Monthly Archives: September 2011

Guest Post: The Karachi I Know


Karachi is the economic hub of Pakistan. Whoever controls Karachi controls Pakistan, they say. Karachi has 18 million people, that’s 6 times Nairobi, and 10% of the whole Pakistani population.

ECONOMICALLY

Karachi is in a 3rd world country. So expect the gap between the rich and the poor to be colossal. You see extremes here; mansions (they are all very square), and people peeing and sleeping on the road cause they have no homes.(the men pee when squatting, if you ask me it looks very disgusting) If Idi Amin was hired to get rid of the beggars in Karachi, the Nile would be clogged for life.

SECURITY

Living in Karachi, you don’t have to be too concerned about terrorism as defined by the media(ALAR WAKBAR SUICIDE BOMBER). Just be afraid that political violence leaves hundreds of people dead within 3 days. Karachi is controlled by MQM. I still can’t spell what it stands for (too complicated, and I wont google it). The party in power is the PPP (Pakistanis Peoples Party). These 2 are always fighting. One guy from PPP says something bad about MQM, like you guys have itchy scrotums’ and MQM respond by calling for a ‘strike’.

A strike means gunfights between PPP and MQM, hundreds of dead grassroot politicians, scores of innocent people dead (I am afraid to say hundreds), a couple of people kidnapped in the melee, millions of rupees lost because companies stay closed, the working class of Karachi celebrating that they get a holiday, me bored stiff in the flat and the PPP apologizing.

SOCIAL LIFE

There are 4things to do in Karachi, smoke, smoke sheesha/ hashish, shop and eat. There are no clubs, few people play sports, and yes I said there are NO clubs. There is also the beach, if you want to relax with your clothes on (women, don’t dare take them off), your feet immersed in sea-wage and dead fish and the occasional sting ray – a dead one.

Also, sights and sounds of camels and horses running along the beach and shitting everywhere as people pay for rides and people driving on the dark sand in their prandos.

Some women in Karachi have junglitis feveris. Symptoms include lack of any Islamic principles, consumption of alarming amounts of alcohol and/or hashish (comparable to bhangi), good education and old age. Usually, these types are followed around by a hapless boyfriend or husband. They are usually from the ‘elite’ class as they call it; socially that means you can do whatever-the-fuck-you-want cause to some extent you are above religious and cultural barriers.

Guess what, there is an ‘Arte Caffe’-like place in Karachi. i.e nice setting for you to see and be seen. Here the women smoke openly. Possibly it was my shiny bald head, but I’d like to think that the unwavering stares were from women exhibiting symptoms of junglitis feveris. I was there with 3 Pakistani guys, and only one of us was meeting a nervous girl like it was high school again. (more on the dating scene in Karachi later)

INTERSTING OBSERVATIONS

The coolest, absolute coolest thing about Karachi, is the variety in people. There are black skinned, wooly haired people like me, darker skinned people than me with Asian hair, some as fair as Scandinavians, some with green or grey eyes etc and the best thing is that they are ALL PAKISTANI ORIGINO (3rd/4th generation). I think that’s amazing! But I also don’t understand the stares, cause I could be Pakistani anyway. Even the black people stare at me- SMH.

South C aside, Karachi has NO DRAINAGE SYSTEM. 2 hours of drizzling = 4 hours of traffic, a flooded and I mean knee-deep flooded HIGHWAY, and another holiday because the office will shut down. It rains 3 days a year in Karachi. That was the day I observated like 30 rats, bigger than squirrels running away from the water.

Ps, Karachi is better than it sounds.

Of course, Everything Looks better at night

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Guest Post: Pakistan Zinabad


Some of you may know that Jeremy and his giant balls of steel are currently in Pakistan on internship. Here is what he thinks so far….

Tuesday September 20th 2011

 And then the culture shock set in. I got tired of the constant staring, I got tired of the slowness, I got tired of the conservatism, I got tired of the weather, I got tired of not drinking beer at free will, I got tired of overpriced, secretive disgusting beer, I got tired of the lack of personal space, I got tired that everyone does things so slowly. I wanted to book a flight home NOW NOW at 1.56pm sitting at my desk slouching in my chair. .ac whirring behind me.

And then I wanted to continue saying what I was tired of: I got tired of everyone speaking a different language, I got tired of how the food makes me lazy (I just overate at lunch as usual) I got tired of people speaking about me in Urdu, I got tired of reading blogs at work, I got tired of being told ‘its not safe’.

But then I realized, I keep writing, ‘got’ meaning its not a permanent state. Before I came here, I made the conscious decision to like this place, I do like this place. Until now, when I feel I just ‘got tired’.

I decided to tell you that the people here are warm and kind; but I also have to tell you that violence and risk is part of life here. I didn’t tell you that we go to places with armed guards cause ‘its not safe’. I also didn’t tell you that nothing is definite in Pakistan; brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘God willing’ or more fitting here ‘InshAllah’.

I decided to tell you that the food is awesome. I didn’t tell you that I almost died from the diarrhea. I thought I left my stomach in the toilet, ‘look, there is my rectum in the toilet’. I also didn’t tell you about 1am trips to the roadside restaurants, sitting there until 6am..that was awesome.

I decided to tell you that we go out at 1am. But I also didn’t tell you that I was at a roadside restaurant at 6am and some crazy guard with his standard AK-47 (note I’m not talking about a policeman) started shooting in the air…a few minutes later I ate that food like nothing happened..cause life goes on here.

I decided to tell you about the wonderful people I met. I didn’t tell you that some of them carry guns out of necessity, and I learnt how to use a gun. It was lying there, next to the Pepsi (coke has its ass kicked out here) as we sat around at someone’s dinner table. As I shifted from glass to gun, I sipped my pepsi, and then put the bullets back into the clip causally. And cocked the gun, and pulled the trigger, and then asked for more pepsi as we discussed the rules of handling guns and what we would do in the situation that a gun was needed..guns are NOT cool, they are cold, hard, heavy and sexy..? I am never getting one for myself.

I decided to tell you about all the places I have been to. I didn’t tell you about the violence that comes out of nowhere in the places on the way to my destination. I took a few pictures, except of the guy with the semi-automatic (he was with us though…)

I decided to tell you that I had a long Eid holiday. I didn’t tell you that I was listening to live gunshots and all kinds of guns with people celebrating all over. Ps. bullets come down bitches, don’t kill us in celebration!

I decided to tell you that I love the experience in Pakistan, but I also made a mental note to myself, that I like the experience, but do I like the country…hm…Pakistan Zindabad (google that)…

ps, don’t tell my parents lol


When wtf becomes ‘G*d F*%#ing d@*nit’ and then some…


I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I was festering in a great big pool of my own misery, and I couldn’t see any humor in my situation.

I wrote about my search for an internship before here: but as time went by, things did not really improve. I had one interview with one of the largest companies in France and in the world (hint, they were mentioned in Michael Moore’s movie Super Size Me, for serving crap, obesity inducing lunches to American high school kids, as well as complaints about everything from racism to environmental destruction: in other words, your typical eat-babies-for-breakfast-multinational-devil-incarnate.)

I should have known something was not right when they cancelled the first interview and asked to call at 8.00 am in the morning. Or when they called 15 minutes later. Or when they switched my second interview to 4.00pm. But none of that stopped me from preparing the shit out of it, in it to win it style.

But the girl I spoke to didn’t seem very impressed. In fact it seemed like there was something really smelly under her nose. Later, my professor cried racist like Julius Malema in this video:  but I wasn’t really convinced.

I mean, if I walk around screaming ‘is it because I’m black?’ How far do I expect to go? Saving the race card for later, okay? No need to max that sh*t out.

As the desperation threatened to burn an ulcer into my stomach, I watched my whiny classmates land fabulous internships with mega companies. I was in hell.  A boring hell at that, because all I could talk about, think about, dream about, was my lack of gainful employment.   Of course, I could always slink back home in shame and pretend that it was my plan all along. Or not.

The months dragged on and pretty soon I had to move out of my student room. My life was in the dump like this:

9 months worth of my life in the trash

And bought some caviar to celebrate just for the f*ck of it ( We have to ‘celebrate’ endings just as much as we do beginnings…yeah? ):

And took a final tour of my town:

As if YOU could resist!

The thing that everyone does:

That thing where you take photos at night because the lights look pretty

But, on the very last day, after scrubbing away all traces of my existence, bags packed with homelessness looming ahead of me,  I finally got it. THE phone call.

Hello, Kristin…yeah, so after talking to some other candidates [yada yada how is the weather Obama] I’d like to offer you the internship.

I’m not going to go into details of my wacky interview, because I want everyone to think that I’m cool and savvy and I have an awesome internship.

That thing that people do, ati can I have some time to think about it?

Nothing!  

I said hell yes. Threw my arms up in the air and said ‘Take Me!’

All I have to do now is not get fired.

Honestly, it was hard.

FYI, I promise my next post will be more entertaining…