's it. Done, sorted! Then 'on your bike'.
I'm going to have to look more closely into this next time and for now he was gone off into the distance while we, yes that's right you guessed, we were still bumper to bumper! It just seems too simple. Whatever next. Maybe my Honda accord could do with a make over.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Waiting for the Train

It's been a quiet week on the reporting front. In fact a quiet month. I did go to a music night with Khalid last Saturday, but, took such lousy photos they did not warrent posting.
Today work has also been quiet, and so I took time out to sort through a few files and came across some movie clips. This one seems just so typical of Karachi.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Fishing and PGFA Dinner

Good day yesterday. Went to Korangi fish harbour for a look round. This was followed by the annual PGFA dinner. (Paksitan Game Fishing Association). Both were real fun.
I always like fishing ports. The smells and general layout of boats and gear. There's something about them that is always facinating to see. In the case of Karangi it is however somewhat sad. A beautiful port with what seems like nerw berths with over 4 meters of water. No boats moored up except some impounded japanese vessels. Seems since it was built about 12 years ago with foreign aid money it has never been used. Such a waste of money and opportunity. Given the possibilities it really is depressing walking round empty warehouses and wide open spaced with no one about. Korangi is about 15 kilmeters north east of Karachi. Might as well be on another planet. Seems to be in the middle of nowhere.
There are hidden in the back a couple of local fibreglass builders but not really very much else. Bit of a ghost town really. We came across one group of workers who were building a big 'dhow' type pleasure boat. That was it.
The evening was taken up by attending the 2nd annual dinner of the PGFA. It was great. Met a few guys who I have been on email or phone to over the last year. So now I'm lined up for camping in Gilgit and fly fishing further north. Should be a good 2009 and plenty of new things to see. Getting quite excited about it.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Empress Market Part 4

Becoming a bit of a series. Empress 1 through 4....
Anyway Fahim, Wanna and I finally got our first day at the market and it went well. We had a good idea of what we wanted. But the usual thing, once there things seemed to be a little different. Fahim placed the first section on the uTube.

Fahim does Empress Market

Wanna's collection of clips

The best part was chatting to everyone and Fahim speaking Urdu made such a difference. I am sure we will end up with some good stuff. Will try and do some more this week.
The Dawn new paper competition ends shortly. We want in.
So constructive comments to make it all better ....please and more please..................

Monday, 2 June 2008

Ormara and a night out from Karachi

This is a longer post than most as I went away for the weekend. Lot to write about.
This was my second trip to Ormara. Ahmad had decided we should make it an over night one and so give us a bit of time for a spot of fishing. Official reason for the trip was to undertake a site visit to the naval base and check on some ongoing ground improvement works. Can't tell you about that or I'll get shot!
Mujtaba joined us for the trip so there was plenty of chatter and banter on the way down. Who will get the biggest fish etc. And indeed who got the biggest one last time. I was not bothered I knew I had got and was going to get the biggest one tomorrow.
Ormara, lies about 350 kilometers west of Karachi. It is a small fishing village, existing on a short spit of sand perpendicular to the coast and running out to sea sea with a mud cliff ‘hammer' head at the end. Difficult to describe so I’ve added a Google photo, and believe me it is spectacular. The whole area comprises soft mud/sandstone hence the peculiar layered effect on the mountains, brought about by the wind erosion. Quite spectacular. The problem with taking photos of it all that is it so vast there is no sense of depth and the extent of the plains and mountains is lost in a small 4x5 print!! However, I did try, and actually found that a movie is probably better, as there is some movement in the frames, and this lends itself to giving some sense of scale. The other problem with taking photos was the Navy. No photos allowed!! So my trip up the hill to base camp etc, all interesting, but no printed memories.
So after starting off from Karachi around 10.30am we made our way along the main highway and had our first stop at a road side ‘cafe’. (Actually it's the only road side cafĂ© for about 100 kilometers either way!!) And there were only 4 other customers. We ordered some tea and Nan bread with chana (peas to you!). The Nan bread was baked fresh as we waited. It was good, very good. The cafe is located against a spectacular view over looking the sea and a fabulous mountain back drop. Amazing looking round this area and the only mess is caused by man. Plastic bags and litter etc. If you avoid seeing it, then, the place is quiet simply fantastic.

Back on the road. Its a long road, part long and straight and some windy and reaching 2000+ meters above sea level. I've added a short clip to give you some idea of the rugged terrain and maybe provide some sense of scale and vastness of the area. Ahmad had some CD's from John Denver so I've used one track to remind me of the flavour of the trip!! Next time I'll ask him to add Pakistani music to the Cd player.

Well Ormara once there is a small dusty place and seems to exist mainly on fishing and small shops supplying local demand. The demands have increased as a result to the Navy being present. You can buy just about anything and its amazing when you look at the short video and see nothing but a really basic village. I bought a new car charger for a nokia phone!!
Whiskey, Gin and Vodka are also available if you know who to ask. A 1.5 litre bottle is about 1,500 Rupees. Fantastic value as the same in Karachi is going for about 3,500 Rupees or more. It depend on who you know, as you won't find it in a shop! I was sure there was no way I was going to find anyone to sell it to me without a good introduction. Need good contacts. I was told it is smuggled in from Iran. So some stops off in Ormara and the rest makes its way to Karachi. Iran is only about 300 kilometers away! I think I could with such assistance while away a few evenings in Ormara!!! I'll sort it out for the next trip.

The village is not much to write home about but you really need to see to arrive at that conclusion if you follow my meaning. Not sure even I follow it!! Its full of little shops all selling small scale items.

Well, we had a walk through. (I seem to be adding a lot of video this post!)

Mujtaba then showed me round the area where they were making fishing boats. (I've added it into this posting as it is all part and parcel of my trip to Ormara).

They make wooden boats in Ormara, in the same way that their fathers and forefathers did. The wood is not local, but imported from up country. It is generally of poor quality. Nor is it properly cured so the bending and shaping depends to a large extent on the shape of the original wood pieces.

Tools comprise a manual saw, hand turned drill (bow and arrow) and an arris for rough cutting and shaping. And a hammer to drive in the nails. (steel nails no less, not copper nails). They will not use an electric drill, stating that it will burn the wood..... Go figure....

Interestingly the general shape is good. I had Mujtaba take a close look and make a professional judgement. Seems all OK.

....Till next time....

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