Hot… extremely hot!

16 05 2009

The title unfortunately refers to the Karachi weather in these last days, days of torture and pain, of sweat and sleep deprivation. When I arrived in Pakistan the transition was from 0′-10′ Celsius back in Romania to 25′-30′ Celsius and still I thought it was hot… I was wrong, way wrong. 30′ C is a reasonable temperature, even cozy compared to the genocide that is happening right now.

The temperature reaches 40′-45′ C on a daily basis, but still this is not all. Combine that temperature with an humidity index of 80% here in Karachi and it will result in a heat parameter of 50′-55′ Celsius – meaning that this is the actual temperature your body is feeling (Heat index). As you can see, since I started to experience such an extreme weather I  started to become more updated with Meteorology as a science, otherwise a mystery to me.

I have AC at work so the office is quite pleasant, it’s like heaven compared with the outside hell; at home my room is “equipped” with a ceiling fan which makes the living there somehow bearable but thanks to the KESC – Karachi Electrical Supply Corporation the power goes off 4 to 5 times a day (1 hour each time). This kind of unhealthy jokes coming from KESC transforms my room into a huge oven, wakes me up in the middle of the night and even gets people out of their houses into the streets, on the roofs so they can have a good sleep at night (the picture is pretty revealing for this issue) transforming the sidewalks into huge open-air dorms.
Hot… extremely hot. I don’t even want to get into the mosquitoes discussion.


Karachi Buses

15 05 2009

It would be a real shame to bring Karachi into discussion and not mention one of the things that makes it so fascinating: The Buses.

The Karachi buses look like nothing you have seen before: colorful, hot, noisy, crowded, unsafe, adventurous, fast, undisciplined, fascinating, you name it.

The first things that will struck you are probably the colors and the decorations on the bus. I mean they look like a  Public Transportation Christmas Tree or like an advertising bus for the Amusement Park. The more colors or ornaments a bus has the more respect the driver that is taking care of it gets. It’s a matter of pride and of social status among the bus drivers club. The same thing applies for the truck-drivers as well for instance.

You should know about this buses that they are split into 2 parts: men and women, they don’t stop to pick you up – they just slow down a bit, they are almost all the time over-crowded with people – inside and out (the photo is pretty relevant) and they also have an important contribution to the chaotic traffic in Karachi sometimes.

But… there is a big “but” here… don’t even think about visiting Karachi and not having at least one bus ride. It is amazing, it is a wonderful opportunity to take a good glimpse at Pakistani society in general as they cut the city across – residential areas, city center, slums, markets, etc. You get the chance of interacting with random Pakistani  fascinated by the presence of a foreigner riding their bus, of enjoying some extra loud local music up to the point you won’t be able not even to hear your own thoughts. Plus, it’s like a cheap roller-coaster adventure.

You may think that you won’t come out of it alive as they travel very fast considering the technical condition of the thing. In fact, I heard that the bus drivers are more often referred to as Bus Pilots instead of Bus drivers as their buses are almost taking off.

busMy Bus trip around Karachi was one of the highlights, I think, of my staying here as it happened in my second day and it really helped me in shaping an image of how Pakistan is like and how my internship could be around these places. It was amazing… 3 hours of intense bus-riding.

You can find the album of the trip here on my Facebook profile ;).

Why I like Pakistani food

13 05 2009

There are many things that you could enjoy for the first time in your life here in Pakistan but I think one of your first shocking experiences would have to be the food, the very specific Pakistani dishes.

First of all, for everybody to understand, the term shocking is not that randomly picked as we’re talking about some very unusual (for me and for some of us at least) spicy dishes. The first two or three bites might not be that pleasant in the beginning…. but afterwards believe me, a storm of different and well picked tastes will unleash in your mouth.

I’m not a specialist when it comes to cooking, I’m not even a specialist when it comes to talking about food but I think I could be a specialist when it comes to enjoying a great meal. What makes Pakistani cuisine so special? Well, I don’t know for sure, but I think that in a plate of  Chicken Karahi for instance, you would find some of the history of this region, some of the characteristics of the people cooking it or even a short description of your experience in Pakistan: first you get the shock of the spice but then you can let your senses having the real feast out of it.

Now, the thing is that the transition from your normal daily menu to Pakistani food might be at some point painful (stomach issues – not that bad after all – more time to read the press), but as I was told, everybody should experience this and as soon as you get sick the better  – afterwards you are free to enjoy at free will whatever you like (almost!).

Some of my favourites: Chicken Tikka, Chicken (Beef) Karahi, Biryani, Tandoori, Nihari, Handi Chicken, Pakora, etc

Instead of bread you can have one of the many varieties of naan, a type of  round flat-bread made of white flour, and of course, I almost forgot, make sure you try instead of Coke or Pepsi the Pakistani Cola – Pakola.

After eating some of these wonders you can relax or enjoy yourself with a shisha 😉

Day off

12 05 2009

Since I arrived in Pakistan and I started working for Glaxo (around the 20th of March) I got somewhere around 4 days off from work (National day of Pakistan, Easter Days, 1st of May). Today is the fifth. Due to some events happening in Karachi, or at least some events that there were thought to happen I am pretty much obliged not to leave the house which can be regarded as crappy or as a good thing.

Since today I decided to take only the good things out of  everything happening around me (it’s a todays’ resolution only) I’m trying to spot the benefits out of this situation:

  • I can get more familiar with my apartment
  • I woke up at 1.30′ PM
  • I get to stay out from the almost killing sun outside
  • I’m wearing shorts
  • My hair is a mess but I don’t care
  • If  I would have a beer I would have no problems drinking it since I’m not at work
  • There is almost no Smoking Policy at home (I said almost because even I have some kind of policies against me killing myself)
  • I get to think of  some deep issues of my life such as “What’s the speed of the fan rotating?” or “Is that fan really safe? What if it fells?” – I conclude that it is safe thanks to my todays’ resolution.
  • At home it’s ok to get bored unlike work. And the cure is not Solitaire only.
  • I can swear If  I feel like it

Bottom line is that there are some good things coming up out if this situation but at the same time I  think that staying at home because of some nasty events in town it’s probably one of the last reasons I would wanna have a day off  from work.

Not liking people…

11 05 2009

There is this one issue bothering us all at some point… not liking somebody around us, somebody that we have to interact one way or another with… nasty situation. Is it wrong not liking somebody? What exactly we don’t like about people? Well my answer would have to be:

I don’t f…ing care! So dude, if you think I don’t like you, you’re probably right. I must have given you enough signs that should tell you that is better to avoid each other in order to reach that conclusion. But please don’t take it the wrong way, there are still around 6.7 billion people that you can try to please at any time… how can 1 make a difference? That would be first of all.

Second of all is why should you care if I don’t like you… I don’t so why should you?!? For instance, a lot of people don’t like me, probably hate me or whatever… but asking them and nagging them over and over again would probably piss them off even more.

Third of all… and I think this is the most important one… there are always gonna be more people that LOVE you compared to the ones hating you. The smart thing for you to do would probably be to focus on them rather than lose time with the other ones. The ones who love you will take the best out of you, will love you for what you are instead of hating you for what you’re not, will accept you, will help you improve.

So, in order to reach a conclusion… if I don’t like you that means I’m helping you find your loved ones.

The Swain Flu in Afghanistan

11 05 2009

Well, some days ago I read some article via FB about how the only pig of Afghanistan is enduring the the Swain Flu effects. Someone recommended me this article from Reuters for being more precise and also for presenting the tumultuous history of Kabul Zoo. Amazing, what can I say?!?