Archive for the 'Normal Karachi' Category

Day 214 (31.12.07) – Hard to recapitulate a year… on a random day

Here am I, Lahore, Pakistan, 7 months out of home, 6 months on the job, 1 year and a half after graduation, 24 years old, 8 months since I have met a girl worth falling in love with and 4 months since I met her last time, no money spared and no intension to join normal work force soon…

Seems like a good day to recapitulate 2007? Well, not really… Not for me. This year finished not very remarkably. True I am being stuck in Lahore due to historical events, but actually I am just stuck in a place where nothing changes and days just pass by.

In a situation like this You really find out that there is nothing remarkable about the midnight of 31st of December… Its just a symbol a nudge for us to accept that one year is gone and start planning for next. But it also shows that any day can be the “judgement“… I guess I will skip it today and make it some other day.

…whatta a dull post. Lets make it little better… my year 2007 in photos…

But still… happy new year… and not just one.. all of them.. and may all be new and exciting :)

And if some of You are interested what is going on on the pictures, or why are they there, just ask me by email, I will reply, If I want to… (no offence, some of them are insider only)

Day 108 – Eating crabs and fish and shrimps on a boat trip

Its called “Crabbing” and its one of favourite free time activities of Karachis (those who can pay 9USD per person). Forget about the idea of catching crabs, its about getting on a boat in a port (which is partly military) and going out into the sea (not long, some 15 minutes) and that eating the freshly cooked crabs, fishes, shrimps and other good things :)

What is so special about it?

Its quiet over there, You dont get how much “white noise” is in Karachi if You dont get away from it. You lay on a carpet on top of the boat, feel the waves move the boat under You, feel the wind and smell the food… It just feels really relaxing… Just get a few friends for a talk and its complete.

Oh, and remember the note that its “military” port? Photos are strictly forbidden… So the only way pictures can be taken is without flash – if a flash is seen, the coast guard can come and “harass” both You and the boat-owners… so the photos are pretty shaky, but some of them look artistic…

art) KHI

Today was a rather boring day… Just some working, sleeping and fooling around…

Back in Slovakia I would be utterly bored, but here hmm…. well….

Karachi is strange, its like nobody ever planned for it to look nice or become a comfortable place to live, it looks like it is a product of unplanned increase of size of a village (which is true), its full of mess and chaos… And still, when You come, without noticing You start to feel like at home… start liking it…

This message was sprayed by somebody on all possible random walls around the place I live and when going home, I guess one place where it will be written will be my sad face …. I (heart) KHI

Cay to the Ai to the Ar to the Ai to the See to the Age to the Eye… KARACHI my city!

Day 106 – Ramdan / Ramadan / Ramzan

Today for the first day of Ramzan (in Urdu), the holy month of Muslims.

The most known element of this month for non-muslims is fasting. Actually it is quite wider, between sunrise and sunset (which in Karachi is time between cca 5:00 and 18:15) You can not put anything in Your mouth… no food, no drinks, no cigarette, not even pills or tootbrush :)

But trust me, there is more than just that… If interested, read an article in Journal about Ramzan.

Click on pic to see whole album…

Day 103 – Night at the Zamzama park

There is a park, 5 minutes walk from our flat. For You to understand, park is considered a place where You can sit on grass and have picnic (unlike in Slovakia where park equals trees).

I was asked by Lenka to take picture of a tree, as there is not too many trees and it was nearly night, I played around with various objects there and night photo mode… See the results :)

And the answer is no, cactuses are not normal in Pakistan… Its just a park.

Click on the pic to see more…

Day 101 – Swiming in pool and lazying around…

Today was a 100 % Sunday… I woke up at 1 pm, had some food, watched Transformers and went to swim in the pool of a friend (Ahmen Mohamed) of a friend (Wangari Wanjau) that I have seen for the first time during the yesterdays party…

I would never expect that during my stay in Karachi I would have a chance to drink beer in a pool of a person I have met the day before :)

Todays pic: Lazing on a Sunn(da)y afternoon… In the summertime! (name copied from the Kinks song Sunny afternoon)

I am sorry that after that so highly informative and interesting articles there is this one… but You know… Every day is different, and some of them are not boring :)

Apart from this we watched Transformers, actually quite OK movie… a lot of action and impressin graphics, but watching it on a laptop display takes away a lot of the effect, the scenes have so much movement that You miss a lot…

Click on the pic to see more…

Day 075 – beware of VISA OFFICE (or how to arrange visa in easy 27 steps?)

I had a culture shock today, a BIG one…

My visa are being arranged for the last two and half months. I got only single entry visas for 3 months and thus my trip to IC to Istanbul was in big jeopardy… So the last chance was to go personally to the visa office in Karachi and hunt it down on my own… Mostly when I wanted to fly the same day (15.9.)

That experience was really sick

The visa office is actually a small village with maybe 20 houses in which are maybe 100 offices in which “work” maybe 150 people… To get one sticker=visa I had to:
1. ask a guy who tries to sell us visa (You give hime 5times more than normal fee and he does it not in three weeks but three hours, no bribing, just having good “friends” whom he gives gifts)
2. random guard, ask where is the office we look for
3. random guy, ask again where is the office
4. find first clerk who sends us to second clerk
5. second clerk, we ask if he got fax from Islamabad (my only chance to get visa now)
6. waiting outside
7. we ask second clerk again
8. waiting outside
9. second clerk gets fax
10. being send to third clerk who checks the docs and says it costs 600 Rupees (10 USD), I take wallet out to pay, he says that You have to pay in bank
11. running to bank (office closes in 10 minutes), go to window, bank guy says we need special paper from the visa office
12. approaching the same guard as at beginning, he sends us to fourth clerk
13. fourth clerk pissed of that people go into his office, after being able to be louder than him and making him realize that he is the only one who has the paper, he digs deep into some shelf, where is book, where is one crumpled paper that he gives us
14. bank again… pay 600 rupees
15. third clerk again, looks again an says that it takes three days to do the visa after some beging sais that one day…. I say I fly tonight… he says: “show me ticket”
16. calling Nida, to call the travel agent to book the ticket for tonight and fax it to first clerk
17. waiting outside office of second clerk for him to get a fax
18. asking second clerk if he got fax
19. waiting
20. second clerk gets fax…. wrong document… second clerk starting to be heavily pissed off
23. call travel agent to send right document
24. waiting, its after closing time, checking if third clerk is still here and if second clerk got the fax, second clerk heavily pissed off
25. second clerk gets right fax
26. we run to third clerk who looks at the docs, puts a sticker and sends us to
27. fifth clerk to give a stamp

(actual visa giving process took 15 minutes, including short interview about who am I, where do I work and where do I go)

And this was after we got confirmation from Islamabad, that I can actually have the visa…

…………………………. try to get people here to help build the country !!!!

PS: thank You Taha… Thank You for Your endless patience and high speed Urdu :)

PS 2: 12 hours after getting visa, I am flying to Istanbul :D

PS 3: I have NGO visa, making visa for “normal” workers is much easier

PS 4: I still love it here, just another chapter of the experience…