Sunday, November 16

Pakistan, Day Three: Becoming a Karachite

First a bit of context: a cousin of mine from the UK has spent the last year and a half working in Karachi. As such, she's become quite the Karachite. For us, this is good news since we now have someone streetwise enough to take us out to all the trendy places and hang outs, while remaining accessible to those of us only here for a short amount of time. In some ways she was our doorway to a Karachi we had not seen before.

After a gourmet burger at Roasters in Zamzama, we headed to the Sunday Market in Defense. This was much like any Sunday market back in the UK, with rows upon rows of stalls selling anything from house ornaments, to furniture, to books and magazines, to clothing both raw and ready made, to jewelry. Groceries and amenities (ie toilet paper) were also available to purchase, and even wireless broadband was on offer. If I was a braver chap I would have bought some gifts for my girl mates and relatives in the shape of raw material to be tailored later, but I decided not to tempt fate (as well as the wildly differing tastes of said girls). Instead I just watched as my cousin and aunt did exactly that.

It was then all about Clifton. Our first stop, bizarrely (for me at least) was Park Towers where we did a bit more shopping. This happened to be a blessing in disguise as I managed to collect a small trove of gifts for those back in London – I've grown accustomed to getting my gift shopping out of the way.

We then headed to Sea View for the beach. This is not a touch on Australian beaches, but has it's charm and poignancy as a key Karachi place to visit all the same; and of course since we were there with a different crowd we were able to take time and chill there for a bit (which meant camel rides for my companions).

On to Forum, Yet Another Shopping Mall, although with a different purpose in mind. However, since the massages we intended to treat ourselves to turned out to be limited to our feet so we decided to give it a miss. The rest of the time there was spent doing more, you've guessed it, shopping. I guess it was naïve of me to have expected anything else from my exclusively female company.

Dinner was Broast at Boat Basin, followed by some pretty advanced ice cream (if their Red Bull flavour was any indication) provided by Coco Loco.

It was an awesome day of chilling out aimlessly, just hanging out chatting and joking away. It's not something I've often had during previous stays in Pakistan where the time was spent more functionally, or any “free time” was carefully chaperoned by a family-member doing babysitting duties whom I had trouble communicating with. It made Karachi a friendlier, human and attractive place if I'm honest, and I can now see even more how my cousin amongst others can claim it to be a good place in which to live and work.