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.
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.
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.
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)
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.