Sunday, November 16

Pakistan, Day Two: Loving and Hating Karachi

The first question I asked myself on the approach to Karachi was “what the heck am I doing here?”. Quite amusingly I shared this same thought with my aunt. These feelings were nothing new, and as expected subsided as we passed through baggage claim (we're one bag short by the way). We were now in Karachi, and I couldn't stop smiling all the way to my phoopi's flat.

You see, I love Karachi. I love being around family I've not seen in years. I love being carefree and not having anything to do or see (we come here often enough to do away with ritual visiting and things). I love ceiling fans and marble floors and a lack of Internet. I love being able to take a mid day nap, and love how that's normal here. I love hearing at least five simultaneous calls to prayer and taking the short walk to the mosque like the callers are asking me to. I love the haphazard traffic and driving required navigating it. I love squatter toilets (it allows me to pass more easily). I love how they're filming a television ad in the courtyard of the complex I'm staying in. I love palangs, to lounge on, to play cards on and to sleep on. In short I love Karachi, provided that I don't spend more than a couple of weeks here at a time.

Thanks to a borrowed Eee pc I'm able to type as I travel, something which should make my log more immediate and reflective of what's going on. My previous approach of using voicenotes was a bit tedious, although this keyboard is pretty tough to type on too!

It's also the dholke night for the wedding we've come to attend. Conveniently it was a chance to see all my family at the same time too – and good it was. I think I managed around a 70% hit rate with names and relationships, an all time high.

All my cousins now have at least three kids each, and I've given up trying to remember whose are whose, just accepting the sheer cuteness of them all and getting on with it. . I was also able to communicate somewhat, and I can feel the rust being shed off my dodgy Urdu.

So my fist night here and I'm already in a party with singing and dancing – including trying my own hand at dhandia. We don't really get the chance to play at home (some people aren't getting married fast enough apparently) so it was good to have a go like we used to, even though I had to come all the way to Pakistan in order to do it!