Monday, November 17

Pakistan, Day Four: Clothes Shopping is Inevitable

My time in Karachi went back to normal, as we spent the whole day fulfilling chores and clothes shopping. All in all it was pretty productive, the most exciting accomplishment being to book a couple of tickets to Lahore for Wednesday.

Otherwise it was Saddar for the ladies' stuff, Rainbow Centre for dodgy DVDs (do people still buy this stuff?) and finally the Tariq Road for the guys. I snagged two ready made pieces for the imminent weddings and some raw material from Rabi Centre to be tailored later in order to top up my casual everyday wardrobe for home.

I was shocked at the prices in offer – they seem to have gone through some super inflation since I was last here. For example, take Junaid Jamsheed; although some of the stuff there was really nice, there was no way I was going to spend 35-40 quid (in Real Money) on just a kurta. Raw cloth seems to be more expensive too, a suit now costing over ten quid, tailored. I've gone for patterned stuff this time instead of my usual plain, but that can't explain all of it.

Of course all prices are quoted after bargaining. We seem to be taking a lax approach this time around being as rushed as we are, openly speaking English and not spending the time to wear shopkeepers down. I'm always (quietly, of course) amused at the universal self-belief women have that they are good bargainers – as if they've managed to buy something at a loss, mistaking their sheer stubbornness for somekind of tactical strategy. In my opinion they've already lost once they've shown their interest; if it's obvious to me that they're going to buy something at any cost, I doubt the shopkeepers will miss that. On the other hand, I reckon the sheer boredom and lack of care I have for this stuff has a larger effect on lowering prices since ultimately I won't mind if I don't buy.

Dinner was at BBQ Tonight, a fancyish kebab house towards Clifton. We ordered a bit too much and I overate as a result, but the price was reasonable (2000 PKR for five of us). Although I was well fed, I was and am still knackered; I'm yet to recover from the lack of sleep experienced during the flight here I think.

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